Culture & Tradition:
Though the district is divided into two regions Upper and Lower Dolpo, we can comprehend it in three parts: Upper, Middle and Lower regions according to the culture and traditions.
Upper region is inhabited by the Buddhist and Bon cults, whose culture and tradition resembles with Tibetans and they speak ‘Khaam’ very similar to Tibetan language but not the same. Actually the middle and the lower belt have a wonderful influence of different culture and traditions. The middle belt has typical culture with the essence of both the cultures and tradition i.e. Tibetan and Hindus. A very typical sect exists in some clusters within this area that is emerged from the Magar clan called Taralis (in local language) who has their own dialect called ‘Kaike’ that is not spoken anywhere else in the country. Lower most belt is inhabited by the people whose culture and tradition is mostly influenced by Hindus, people speak Nepali with different flavour that has the influence of Hindi. They use to talk with the wonderful expression of their hands.
Festivals and Celebrations:
01. Upper Dolpa
It falls in the month of May. People gather in Gompas and pay their reverence and celebrate birthday of Lord Buddha.
People celebrate it as their New Year. Relatives invite each other and enjoy it dancing, singing and having special food stuffs. People also go to Gompas (monasteries) to pay their homage and take blessings of senior lamas.
Shey gompa is one of the holiest pilgrimages of Buddhists. Once in every twelve years i.e. in the Dragon year according to the Tibetan calendar there will be a grand celebration. People go for Kora (circumambulating /walking around) of the Crystal Mountain. People from different places and countries come there for the festival. The festival goes for nearly 5 to 6 days with different programs.
This ritual festival is also one of the important festivals in Dolpo that goes for 16 days. In fact during the festival people use to take their food and meditate every alternate day. During the meditation leaded by the senior lamas each alternate days people are not allowed to take any type of food and speak with each other.
It is celebrated for three days before the trade with Tibet. When they receive the letter of invitation for the trade from Tibet people different VDCs gather in Saldang to celebrate this. First day they will have some rituals and traditional dances. Second day will be the day for racing horses, the winner horse is given Pak (Tsampa with ghee/butter), so the horse that gets the chance to win and eat Tsampa will be regarded as the strongest one that will have a high value. On the last day wishing for the good trade they depart and get ready to go for trade in Tibet.
This ritual is done every 10th of the month according to the Tibetan calendar. The senior or the head lamas perform this ritual with the gathering of people. This ritual is done before seasonal migration in winter wishing to have good time in the lower regions.
02. Tichorong: (Lower Dolpo / Middle Belt)
This ritual is done every 10th of the month according to the Tibetan calendar. The senior or the head lamas perform this ritual with the gathering of people.
This is celebrated in the month of December and it is a special celebration of New Year like the Loshar of Tibetans. People celebrate it for 13 days and on the last day the Head Lama watches stars at night and declares another festival called Chaite.
It is the festival of relaxation for the people of Tichorong, it falls in the month of March. The festival goes for one month, people celebrate in relaxing way. During the festival people do not work at all. People use to invite each other and make fist and celebrate by dancing, singing, playing eating.
This festival occurs in the month of April. It is celebrated to welcome the spring season. This festival is especially for ladies.
This is another enjoy full festival for gents. During this festival people use to play with archery.
It is the ritual festival leaded by Dhamis (witch doctors).
This ritual festival is also leaded by Dhamis (witch doctors).
03. Lower Belt
This festival occurs in the month of March or April. The festival is usually celebrated by paying homage to lord Ram.
Vijaya Dashami (Dashain):
The main festival of Hindu to receive tika and blessing from the elder people.
Another great festival, which is also said as the festival of lights, it falls in the month of October or November. People pay their homage to the Goddess of property (Laxmi). Males receive blessings of their sisters.
It falls in the month of January people celebrate it by eating different kinds of yam.
It is one of the deities so ritual is performed by Dhamis and the people use to receive blessings from the deity.