(AS in HISTORY, Present facts might be different)
Pokhara valley is the place of both Arayans and Mongolins. Most of the settlers that came from south and west were Aryans and the rest of them who came from the north were of Mongolian orgion. Before the arrival of Aryans the Pokhara valley had no human habitation.
Aryans, migrated from India, were skillful cultivators. So the fertile places of Pokhara like Hyangja, Kundahar and Bindyabasini were occupied by them and brought under cultivation. However, they preferred to live in the hills for climatic reasons. They used to send the weaker section of their society like Damai, Kami and Sarki to look after their fields. So, it is believed that the low caste people were the first inhabitants of the flat plains of Pokhara. The Muslim community also claims that they were the first settlers of Pokhara.
In the 17th century, Pokhara was ruled as a part of Kaskikot, one of the most powerful of Chaubise Kingdoms in central Nepal. Before the rise of the Shah kings there are no reliable historical accounts.
People of Pokhara
Pokhara is rich in cultural diversity. The population of the valley comprises Brahmins, Kshetris, Newars, Gurung, Magar, Thakalis and other occupational castes like Damai (tailor), Kami (blacksmith), Sunar (goldsmith) and Pode (sweeper). There is a small Muslim community as well.
The traditional community of Pokhara comprises mainly peasants. The traditional occupation and role of different castes and communities remain more or less the same. In the military profession most of the recruits are from Gurung, Magar and Kshetri. Gurung and magar prefer the Indian and British Gorkha army. Thakali and Newar are traditional business community. Thakalis prefer hotel business whereas Newars are involved in various commercial activites. Muslims of Pokhara are also involved in business.
Culture and Tradition
Most of the people of Pokhara valley are Hindus and Buddhists. However, different castes and ethnic groups have their own culture and tradition. There are nearly 20 castes and communities in the Valley.
The Brahmins and the Chhetries
At the present time, the population of the Brahmins and the Chhetris covers about 41.81% in Pokhara. The historians believe that many Brahmin and the Chhetri families moved to Jumla from the northern part of India in the past, and migrated to Pokhara. These people settled in Pokhara even before King Kul Mandal Shah ruled over Kaski.
The historical study reveals that the Gurungs migrated to the west central part of the hills of Nepal from the northern part of Tibet. Between the first and the 6th century AD one tribe settled down in the middle hills of Thak Kola and another settled in Manang. In the course of time, the former group became the Thakalis and the latter the Manangis.
The Gurungs are one of the earliest migrants in the Pokhara valley. The scholars opine that the Gurungs who came from the northern part of Tibet settled dwon in Pokhara some 3000 years ago. The majority of Gurung families migrated to Pokhara from villages such as Baglund, Syangja, Tanahun, Ghandruk,Taprang, Siklis, Dhampus, Mauza, Yangzakot, Lamjung and Gorkha.
Pokhara is the only city after Kathmandu where majority of the Newari people live. After the unification of Nepal, many Newars of Bhaktapur came to settle down in Pokhara. They are predominantly business people and very skilled artisans who can work on metal, wood or stone.
The majority of Magars are mainly concentrated in the middle hills of the Western Region, to the south of Pokhara. Like the Gurungs, they were early migrants living in the northern and eastern parts of Nepal. They belong to Tibeto-Burman speaking peoples.
The Thakalis are predominantly highlanders and live in the high mountains such as Tatopani, Mustang, Ghorepani and Jomsom. Originally, they come from Thak Khola. In the past, they used to come down to Pokhara for business, trade goods and return to Thak. However, over the past few years, they have begun to settle down in Pokhara. Majority of them are involved in the hotel business.
There is a small community of Muslims living at Matepani and Kundhar in Pokhara. This place is also known as Churaute Patan. They are said to have emigrated from India to Nepal Terai because of a war between Hindu and Muslim kings in the western India. They eventually moved further, made their ways to the hillsides and finally settled down in Pokhara during the 18th century.
In recent times, small segments of the Nepalese population from the downtrodden sections of the society have embraced Christianity. The seeds of Christianity in Pokhara were sown in 1952 with opening up of the missionary hospital.
Parjorling Tibetan Refugee Settlement at Prithvi Chowk was set up in the year 1972 with the generous permission from the Government of Nepal. There are two Tibetan villages in Pokhara. Tashiling is in the south near Devi’s fall. The other village Tashi Palkhel lies in the North of Pokhara, Hyangja. The Tibetan people living here produce woolen garments, blankets, carpets, colorful bags, antiques and handicrafts items.
The Gaines (minstrels) is professional singers and sings songs they have composed about contemporary events, good or bad. Kul Mandan Shah, the first Shah King was first to bring the Gaine singers from Tanahun. They were employed to sing during rituals and joyful occasions within the palaces or in the houses of senior officials. It is believed that the Gaines is the descendants of famous Gandharva, an enlightened wandering saint.
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