A community living in the trans-Himalayan regions of India – Tibet border (in  Garhwal) is called Rongpa. Those living in Chamoli, Uttarakhand are generally  referred to as Rongpa. Anthropological evidence suggests that the word “Rongpa”  translates to “valley people”.An alternative translation proposes that ‘Rong’ refers  to a rigid valley, while ‘pa’ refers to the commuters. While the Rongpa have their  own distinct history, tradition, and customs, they are similar to the Garhwali  people. 
Rongpa communities are some of the oldest in the upper belt of the Himalayas,  close to the border of Tibet in Garhwal.  
According to the late Hayat Singh Pal, a recognized influence in Rongpa culture,  the people of these valleys are Suryavansi, Chandravansi, Rajputs and Thakars, as  described in ancient texts. They are considered the descendants of Chandravansis  and Suryavansis. Marchha, Tolchha, and Jadhs are the three sub-groups of the  Rongpa community. The Marchha inhabit the Niti and Mana valleys, the Tolcha  the Niti valley, and before 1962 Jadhs resided in the Nelong and Jadung valleys in  the Uttarkashi district of Garhwal. 
Traditionally, Rongpas were traders, farmers, weavers, shepherds and herders.  Before 1962, when Indo-Tibetan Border got closed , Rongpas used to trade with  Tibet through the Mana and Niti passes, which are at an elevation of 5,800m. In  trading centres, they bartered their goods for local Tibetan merchandise to be resold in local markets in India. Large numbers of caravans of mules, yaks and  sheep were traded. Ghee, Salt, Beans (Rajma), Potatoes, Peas Gains etc. were  other main items for trading. The herders sell wool, meat, and milk to earn a  living. 

The trading period was limited for four to five month when the snow get melted  (during summer). The traders would return to India just before the start of the  winter season in October. Then all people vacate their villages from the valleys  before snow fall and relocate them in lower altitudes where they stay till the  summer starts. 
Animals graze on the rich alpine pastures in the summer and move to lower  altitudes in the winter. Women stay in the villages weaving woollen cloths and 
tending the fields. Crops grown in these valleys include beans (Rajma), potatoes,  different spices, peas as well as several different varieties of grains. 

Generally Rongpas have two residing places, one in Niti and Mana valleys during  Summer and other in lower ranges of Himalayas during Winter. Rongpas practice  a unique custom, rituals and traditions during summer in their native villages of  Niti and Mana valleys. 
The Jadh sub-group, in particular, are among the warrior clans, as they were the  ruler of the Gartang Garh, one of the 52 garh (forts) of the Garhwal Kingdom.  Jadhs now reside in the Bagori and Veerpur villages of Uttarkashi. Veerpur has a  diverse population made up of upper caste Jadhs, Fias (allegedly lower caste),  Kolis (weavers of Himachal), Khampas (natives of Tibet), Nepalis, and Garhwal.  The written and official language of this community is Hindi. All the sub-groups of  Rongpas speak a different dialect. 

The people of this community practice strict Hinduism. Hindu Gods and Goddesses are worshipped by the community, in hopes of gaining protection for  their families and villages. However, the people of this community mainly worship  Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Pandavas, apart from their Isht devs and devis
Rongpas historically preferred to marry within their own community, though  recently inter-community marriage has become common. 
The traditional dress worn by the people of Bhotia is made with layers of wool,  designed to provide warmth during the cold winters. Women traditionally wear a  woolen skirt, shirt, waistcoat, or overcoat. They usually adorn their necks, ears,  and noses with beads and rings of gold or silver. The men typically wear trousers  over which they layer a loose gown tied to the waist with a cloth, called a patta.  They may also don a woollen cap. 
Now Rongpa people are moving out of their native places in hunt of livelihood  and most of them are based on govt. services. Their rich cultural heritage is also vanishing with time.

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