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Bhutia People

Religion : Most Bhutias practice the Nyingmapa form of Tibetan Buddhism.

Language : Sikkimese, which is 65% intelligible with either Tibetan or Dzongkha - the language of Bhutan. In recent times Nepali is more widely spoken.

Regional Spread : In India Bhutias are spread out in Sikkim and in the northern West Bengal towns of Kalimpong and Darjeeling. The Bhutia community is also spread out over Nepal and Bhutan.

Population : 1,091,117 (according to 2001 census)

Food Habits : Traditionally, Bhutias are rice eaters. They usually consume it with animal fat fried vegetables or meat usually pork, and beef, and occasionally mutton or chicken. Other well known dishes are Momo- steamed meat dumplings, and the Thukpa- noodle in broth.

Marriage Preference : Bhutias seek matrimonial alliance within their clans and follow a very hierarchical system of bride and groom selection. Clan discrimination is widespread and marriage outside the community is looked down upon.

Famous Personalities

  • - Danny Denzongpa (Bollywood Actor)
  • - Baichung Bhutia (Football player)

History and Origin :

Bhutias people are of Tibetan origin, who migrated to Sikkim (India) and Bhutan some time after the 15th century through the different passes ("La" in Tibetan) in the Himalayas. Geographical denotations in the names of Bhutias last names is common. In Northern Sikkim, where the Bhutias are the majority inhabitants, they are known as the Lachenpas or Lachungpas, meaning inhabitants of Lachen or Lachung respectively. Similarly, the Bhutias of Sikkim as a whole can be denoted as Denzongpa, or inhabitants of Denzong, the Tibetan name for Sikkim.

Bhutia is also often used as a derogatory term, used by people of Nepali heritage to describe people of Tibetan heritage. Most Bhutias are better off economically and educationally among the various Himalayan communities though.