Sherpas - Porters of Himalayas - Culture & Lifestyle

Sherpas - Porters of Himalayas - Culture & Lifestyle

May 30, 2017



A Sherpa diet mostly contains starchy food with vegetables spices and the occasional meat. They drink Tibetan tea. A typical breakfast consists of Tibetan tea and several bowls of gruel made by adding tsampa, roasted flour, to water, tea, or milk. Lunch is eaten in the late morning and it includes boiled potatoes which are dipped in ground spices. Sometimes stiff dough made from a mixture of grains (sen) is eaten with a thin sauce made from spices and vegetables, or meat if it is available. A typical dinner is a stew (shakpa) consisting of balls of dough, potatoes, and vegetables. Dairy products, especially butter and curds, are important in the Sherpa diet. Sherpa’s eat meat, but as practicing Buddhists they will not kill animals themselves.


Sherpa dress is similar to that worn by Tibetans. Both men and women wear a long inner shirt over a pant-like garment, both made out of wool. Over this, they wear a thick, coarse, wraparound robe (bakhu) that reaches to below the knees and fastens at the side Traditional housesWhen the Sherpa first came to Solu-Khumbu, their homes were bamboo huts. They kept changing. First to being half stone, half split wooden logs, eventually they became stone houses, and later with two floors. Now there are even some three and four story hotels and houses.


The Sherpa use walking as their transport, they sometimes use donkeys or horses (the Tibetan mustang). They prefer these types of transport because their roads are very small and go over cliffs, plus the water usually floods the road so it is impossible to take a car.MusicThe instruments used by the sherpa include drums, cymbals, handbells, conch shells, 10-foot (3-meter) telescopic horns, large oboes, and flutes made from human thighbones.


The language of the Sherpa, called Sherpa or Sherpali, and is a dialect of Tibetan, even though it has borrowed heavily from neighbouring languages. It belongs to the Tibeto-Burman branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. The Sherpa mainly use the Tibetan script for writing but Sherpa’s use Nepali in their dealings with other peoples. ReligionThe Sherpa religion is the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism, it is the oldest Buddhist sect in Tibet. It emphasizes mysticism and incorporates shamanistic practices and local deities borrowed from the pre-Buddhist Bon religion.

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