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"Despite modern day progress, the tribals of Himachal Pradesh have preserved their age old customs and traditions with a sincerity that is commendable. Moreover, many of their customs are pretty inetresting as well."
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Tribal Circuit - Tribal Tour Packages Himachal Pradesh

Kinnaure Tribes, Himachal Pradesh
Kinnaure Tribes, Himachal Pradesh

Tribes Himachal Pradesh has a considerable percentage of tribal population in the state. These tribal include the Kinners or Kinnaure, the Lahules, the Spitians, the Pangwalas, the Gaddis and the Gujjars. By nature, these people are highly sociable and like to make friends. This is despite the fact that they do not stay at one place and continue to move around. The tribal population of Himachal Pradesh follow their own set of traditions and customs. They even have their own dress up, music and dance to make them a unique lot. Tribes in Himachal Pradesh.

Famous Tribes Of Himachal Pradesh


These people occupy the areas of the border district of Kinnaur. Some of these people believe that they belong to the Kinners of Mahabharata while others consider themselves the descendants of the Kirats. Kirats were the people who were overpowered by the Aryans and Khasaa and forced to recede into the remote trans Himalayan region.

The physical appearance of the Kinnaures is quiet similar to that of the Aryans, however, there are also people with Mongoloid features. These people are soft spoken and indulge mainly into occupation like rearing of sheep and raising of wool. Other occupation of these people include agriculture and horticulture. The Kinnaure male adorns a long coat (chubha) and woolen pyjama (chamu sutan) while the women have a woolen sari called Dhoru as their dress. Their feet are protected by shoes that are made up of wool and goat hair.

One interesting aspect about the Kinnaure is their marriage system. All brothers in one family marry a single girl. This is what they call the Pandava marriage since the five Pandava brothers too had one wife for them. This custom has also left many of the girls unmarried. These girls who finally find it difficult to get a good match for themselves convert into a Buddhist nun or Jomo.


The denizens of Lahaul are called by the name of Lahauli. These people trace their origin to the native Munda tribe and the racially intermixed Tibetans. The tribal population of the Lahaulis segregate themselves into higher and lower classes and mainly follow Buddhism. There is a shrine with an image of Buddha in the house of every well off Lahauli. Lahaulis are also liberal as far as their marriages are concerned. Women can marry more than once and divorce is extremely normal affair. However, marriages have to be within the tribe.

The Lahaul valley is situated on the traditional trade routes to Ladakh, Sinkrang and further. This is the reason why trade also forms a major occupation of the people here apart from farming. In earlier times, traders from Lahaul carried on trade with Tibet. With that route being closed now, people export a herb, kuth to Kolkata from where it is send forward to foreign destination.


These people normally reside in the Mandi, Kangra and Bilaspur district though a majority of them live in the Kangra district.

Gaddis are not nomadic in strictest of sense since they have villages where they reside. However, they do make their way to the higher pastures in the summer season with their flocks. The origin of the Gaddis is rather unclear. The Gaddis themselves believe that their ancestors fled from the plains of India due to the lack of security for them. At that point the persecution of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb forced them to leave for a more protected area.

The most attractive aspect about the Gaddi is their attire. The women wear splendidly colourful dresses that are spun at home. A thick scarf over their head serves both as a decorative and protective purpose. The black sash on their back is also useful since it carries their little child. Ornaments of the Gaddi women include semi precious stones, little mirrors in their necklace and peacock feather.

The main occupation of the Gaddi tribals is shepherding. There are farmers, weavers and tinkers ( a mender of metal household utensil) also. In earlier times, many people indulged into crushing of millets and carrying of loads to make a living for themselves. Gaddis have strict moral values to which they try to stick in even worst of circumstances. The women are plain and simple here.


These people are essentially goatherds and it is this occupation of theirs that takes them from one place to another. During winter, these people descend to Kangra and the forest of Hoshiarpur while summer is the time put up along the banks of rivers Chandrabhaga in Lahaul.

The Pirals are fun loving and traditional people and love to celebrate their festivals. Marriages of Pirals are very similar to that of Hindus.


Gujjars are the Muslim tribals of the Himachal Pradesh. Most of the historians believe that Gujjars came to India all the way from central Asia during 6th century.

Gujjars are mostly vegetarian and are shepherd and goatherd by occupation. Search for better pastures take them to lowland plains in the winter and to the upper reaches of the Himalaya during the summer.

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