Magar people

Magar is a Sino-Tibetan ethnic group of Nepal and northern India whose homeland extends from the western and southern edges of the Dhaulagiri section of the high Himalayas range south to the prominent Mahabharat foothill range and eastward into the Gandaki basin. According to Nepal’s 2001 census, 1,622,421 people identified themselves as belonging to the Magar ethnolinguistic group, representing 7.14% of Nepal’s population and making them the largest indigenous ethnic group in the country. According to the census figure, almost all of Magar are Buddhists whereas only a handful are considered to be non Buddhist Hindu..


The Kham Magar who live in the rugged highlands of Rukum, Salyan, Rolpa and Pyuthan districts in Rapti Zone are thought to have migrated from Siberia. This southward migration is evident in various shamanistic practices and other cultural features. They claim to occupy the original Magar homeland in Nepal from whence migration to the south and east proceeded.

Until the rise of Shah dynasty Magar were the ruling class in whole of Nepal. Some historians even believe that Shah dynasty are the direct descendants of Magar. Other histororians, however, believe this to be a total fabrication of history and wishful thinking to elevate the community's collective ego.

Just like any other Nepali, some members of the Magar community fought in the Nepalese Civil War.


Of the 1,622,421 Magar people in Nepal, 770,116 speak a Magar language as their mother tongue. The Kham Magar of Rapti Zone speak Kham language. In Dolpa District, the Magar speak Tarali or Kaike language. The Magar languages are rooted in the Bodic branch of the Tibeto-Burman family.


In addition to shamanistic practices possibly brought from Siberia, the northern Magar practice Tibetan Buddhism in which their priest is known as Bhusal. The social process of Sanskritization has drawn only small numbers of southern Magar populations to develop a syncretic form of Hinduism that combines animist and Buddhist rituals.

Generally speaking, Buddhist and Hindu practices are best developed among Magars living in contact with Tibetan Buddhists and Indo-Aryan Hindus respectively. They are less evident in Kham hinterlands particularly in rugged 3-4,000 meter ranges along the boundary between Rukum and Pyuthan-Rolpa districts. These hinterlands are geographically and therefore culturally isolated from the beaten tracks of transhimalayan trade routes and from rice-growing lowlands colonized by Hindu Indo-Aryans.


The Magar traditionally engage in subsistence agriculture, pastoralism, craftsmanship and day labor. The Magar are prominently represented in Nepal’s military, as well as in the British and Indian Gurkha regiments, along with the Gurung, Rai, and other martial ethnic groups from the hills of Nepal. Today, members of the Magar community are also employed as professionals in the fields of medicine, education, government service, law, journalism, development, and aviation.

Notable Magar

  • Khagendra Thapa Magar
  • Balaram Gharti Magar,Former Cabinet minister and famous politician
  • Mahabir Pun, recipient Magsaysay Award, considered Asia's Nobel prize
  • Pro Dr Trilok Pati Thapa,Institute of Medicine,Tribhuvan University,Kathmandu
  • Dr. Gobinda Prasad Thapa retired Assistant Inspector General of Nepal Police
  • late Lt. Col Narayan Singh Pun (Ex. Minister) Mediator of Government and Maoist
  • Gore Bahadur Khapangi (Ex. Minister)He played major role to establish the Nepal Magar Association
  • Suresh Ale Magar Maoist leader (member of legislature parliament.)
  • Fatik Thapa (Member of legislature parliament)Leader of magar community
  • M.S Thapa Leader of Magar Community
  • Pardip Thapa famous magar journalist
  • Sanjog laaphaa famous magar actor

  • Rom Bahadur Thapa,former Inspector General of Police,Nepal Police,Highest ranking police officer in Nepal
  • Khadga Jit Baral,former Inspector General of Police(IGP),later Ambassodor to Burma
  • Ram Bahadur Thapa,Maoist leader
  • Pramila Thapa Magar is Nepal's female black belt champion and world champion. She is the first female Tae kwon do coach in Nepal. She is also first female 4th Dan champion in Nepal, awarded from king Birendra.
  • Vim charan Thapa, campus chef,writer; sharada, parkhal, and other many books.
  • Prakash Thapa Magar, Ex-Boxer, Nepal champion and South Asia Champion.


External links

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