Magar Ethnic Group in Nepal

The largest indigenous group in the country of Nepal is the Magars, who make up over seven percent of the population. They are a widespread group and can be found from the Gandaki basin to the foothills of Mahabharat and throughout some of the regions of Dhualagiri, which is a part of the well known Himalayas mountain range. Most of the Magar practice the Hindu religion, while the rest are Buddhists. The Magar people are also divided into seven groups: the Budhathoki, Thapa, Pun, Rana, Roka, Gharti and Ale.

All these groups are of the same social standing, and Magars intermarry between the seven clans. Due to the group accepting Indian immigrants into their culture, the Hindu ceremonies and rites performed by the Magars are very similar to those practiced in India. There is not much known about the ancient Magars, as they are only first mentioned in 1100 CE, as the invasion of the Magar King of Palpa and Butwal, named Mukunda Sen, of the Kathmandu Valley was recorded. From this it is derived that the Magars must have been some of the first people to settle in the north. During that time this area of Nepal was partitioned into twelve regions, referred to as Thams, Barah or Magarants, and each region had their own ruler. The regions were known as Musikot, Rising, Bhirkot, Satung, Argha, Isma, Dhor, Payung, Gulmi, Khanchi, Garhung and Ghiring.

The Magar also pride themselves on their dress code, and can be distinguished by what they wear. For example, those living in the low hills will wear loincloths, a Nepali topi, vest or bhoto, while the women will clothe themselves in a sari, head garments, lunghi and waistbands as an accessory. Madwari are worn on the ears, with necklaces from silver coins and bulakis for the nose are also popular accessories. The men do not wear any accessories, except for gold or silver earrings that are referred to as gokkul. Amulets and lockets are popular with the younger Magar girls.

The Magars are famous for being people that have a wonderful sense of humor, are very honest and are extremely disciplined, leading to them being brilliant soldiers. Many Magars are found in military or policing positions, while others have excelled in various other career choices such as journalism, aviation, medical fields, law and education. Traditionally the Magar usually carve a living through agriculture. They are also avid mountaineers; a skill that seems to come naturally to them, as their mountaineering expeditions assisted troops greatly during the time of war. Magar People are not only communities that have survived for centuries, but are also making valuable contributions to Nepal in the country and abroad.