Monpa Tribe: Indigenous Community of Bhutan

The Monpa community has been in Bhutan long before the founders of Modern Bhutan started building Dzongs for administrative purposes. The Monpas are the indigenous inhabitants of Bhutan isolated for thousands of years before they recently started allowing westerners in.

The Monpas are a very close-knit community and have a joint family system. The decisions are taken by the male head of the family, on the absence of which, the female head of the family takes the reins. Bonism was the predominant religion in the Monpa community, even before Buddhism reached Bhutan. Bonism is still practiced today, however, animal sacrifice has been replaced with an offering of boiled eggs due to changing times.


The Monpas had their own dress called the ‘Pangay’, which is no longer worn in the present day. Monpas have adopted the Gho and the Kira. They have their own language called the Monkha, which has its root in the Tibeto-Burman family of languages. The Monpas are battling their own challenges of preserving their culture, tradition and language as they get overwhelmed by dominant cultural influences from outside of their region.

Monpas do not interfere with their children’s marital decision, they prefer both male and female children equally. However, the daughter remains in her own family with her husband after marriage, while the son has to leave and stay with his wife and the in-laws.

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