MANY SCHOLARS BELEIVE THAT THE MANGARS WERE KNOWN AS ‘BRIJIS, LICCHIVIS, KAVIS, MEDES FOR MANY HUNDREDS OF YEARS, BEFORE ARRIVING TO THE TERM” MANGARS’.TODAY. AND ACCORDING TO THE EMINENT SCHOLAR -IMAN SINGH CHEMJONG, - THE TERM ‘ MANGAR ‘, HAS BEEN DERIVED FROM THE WORD ’ Mong-’ meannig ‘Mongol’ &  ARUI-MEANING – descendents, so collectively  the term ‘Mangar’, can be taken as –‘ Descendents of the Mongols.’And According to S.C Das, the MANGARS  are the descendents  of the ‘ Mongku’ tribe of the Mongols residing in some areas of Central Asia.


On the basis of the reference from the KIRAT MUNDUM or KIRAT CHORONOLOGY-the root oF origin of the Mangars  has been traced to a place North of the Himalayas called ‘SHIN’, Probablyin the Pamir mountain in Central Asia.


It is said that , following the steps of Chengis Khan, groups of Mangars under the leadership of SHIN MANGAR & CHITTU MANGARS,migrated south entering Sikkim and making their settlement therein, building forts and fortify their strong hold in the region. The earlier settlers called these new ‘arrivial’s as  ‘TAMSANG  THAPAS,   meaning ‘ people coming from the North’.
These new settled Magars/Mangars strengthened their hold in areas of settlement , building forts which they called as ZONG/JONG/DZONGS ( meaning – ‘fort’.) and naming their areas of domain as MANGRATH or MAGARLOKS, as found in some book, a large number of ruins of Mangar zongs are still found in parts of SIKKIM till date. . 
Over a period of time the Mangars divided themselves into twelve ( 12) sub groups  and called themselves BARHAMANGRAT,  ‘BARHA meaning  12, and MANRATS meaning MANGARS., under the leadership of—HANYONG THAPA, HANGYANG THAPA, HIRJALI THAPA, HANGSE THAPA, HUNGCHUM THAPA, HUNGEHUM THAPA,  SINJALI THAPA, BARCHA THAPA, MUNDEY THAPA, CHODEY THAPA, ISLOR THAPA, UDOA THAPA, 
     Mr. S.C. Das, a famous Bengali explorer and historian narrates the history of the time when the upper valley of the KANGBACHEN RIVER in Sikkim was inhabited by the Tibetans, under the Magar king who was suppossly had harassed and taxed them heavily. Even the kings deputies were reported to have troubled them for extra income, so they conspired to have the Magar king assassinated. Then on one of the king’s official visit, the Magar king fell to the hands of the conspirators.
 In an act of vengeance, the Magar queen organised a grand funeral feast six miles up the river half way between the two villages and invited all to attend. it is said that after her people had finished, she had poisoned wine served to the Tibetans subject, thus killing large number of them. So today this place where the deed was committed is known as ‘TONGSONG PHUG’, meaning ‘a place of thousand corpses’.
After which a war of attrition followed , the Magars went to the losing end, driven out of the Kangbachen valley of Sikkim, some, we find settled in areas of east NEPAL, some, moved west under the leadership of Phalemi Khan  and settled in Palpa region  of Nepal.
We also find references in history wherein the 17 th century , the Magars continued to  actively oppose the KARGYU Red hat Sect of Tibetans who were driven out of Tibet by the Gelyungpa  sect of Yellow hats  now settling in Sikkim 
It is predicted that almost for two hundred years attempts to find a viable solution to the problem had been initiated, to no avail. The enimity between the two communities reach to such a point that Mangars  left Sikkim and it is accepted that the LAST MANGAR KING, died at a place in Darjeeling that later  became  the PHUBUNG CINCHONA PLANTATION..
And during the 18 th century, Sikkim dropped all references of the Magar tribe in their records.
Sir . J.Hooker, in Himalayan JOURNAL , Vol I,writes ‘ THE MAGARS , a tribe now confined to Nepal west of the Arun, are aborigins of Sikkim, where they were driven by the Lepchas westward into the country of Limboos, and by these latter further west still. They are said to have been savages, and not of Tibetan orgin, and now converted to HINDOOISM. ....a somewhat mythical account of a wild people still inhabiting the Sikkim mountains, will be alluded to elsewhere.

Language and script

The language of Mangars falls  into the family of Tibeto – Burmese. Basically their language can be broadly divided into three categories viz- Kham , Kaika , and Mangrati. The first two category of Mangar language-Kham and Kaika is usually found to be spoken in the areas of West Nepal but the latter category - Mangrati is spoken in the areas of Darjeeling, Sikkim and Dooars. 
So here Mangrati is considered as the official language of the Mangar / Magar. The language is also commonly called as Lono-Dhoot meaning ‘Mangar Kura’. The Mangar script is known as Akha Lippi.
In order to keep this language alive; the neighbouring state of Sikkim, under Hon’ble Chief Minister of Sikkim  Mr. Pawan Chamling, on 27th Mar 1996 declared the Mangar language as one of the state languages. Here, in parts of Darjeeling, efforts are still being made to teach Mangrati language, at make shift shelters, purely on voluntary basis as there is no government aid available at the moment. But the Association is hopeful that things will have a better turn in days to come.
(Enclosed abstract of Akha Lippi etc.)


Based on the census figure of 1951, the population of the Mangars in the state of West Bengal was approximately to around 42, 663, in the District of Darjeeling the figure ran to around as 34, 350. In the absence of a separate Mangar population, the subsequent census was arrived by taking a rough calculation of 20 %rise for each decade.
Yet the rough calculation estimates of around 4.5 -5 lakhs of Mangar are present. It is to be noted that the Government Census only records  the count of only three sub clans( Thapa . Ale & Rana) to portray the total calculation of the MANGAR community whereas the fact lies that there are around 918 sub –clans of the Mangars.
The NAWA MANGAR ASSOCIATION (NMA) is of the opinion that if a  correct census figure of  the Mangars is to be ascertained then, the other Mangar  sub clans needs to be included to portray the correct population figure for the MANGAR Community.  

Area of habitation

The Mangar population over hundreds of years have been  settling  in the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, West Bengal, The North Eastern States. Quite a sizable number of Mangars are found in  Simla, Almora, Nainital, Dehradun, Dharamsala, Bakshu,  Dist of Darjeeling, Dooars etc.

Clans & Sub Clans of Mangars.

A broad division of the Mangar clans and their sub clans have been given below:-
The  Mangars have been basically divided into seven (7) broad clans & each clan has been further sub divided into numerous sub clans as indicated against their brackets-1). RANA (190)     2).  ALAY/ALE (184), 3). THAPA (386),   4) BUDATHOKI OR BUDA (35),5)  ROKA(03),       6)PUN (62)  & 7) GHARTI (58)

Physical characteristics of Mangars

According to shri. S. Subedi who describes Mangars as people of short stature, not very tall with a small squarical head. They hardly have any moustache or beard, small stub round flatten nose with short hands and legs and muscular calves, seasoned and weather beaten over the years of hard labour.


The Mangar community can boast of having a very rich cultural heritage, language of its own, its own form of dress and costume, religion and religious practices (Animistic and Shamanistic) and so to name a few. A very comprehensive division of one aspect of Mangar culture is reflected below. Occasions in Mangar community can be placed in two categories….. i.e Auspicious and inauspicious occasion.
Auspicious events (birth, marriage):
An occasion before child birth:- There is a traditional practice and a belief within the Mangar community that when a child is conceived in a family, the father of the family is not prohibited to be involved in any form of anti – social , anti- religious activities, as this may have an ill bearing on the unborn child. After the child’s delivery a nurse is called upon for her services (which in earlier days would be an old lady known as ‘Sudhaynee’ and a Shaman (witch doctor) would be summoned to ward of any evil that may effect the new born.
Either on the 3rd or 5th, or 7th or 9th day (considering an odd number) the child would go over a auspicious ceremony known as Nauran (Purification ceremony) which is perform by the Wappa. The aunty plays a decisive role in the naming of child where according to Mangar custom the child’s feet is touch to the ground, and face lifted towards the sun. The name of the child is whispered by his / her aunt into the child’s ears, followed by elders blessing the child, offering gifts etc.
The child’s mother is still required to undergo certain restrictions for 22days, before she is cleansed and  allowed to offer her prayer to their family deity, then only she is considered clean and allow to fall back into the normal family and social pattern of life. Later, as the time comes, other rituals like ‘rice feeding and hair cutting ceremony’, duly follow in accordance with Mangar custom and tradition.
Marriage:- The Mangar community views ‘marriage ceremony’ with great importance as they believe that marriage gives the beginning to a new family life. There are two forms of marriages within the Mangar communities, (beside widow remarriage) viz – marriage by consent, elope marriage. It is to be noted that within the Magar community that marriage can be consorted between the uncle’s daughter (mother’s brother’s daughter and the son of the girls eldest or youngest sister i.e Phupu’s son and mama’s daughter). In earlier times the son of the eldest / youngest sister did actually claim his right to marriage over his uncle’s daughter. Hence such a girl would be known as ‘Bata ki Salee’. Polygamy was found to have existed earlier, but with the change of time, the Mangar community has done away with this practice.
 Inauspicious events (Death):
Occurrence of death:-  as soon as a  person dies, the body of the deceased is placed on the ground, head faced east, oil lights are lit and a silver coin of ordinary coin is placed on the deceased forehead. During the funeral, the Wappa (priest) performs his rituals, the body is wrapped in white cloth and sewed with bamboo chips. Then the deceased is proceeded towards its site of burial. At the site of burial, the Wappa continues to perform his rituals, after which the body is laid to ground, the funeral party offers its last words / pays respect by offering mud and bids farewell.
The returning funeral party is offered tea/snacks and then invited to the funeral feast, a date set by the Wappa, and in the mean time, the sons of the deceased pass over  the stipulate period of time mourning with hair and eyebrows shaved off, clothed in simple white cloth, segregated and condoning  themselves from the rest of the family members, cooking by themselves, bathing on daily basis maintain distance with the general public until the day that the wappa has set, where they undergo a process of cleansing, than only will they be allowed to interact and mingle with the rest of the others.
Neighbors / friends / well wishers arrive on the day of funeral feast, ‘condolence money’ is offered  as a mark of respect to the family members of the deceased.
When evening dawns, SHAMAN (witch doctor) performs his rituals and conveys the last wishes of the deceased.
It is a common practice, that the Mangar still follow the last death rites by observing puja / religious activities either in one and half months, six months or a year to mark the absence of the deceased and pray that deceased may find place in heaven.


The MANGARS are basically agriculturist who depends on nature for their harvest. Some of their food materials are derived from nature itself. Hard working as they are, yet they never miss an opportunity to sit together and enjoy  a  decent meal which consist of meat, wine  accompanied by varieties of vegetables at large. Primarily they are Non vegetarian in nature but of latest a consideration number of them have been switching on to being  vegetarian, though meat forms an important aspect of their daily menu.
They cultivate crops like Maize, Paddy, Soya beans, Millet, Johor, Ginger, Cardamom, Potatoes, Sweet- Potatoes, Yam, Tapioca, Pumpkins, other vegetables along with variety of fruits are also seen in the list of their cultivation.
Their traditional food would be Corn rice, wheat rice .Phaper (Buck wheat)  roti, bread prepared from (Buck Wheat) along with a mixed vegetable curry  of beans, leafy vegetables, pumpkin with potatoes is a rich favourite amongst them. Roasted corn is a welcomed snack. They even prefer beaten rice with a curry of buffalo meat, and puffed rice is consumed too. Dal prepared from Yellow Dal is a sorted menu and GUNGDRUK, (a semi decay vegetable matter) is an all time favourite.
They domesticate animals like Lambs (in some areas) Goats, Poultry, Piggery etc. Pork meat is a great delicacy amongst the  Mangars.

Festivals  & functions

Makar Sangkranti
The MANGAR are actually Tribal  people who lived along side with nature. Depending and surviving on what nature provided best  -fruits , roots . vegetable  and animal meat. The very Tribal instinct allowed them  to survive  for quite a bit of time but as time changed  so did situation, it became difficult to solely survive on nature and hence a particular day was set aside to continue this ceremony of eating   roots. So in this function takes on to cleansing oneself and  performing a religious function to pay homage  to Mother Nature and consuming roots  became an important function in the life of the Mangars . Hence the Makar Sangkranti is celebrated with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm.
Chaita Dasai:
 Though many consider this as an influence of Hinduism, yet the Mangar community shows its due respect by observing this festival, where a varieties of delicacy are prepared and served within family and family friends.
Shawan Sankranti:
The Mangars have been seen to be observing this festival where it is said that about eighty four (84) varieties of delicacies are  being prepared , ready to be served although this is only  possible with some families now a days.
The MANGARS celebrate this occasion  as a mark of  respect for their king BALI HANG who was revered for his justice  & compassion. This occasion usually takes place in Mangsir Purnima / Bisakh Purnima  and on this day the mangers pay homage to their ancestors , seeking their blessing for good for tune . At some place animal sacrifice is also done to pleases the Gods & Goddess .
The Magars also enjoy the festivity of this festival. Clothing themselves well, visiting the houses of the elders  seeking blessing and enjoying the merry -making , wining and dining blending themselves with people of other communities, expressing the concept of brotherhood and tolerance.

Ornaments  & Costumes

ORNAMENTS  & COSTUMES;  The MANGAR/MAGAR  community can boast of having one of the most beautifully decorated ornaments in comparison   with others. They term their ornaments as’ ‘Varkali’. Their  rich Maroon red costume makes the Margarnees (Mangar women) stand out amongst the others like the red Rhododendron in full blossom.
 Some commonly seen ornaments found to be worn by Mangarnees  (Mangar women) are
An illustration of some ornaments is given below:-