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History of Limi People

In 1961, a border was drawn between Ngari, western Tibet, and Humla, northwest Nepal. Since then, Limi has formally been part of Nepal. In 1992, People of Limi issued their citizen card (Nep. Nagri-Ta).

As far as the history of Limi is concerned, they have never been politically and culturally separate from Ngari, in Tibet. Today, the older generation have vivid memories of the past and still have historical records showing that the Limi people paid an annual Man tax ( "Me Kral") to Purang Jong, the district headquarters of Purang, in Tibet, housing tax ( "Thap Kral" ) to the regional kingdom of Nepal, and monk tax ("Gra Kral") to Gyangdak monastery (the main monastery of the Drikung Kagyu Order, located right at the foot of Mt Kailash).

Rinchen Ling Monastery at Welse village witnesses the Limi People's history the most. The monastery was established in the 10th century by a most well known Buddhist master Lotsawa Rinchen Sangpo during the golden age of Guge Kingdom. Rinchen Ling monastery was named after the founders' name and it has been evern since the main cultural, historical and religious center of the three villages of Limi. Today, the monastery has historical objects and documents to proof the history.

It is really hard to measure how big Tibet was when it was a free. The concept of a country monitored by a central government is a fairly new system in Nepal and in Tibet, and even in Asia. The reality was it was almost impossible to have a centralized government because of lacking communication, transport and effective political system. Tibetans lived in Tibet mostly ruled by some local governors and rich families.

Limi people considered themselves Tibetans. Their sense of Tibetanness is rooted in their same ethnic line, religion, culture, language and traditions but not in a country, as is the case today. There can be no doubt that Limis are Tibetans, and the same as other Tibeto-Nepalese regions in Nepal.

In this 21st century, Tibetans outside Tibet, meaning Tibetan in Nepal and India, have preserved every aspect of the Tibetan culture, tradition and religion, which were almost gone in Tibet during the Cultural Revolution of China.

The Chinese occupation of Tibet has had a strong impact on the lives of those Tibetans who lived in Nepal, it includes Limi. Many families were split in two by the Chinese invasion. When the Chinese had advanced as far as they wanted, they drew a border. At that time, the border people of Ngari had two or more houses which, being nomads, they moved between seasonally.

One story tells how, early in 1960, an official Chinese invitation was received in Limi. It listed the social benefits and the gift of a quantity of silver corn (the currency of the time) if delegated members of Limi attended a meeting in Purang, which had already been invaded. The three villages gathered for a meeting and decided to perform Tagral in front of Achyi Choedol Ma (the dharma protector of the Drikung Kagyu tradition). This is a traditional way of making decisions about the future. There are several different ways to do Tagral: one is to write down the various options on separate pieces of paper which are then rolled into a ball and placed in a container. The container is shaken and the piece of paper which comes out shows the decision to be taken. Tagral chose not to go to the meeting in Purang. So now, Limis believe, if they had gone to the meeting, they would have fallen under the new government of Tibet, which is now China, as happened to the neighboring village called Shar.

A glance of Nepal

Nepal is one of the Himalayan foothill countries, situated in between Tibet, in the east and north, and India, in the west and south. The country covers 140,800 square kilometers and the population of Nepal is 22.4 millions. The general categorization of the origin ethnic of Nepalese are, Indo-Nepalese, Tibeto-Nepalese and indigenous Nepalese and the main religions of the country are Hinduism, Buddhism and Muslim and Kati.

The government of Nepal was a Constitutional Monarchy and a multiparty democracy constitution is established in 1990. The King of Nepal is the head of the State and the Prime Minister is the head of the government. Hinduism is the official religion of the country and Kathmandue is the capital city. Until 1990, the governing system of Nepal was known as Panchayat. The country was divided into fourteen zones (Nep. Anzel Panchayat), seventy-five districts (Nep. Jela Panchayat), 3,524 Village Councils (Nep. gaun panchayat). Plus, over10,000 populated areas were created a town council (Nep. nagar panchayat). Since 1990 Village Councils are renamed as Village Development Committees (Nep. gaun bikas samiti) and Town Council renamed Municipal Development Committee (Nep. nagar polika).

The main sources of the national incoming are the tourism, rice, sugarcane, corn, wheat, potatoes, pulses, live-stocks (number of live animals) and natural resources; such as limestone, salt, copper, cobalt, iron ore, timbers, quartz and scenic beauty.

Simikot is the headquarter of Humla District (Nep. Humla Jela) is headed by the district chief officer, who is responsible for maintaining law and coordinating with the Karnali zonal (Nip. Karnali Anzel) ministries, under the Home Office of Nepal. Humla District is one of the five districts of Karnali zone such as Humla, Jumla, Kalikoti, Dolpo, and Mugu The district is made up 27 Village Development Committees and the population is 54,800. Amongst the people of Humla District, there are over 35,000 Tibeto-Nepalese, who are known as "Lama" and the rest Indigenous Nepalese mostly call themselves as "Takur" and “Rokaya”.

The three villages of Limi together make a Village Development Committee, which is headed by the thief of Committee (Nep. A-Degsha ) and the vice committee(Nep. Au-Pa-Degsha ). Each village has a head of village (Nep. Sa-Degsha).

Before 20th century, policing and judicial order of the villages of Limi were maintained by two the leading families (Tib. Go-pa) and a supreme family (Tib. Chekyap Family). Still today, though external law is maintained by the Nepal Government, internal rules are kept by the villagers as it has been for hundred years. People of Limi pay their respect to the Go-pa families and the Chekyap Family, although their authority has no longer recognized by the Humla District Head Office.


Sacred sites at the Mount Kailash  |  Senge Tenzin Rinpoche  |  Ngari: western Tibet  
                                          |  Limi: northwestern Nepal  | Dolpo: eastern Nepal