11: The Sherpas and the Thakalis
to the EverestNews.com Lesson plans developed by
Kevin Cherilla ( base camp manager of the NFB
2001 Everest Expedition and 7th and 8th grade
physical education teacher from Phoenix, Arizona)
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and the Thakalis
here to find out about Sherpas and Thakalis.)
The students will list three unique characteristics of
the Sherpas and the Thakalis. The students will locate
on a map of Nepal where the Sherpas and the Thakalis
1. Review material on the Newars and the Tamangs from
yesterday's lesson. Point out where they reside on the
map of Nepal. Have two more students give their report
on the ethnic background of their own family.
2. Either read the information on the Sherpas and the
Thakalis to the class or have each student read it
3. Locate on the same map of Nepal that was used in
yesterday's lesson where the Sherpas and the Thakalis
people live. Discuss the unique characteristics of
each of these cultures.
1. The students will read the paragraphs on the
Sherpas and the Thakalis and answer the questions.
2. On the same map of Nepal that was used yesterday,
the students will locate and color code where the
Sherpas and the Thakalis people live.
1. Have the students research typical clothes for the
Sherpas and the Thakalis. Draw what these clothes
might look like (use color) and share with the class.
people who live in the highest parts of the Himalaya
Mountains are called Sherpas. The majority of the
Sherpas live in the central and eastern portion of the
mountains. The word "Sherpa" means a
mountain guide, a title many Sherpas have earned
Primarily, only the Sherpas that live near Mount
Everest are very successful at mountain guiding and
can earn enough money to live comfortably. Many of the
Sherpas who guide the Everest treks also have family
that might run a hotel or restaurant in a nearby
village. The Sherpas' body does not suffer the great
effects of high altitudes that the rest of the people
endure. For this reason, they are used in Everest
expeditions to carry heavy loads of supplies for the
Religion plays an important role in the Sherpa life.
Buddhist prayer flags are seen hung outside the homes
of Sherpas. Hanging the prayer flags are said to bring
happiness, long-life and prosperity to the person who
planted them. Monasteries and temples are found in
most every Sherpa village with festivals and
celebrations in the months of June August.
Thakalis people live in the northern territory of the
Kali Gandake River. The Thakalis have been extremely
successful entrepreneurs for centuries. Originally,
the Thakalis people invested in trading between Tibet
and India. Ultimately, the Thakalis branched out and
are now prosperous in a variety of areas,
construction, politics, business, education, the arts,
The Thakalis villages are broken down into smaller
family groups called dighur. The dighurs pool all of
their resources together and select one person among
the group to make decisions for the rest. When all the
people in the dighur have been in the leadership
position, the group is disbanded. The whole idea
behind the dighur is absolute trust in your leader.
Conversely, the leader is totally consumed with the
responsibility for feeding the dighur.
Many of the Thakalis people are small farmers who grow
barley and potatoes. Some Thakalis will invest in
yaks, which are a tremendous source of food, clothing,
1. What are some unique characteristics of the Sherpas
and the Thakalis people? Be able to list three
2. Why do the Sherpas make such excellent mountain
3. What are some ways Thakalis people use yaks?
Lisa Choegyal, Insight Guides Nepal, Langenscheidt
Publishers Inc., New York, 11378, p. 83.
State Standard - SS3 E5 Describe natural and human
characteristics of places and use this knowledge to
define regions, their relationships with other regions
and their patterns of change, with emphasis on:
1 common characteristics of regions at local, national
and international scales on the basis of climate,
landforms, ecosystems and culture.
2 patterns of climate, landforms and ecosystems in a
4 the concept of region and how and why regions
5 relationships and interactions among regions