10 Major and Minor Tribes of Himachal Pradesh

10 Major and Minor Tribes of Himachal Pradesh
Himachali Tribal Woman at Hidimba Temple, Himachal Pradesh
According to 2011 Population Census, the total tribal population of Himachal Pradesh stands at the 3,92,126, which is 5.71% of the total population of the state. It is also only 0.38% of all tribal population of India. The tribal population of the state has grown at a decadal rate of 9.91% in  2001-11. As of 2011, there are 10 notified tribal groups in Himachal Pradesh. These are Bhot, Gaddi, Gujjar, Jad/Lamba/Khampa, Kinaura, Lahaula, Pangwala, Swangla, Beda and Domba.

Bhot, also known as Bodh, are ethnic tribal people of Himachal Pradesh. They are mostly concentrated in Lahaul tehsil of Lahaul and Spiti. They mostly follow Buddhism and known for their art and craft.

Gaddis are concentrated in the Brahmaur region of Chamba region. They also found in the higher regions of Ravi river and valleys of Budhil river. A small population can be found in the Kangra District near Dharamshala. They have a rich oral tradition and said to be originated from the castless nomadic shephards of Rajasthan. They are largest tribal group in the state of Himachal Pradesh.

Gujjar, also known as Gurjara or Gujar or Goojar, are concentrated all over North India. In Himachal, they are concentrated in the north-western region sharing border with Jammu and Kashmir. They follow both Hinduism and Islam. Among Hindu Gujjars, there are sub-tribes such as Khatana, Gursi, Bhumpal, Parswal, Malheria, Kantya, Chaichi, Bargat, Chhore and so on.

Jads are mainly Buddhist. They are also known as Lamba and Khampa and concentrated in the region between Pangi and Chamba. Their source of income is agriculture and wool trade.

Kinaura, also known as Kanaura, are inhabitants of Kinnaur district. They have found mention in ancient Hindu, Jain and Buddhist texts. They are further divided into two sub-groups: 1. Khasia and 2. Beru.

Lahaula is a tribal community concentrated in Lahaul valley region in Lahaul and Spiti district. They are of mixed Indian and mongloid origin. They are mostly Buddhist and their language resembles of Tibetan.

Pangwala are based in Pangi Valley of Chamba district. They are mostly marginal workers engaged in odd agricultural jobs.


Swangla are based in Pattan Valley tract along Chandra Bhaga river in Lahaul and Spiti district. The languages spoken by them are Manchhad (a mixture of Tibetan and Hindi), Chinnali (mostly spoken by the Sipi and the Lohar), Bhoti (mostly spoken by Bodhs) and Tinan (spoken by people of Sisu area). They resemble Munda tribe of Central India.

Beda are mostly concentrated in the adjoining regions of Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh. Most of them follow Buddhism, but a handful of them also follow Islam. They are traditionally artist by profession, known for their mastery on flute and drum.

Like Beda, Domba or Garra people are mostly concentrated in the adjoining regions of Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh. They are traditionally blacksmith by occupation. Their main language is Lohar and Lahaul. They mostly follow Buddhism.

Himachal Pradesh Tribal Population Statistics/Source: Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India
Gaddi is the largest tribal community with the total population of 178130. They almost make 45 per cent of all the tribal population of Himachal Pradesh. Kinaura have the best sex ratio standing at 1062 females per 1000 males. However, Gujjars have worst sex ratio among the major tribes standing at 945 females per 1000 males. The overall tribal sex ratio stands at 999 females per 1000 males which is way higher than national average. However, the child sex ratio only stands at 930 which is worrisome. Their literacy rate stands at 73.6 with male literacy at 83.2 and female literacy rate at 64.2.