India | Arunachal Pradesh

Monpa Tribe




Monpa is a primitive tribe inhabiting parts of West Kameng District and Tawang District in Arunachal Pradesh. The tribe members are quiet artistic by nature. Wood carving works, carpets and bamboo utensils made by the tribe are famous.

The tribe members manage their livelihood from agriculture, trading and breeding of yaks and other cattle. For additional income, they engage in Thanka (also spelt as Thangka or Tangka) paintings and hand-made papermaking.

Monpa belongs to the Mongoloid stock. They have their own secretive customs and regulations. Though they are monogamy, they follow polygamous and polyandrous marriages. Cross-cousin marriage is allowed among the members.

The tribes live in houses, which are double-storied and constructed of stone with plank floors, often with carved doors and window frames. Virtually the members are Buddhists. The Tawang Monastery is the fountainhead of their spiritual life.

The men-folk wear an 'Endi' shirt of Tibetan style and a short woolen trouser called 'Kangnom' or a full-length woolen trouser called 'Dhorna'. The ladies usually appear in a red colored gown, girdled at the waist by a band, with white stripes covering the body right from the shoulders to the knee level called 'Shingka'.



Updated on 11th November, 2014

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