The Info List - Kiratas

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The KIRāTA ( Sanskrit
: किरात) is a generic term in Sanskrit
literature for people who lived in the mountains, particularly in the Himalayas and North-East India and who are believed to have been Mongoloid in origin.


* 1 Historical mention and mythology * 2 Modern scholarship * 3 Religious beliefs * 4 See also * 5 Notes * 6 References


They are mentioned along with Cinas (Chinese), and were different from the Nishadas . They are first mentioned in the Yajurveda
(Shukla XXX.16; Krisha III.4,12,1), and in the Atharvaveda
(X.4,14) . In Manu's Dharmashastra
(X.44) they are mentioned as degraded Kshatriyas, but outside the ambit of Brahminical influence. It is speculated that the term is a Sanskritization of a Tibeto-Burman tribal name, like that of Kirant or Kiranti of eastern Nepal

In the Periplus, the Kirata are called Kirradai, who are the same people as the Pliny's Scyrites and Aelian's Skiratai; though Ptolemy does not name them, he does mention their land which is called Kirradia. They are characterized as barbaric in their ways, Mongoloid in appearance speaking a Tibeto-Burmese language.

The Sesatai (known to Ptolemy
and Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
as Saesadai or Sosaeadae), who traded the aromatic plant malabathrum , were described – in terms similar to descriptions of the Kirradai – as short and flat-faced, but also shaggy and white.

Mythology gives an indication of their geographical position. In the Mahabharata
, Bhima
meets the Kiratas to the east of Videha , where his son Ghatotkacha is born; and in general the dwellers of the Himalayas, especially the eastern Himalayas, were called Kiratas. In general they are mentioned as "gold-like", or yellow, unlike the Nishadas or the Dasas , who were dark.

In Yoga Vasistha 1.15.5 Rama
speaks of kirAteneva vAgurA, "a trap by Kiratas", so about 10th century BCE, they were thought of as jungle trappers, the ones who dug pits to capture roving deer. The same text also speaks of King Suraghu, the head of the Kiratas who is a friend of the Persian King, Parigha.


Sylvain Lévi (1985) concluded that Kirata was a general term used by the Hindus of the plains to designate the Tibeto-Burman speaking groups of the Himalayas and Northeast.


The Kirat people practice shamanism but they call it "Kirat religion". The Kiratis follow Kirat Mundhum . Their holy text is the Mundhum. Kiratis worship nature and their ancestors. Animism and shamanism and belief in their primeval ancestors, Yuma Sammang (Sumnima/Paruhang), are their cultural and religious practices. The names of some of their festivals are Chasok Tangnam , Sakela
, Sakle, Tashi, Sakewa, Saleladi Bhunmidev, Yokwa and Folsyandar. They have two main festivals: Chasok Tangnam and Sakela/Sakewa Ubhauli during plantation season and Sakela/Sakewa Udhauli during the time of harvest.

Mundhum (also known as Peylan) is the religious scripture and folk literature of the Kirat people of Nepal
, central to Kirat Mundhum. Mundhum means "the power of great strength" in the Kirati language . The Mundhum covers many aspects of the Kirat culture, customs and traditions that existed before Vedic civilisation in Nepal


* Kirata Kingdom : Early beginning of Kirat rule in Nepal centralised in Kathmandu valley and also believed to be first kingdom of Nepal. * Kirat people , the residents of Kirat Kingdom.


* ^ Radhakumud Mukharji (2009), Hindu Shabhyata, Rajkamal Prakashan Pvt Ltd, ISBN 978-81-267-0503-0 , ... किरात (मंगोल) : द्रविड़ भाषाओं से भिन्न यह भाषाओं में किरात या ... * ^ Shiva Prasad Dabral, Uttarākhaṇḍ kā itihās, Volume 2, Vīr-Gāthā-Prakāshan, ... प्राचीन साहित्य में किरात-संस्कृति, किरात-भूमि ... * ^ (Chatterji 1974 :26) * ^ A B (Chatterji 1974 :28) * ^ "...among whom are the Kirradai, a race of wild men with flattened noses" (Casson 1989 , p. 89) * ^ "They are characterized as barbaric in their ways and Mongoloid in appearance (Shafer 124). From the widespread area in which the literary sources place the Kiratas Heine-Geldern (167) concludes that the name was a general designation for all the Mongoloid peoples of the north and east. Shafer (124), on the basis of the nomenclature of their kings, concludes that they spoke a Tibeto-Burmic language and were the predecessors of the Kirantis, now living in the easternmost province of Nepal.(Casson 1989 , p. 234) * ^ " Ptolemy
calls them Saesadai and describes them more fully; they are not only short and flat-faced, as in the Periplus, but shaggy and white-skinned. ... The characteristics themselves indicate that the Sesatai were similar to the Kirradai, and their access to the border with China indicates that they lived, as Coedes suggests "between Assam and China". (Casson 1989 , pp. 242–243) * ^ (Chatterji 1974 :30) * ^ (Chatterji 1974 :31) * ^ Concept of tribal society 2002 P