Kheng people

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Total population
Regions with significant populations
Central Bhutan (Zhemgang, Trongsa, Mongar)
Kheng, Dzongkha
Buddhism, Bon
Related ethnic groups
Bumthang, Ngalop, Sharchops

The Kheng people are an ethnic group of Bhutan, found primarily in the Zhemgang, Trongsa and Mongar Districts of south-central Bhutan. They speak the Kheng language, a member of the extended Tibetan language family; it is mutually intelligible with the Bumthang language and Kurtöp language to the north. S. R. Chakravarty asserts that Kheng are one of the earliest inhabitants that language spread upwards from Kheng into Bumthang and Kurtöp. By all accounts the Kheng are more closely related to the people of central Bhutan than they are to their neighbors in eastern Bhutan, who are primarily Sharchops. The Kheng still retain special trade relations with the Bumthang, including providing winter pasture rights for Bumthang yaks. SIL International estimates there are 50,000 Kheng speakers.

Kheng also refers to the ancient small kingdoms in this area which were autonomous fiefs prior to the unification of Bhutan in the 17th century.

Like most of Bhutan, the Kheng are devoted followers of Tibetan Buddhism and their cultural practices typically mirror those of the dominant Ngalop people culture of the country. The term "Ngalop" may subsume several related linguistic and cultural groups, such as the Kheng people and speakers of Bumthang language.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lewis, M. Paul, ed. (2009). "Khengkha". Ethnologue online (16 ed.). Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Retrieved 2011-04-12.

External links[edit]