Halfway To The Mountain
The Jirel people inhabit the Jiri Valley, in the Dolakha District of eastern Nepal. Jirel culture features many elements that set it apart from the cultures of other Nepali ethnic groups. The Jirels practice a form of Buddhism that varies significantly from the Buddhist practices of their Sherpa neighbors. They also venerate Hindu gods and celebrate all the Hindu rituals with great enthusiasm. Additionally, each Jirel clan has its own god or goddess, neither Buddhist nor Hindu; and these clans also engage in ancestor spirit worship. The Jirels practice their own form of shamanism, centered on practitioners known as Phombos. These healers and spirit masters, who in some ways resemble the Nepali Jhankris, utilize unique rituals in their curing ceremonies. Jirel funeral rites also possess elements that are unique to them. Also, each clan has various food taboos, some of which are neither Buddhist nor Hindu in derivation.