“Tamu” most widely known as Gurung is an ethnic group from the central region of Nepal. Tamu means Gurung in Gurung Language, also known as “TamuKway”.
The main place of settlement of Gurung are in the lap of the Annapurna and Machhapuchhre mountains in West Nepal’s Gandaki zone specifically Kaski, Lamjung, Tanahu, Gorkha, Parbat districts. Small numbers also lives in Baglung, Taplejung, Sunsari distraicts as well as Sikkim and also Bhutan. There are roughtly 450,000 Gurungs in Nepal totaling about 2.43 of the population.
Some anthropologists deduced that the Gurung people are descended from the historical pre Mongal people known as “Hun” of Central Asia. They became to be known as Gurung once they settled in Nepal. Gurungs were followers of ancient Bon religion which is Shamanistic and animistic in nature. Tibetan Buddhism was later introduced. Today, majority of the Gurungs are followers of the adapted Tibetan Buddhism with strong Bon shamanism influence.
The traditional occupation of the Gurung people is agriculture but some breed animals like sheep and also trans-Himalayan trade. Gurung are famous for their innocence, simple mindedness and bravery while serving in military forces. After the late 19th and early 20th century, many Gurung were recruited to serve in the British and Indian Gurkha regiments. Gurungs are the one of the major group from Nepal representing Gurkhas, the feared soldiers. Today they also server for Gurkha Reserve Unit(Brunei) and the Singapore Police Force. Employment in foreign Military service has become the basis of the economic system of Gurungs.
All together Gurung people have earned 6 Victoria Cross awards for their bravery while service in the British Army.
Rodhi is noted as the Gurung tradition where teenagers socialize, perform communal tasks and even find marriage partners. In Gurung language Rodhi means a place to settle for the night.
Gurungs have their own mother tongue called “Tamukway”. Most of the Gurungs still converse in that language. Although Gurung don’t have written records, they passed on their language and culture through oral tradition