Category Archives: Nepal

Mahakulung Rural municipality religious sites, Nepal

Mahakulung Rural municipality, Solu-Khumbu district, Nepal, 2018, credits: Dr Grégoire Schlemmer

SITE – Basic information

Country: Nepal
Location: Mahakulung Rural municipality, Solu-Khumbu district
Type of religious site: Christian churches, Buddhist monasteries, Hindu temples, Earth altars, places of pilgrimage
Religious community(ies) attending: Kulung Rai, Sherpa, Kami, Chetri, Tamang
No of communities attending: Nepali, Kulung

SITE – Overview of the site

Instead of a single site, an entire area will be taken into consideration i.e. the upper Hongu valley, which is the original settlement of the Kulung Rai. This area includes around 10 000 Kulung, split into seven Kulung villages, including small populations of Sherpa (6%), Kami (3%), Chetri (2%). Sherpa are Buddhist, high caste Chetri and low caste Kami are Hindus. Kulung follow their own religious tradition, Ridum, but they also designate themselves as Hindus, they follow some Buddhist practices, and some of them are Christians. Therefore, the area includes Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries, Christian churches and several local gods altars, both inside houses, in villages (the most important being the Land altar) and outside (Goddess forests, lake inhabited by gods, etc.).

All these religious places will be taken into consideration, in order to see which places are shared (theoretically and practically), by whom, on which basis, and with which objectives. Through this global approach, the aim is to understand the Kulung religious plurality and therefore, what religion is for the Kulung and how religion is linked with belonging.

SITE – Conflicts revolving around the site

Conflicts mainly consists in denigrating other religious specialists.

SITE – Bibliography pertaining to the site


Schlemmer, Grégoire, 2012. « Fils du territoire, alliés de la forêt. Expressions rituelles du rapport au territoire chez les Kulung Rai du Népal oriental », Moussons, N°19, 33-50.

Schlemmer, Grégoire, 2017 « Voyageurs immobiles. Ce que les voyages rituels révèlent de la géographie idéelle des Kulung Rai du Népal », Territoires du religieux dans els mondes indiens. Parcourir, mettre en scène, franchir. Delage, Rémy, Claveyrolas, Mathieu, Purusartha 34.

Schlemmer, Grégoire, Forthcoming. « Enshrining space. Shrines, public space and Hinduization among the Kulung of Nepal », Samaj.

Nicoletti, Martino, 2006, The Ancestral Forest: Memory, Space and Ritual among the Kulunge Rai of Eastern Nepal. Kathmandu: Vajra Publications.

 Fieldwork conducted by Dr Grégoire Schlemmer