Highland-lowland interaction in mountain regions: a study of changing patterns among Bhotiya tribes of Garhwal Himalaya

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Issue: Volume 17, Issue 1, 2023


The highland-lowland interaction among the Bhotiya tribes is a centuries-old tradition. Bhotiyas generally have two dwellings, one in the highland and one in the lowland. During winter, when the highland areas are covered with vast amounts of snow, the tribes migrate to their valley dwellings. Similarly, they migrate to the highland villages during the summer to cultivate the land and graze their animals. The trend of highland-lowland interaction has been changing, mainly declining over time. This study examines these changes. A case study of eight villages of the Niti Valley was conducted, and a total of 292 Bhotiya households were surveyed. The authors have noticed that the practice of highland-lowland interaction decreased by 55% during the last two decades. The main drivers of change were increased education, cultural differences, reservation policies for Bhotiyas, increasing disasters in the highlands, lagging infrastructural facilities, and changes in climatic conditions. The study suggests that agriculture, livestock development, and improved infrastructure – transportation, education, markets, and employment – can revive the highland-lowland interaction. The role of the state government and the community is noteworthy to conserve the traditional practices of Bhotiyas.

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Authors Affiliations

Saurav Kumar (1), Vishwambhar Prasad Sati*(2)

(1) Royal Global University, Guwahati, India
(2) Mizoram University, Aizawl, India

* Corresponding author
Email: vishwambhar.sati@yahoo.com


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Title: Human Geographies - Journal of Studies and Research in Human Geography
ISSN online: 2067-2284
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Prof. dr. Liliana Dumitrache
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

Dr. Daniela Dumbrăveanu
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

Dr. Mariana Nae
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

Dr. Gabriel Simion
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography- Human and Economic Geography Department, 1 Nicolae Balcescu Av., 010041, Bucharest, Romania

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