Sherpa’s – Tourism, Cultural Change, and Trekking in Nepal’s Mount Everest Region
For more than 40 years or so the Mount Everest region has remained symbolic to Himalayan trekking and mountaineering tourism. Tourism has brought new opportunities for the Sherpa’s who inhabit the area. The Sherpa’s have become affluent through work in the tourist trade and the operation of tourist lodges and other businesses.
This economic development has been accompanied by increasing economic differentiation and by a number of changes in local lifestyles. At times there animated cross-cultural conflicts between tourists and Sherpa’s. Yet, there has also been considerable cultural continuity. Sherpa’s are deliberately maintaining many fundamental values, beliefs subsistence practices, and aspects of their lifestyle. Economic differentiation and out-migration, however, pose potential long-term social challenges.
The Sherpa’s and the Mount Everest are the inseparable soul of the Everest region. The image of the Sherpa’s in the minds of the westerners is of a devoted, individual built for climbing gigantic summit. Honesty, hard work and responsibility are the virtues of this community that dwell in the mountains. The cultural dimension of the Sherpa community is just as fascinating as the action-packed Mount Everest trekking journeys.
The Sherpa’s, are avid followers of Buddhism are religious people and have a well-knit community. The monastery stands as the pillar of harmony and the heart of their culture. It is the sacred string that garlands each Sherpa family into a community. Besides their religious significance and age old rituals that they ardently follow, they are also known for their warm hospitality. The Sherpa’s know the value and importance of visitors and are embraced gleefully into their domain.
We also got to understand that every Sherpa is not a born mountain guide, and they can’t be generalized under that. It’s true that it was the Sherpa who first climbed Mt Everest. They attained the feat of conquering the Mount Everest trekking region ample of times. However the irony is every Sherpa is not a mountaineer and definitely not a guide or a porter.
The cultural change has taken over with the passage of time. The Sherpa’s of today are engaged in different professions, business and other occupations. Whatever changes occur they are and will always be an integral part of the Everest region. The pathfinders and masters of the Mount Everest region’s trekking `world