In the past their life style was mostly nomadic like any other neighboring tribes before the advent of the age of agriculture. They preferred dwelling on the Himalayas and rugged hills, river valleys, caves and jungles for easy hunting and food gathering. Till today traces of hunting practices can be found amongst them in isolated areas. Some of them have adopted their title as Sikari ‘Huntsman’ Sunuwar also.
SUNWARs have their own ethnic identity like distinct language, religion, cultural aspects and social customs who inhabiting the eastern hilly region of Nepal at the foot of the Everest massif since centuries before the unification of Nepal in its actual boundaries. They are autochthonous alongside the Ngãku (Sunkoshi) river, Subuku (Tamakoshi) river, Liku (Likhu) Khola, Khimku (Khimti) Khola, Yolung Khola, Molung Khola, and Solung Khola (‘Khola’ Indo-Aryan Nepali etymon ‘rivulet’). Its source – in the Rolwaling Himalayan range – flows to the south.
By administrative division, they dwell in Okhaldhunga, Ramechhap and Dolakha districts of Nepal, politically known as Wallo Kirat was their Kipat, or 'communal land' in the past. Ever since the Kipat lands were abolished with the promulgation of Land Reform Act of 1964. The state then imposed the hierarchical Hindu caste policy of assimilations, among others, Koĩts Sunuwar were also compelled to some of their Kipat lands for the use of Hindu priest. Since, then migration (mainly to the east) took place in several parts of the country in Kathmandu, Sindhuli, Jhapa, Ilam, Panchthar, Taplejung, Terathum, Sunsari, Khotang, Bhojpur and other districts of Nepal and abroad in Darjeeling, Sikkim, Dehradun, Bhutan, South Korea, Japan, UK USA, Canada.
Ongde (Ora Ongde and Purbeli Ongde), katich, Kormoch, Quiticha, Kyaba (Bagale Kyaba, Rarale Kyaba, Tumali Kyaba), Kalang (Kaunifuche and Khaarpangcho), Karshing, Kalikate, Gauracha, Gaudeli, Ngawacha, Chebali, Chhyongpaticha (Khyaungpaticha), Jizicha, Jespucha, Jeticha (Saduwa Jetich and Barawaa Jeticha), Jancha, Jimlung, Tongkucha, Tursucha, Turkucha, Mulicha, sokuch, Rapacha, Rupacha, Rawacha, Laspacha, Yata (Garsi Yata, Bamna Yata, Khokle Yata, Gramsi Yata, Suri Yata), Durbicha , Debbach, Fatich, Susucha, Sochul, Nomlich, Linucha, Dirgach, Bigyach, Thangracha, Dasucha, Bramlich, Lokunch, Bralach, Binich, Yaluncha, Thungucha, Thalocha, Noplicha, Pargach, Ruzich, Lukhicha, Lilucha, Lor(ung), Lopa, Laaram, Susich, Songnaa(Dalmukhi, Bagale, Bhalochan, Bhasakaar), Hetam (Bowola), etc. are some clans of Koĩts and they speak their own mother language is called ‘Koĩts Lo’ which is classified in the Sino-Tibeto-Burman family of languages in linguistic atlas of the world. Of their total population of 55,712, as many as 37, 898 Koĩts speak their mother language, according to Government of Nepal, Central Bureau of Statistics 2011. In India, especially at Sikkim State government has listed Koĩts-Sunuwar language as one of the official language.
|First Kirat King Yalamabar|
|Poiba - Male shaman|
Daura-Suruwal, Bhoto, Jalirumal, Jhammari and Topi are the traditional Sunuwar costume for men and Gunyou-Cholo, Bhoto, JaliRumal, kammari,Patuka, Charani-aathaani, Dhungri, Phuli, Tilahari, Chepte, Suduk, Bulaki, Dragon Head Bracelet, Bunga Bala, Jun (Moon), Jantar (Amulet) are the traditional Sunuwar costume for female.
In the time of Shah Dynasty, because of excellent skills in administrative works, armed service and other territorial works Sunuwar people have been granted the title of ‘Mukhiya’. Still some Sunuwar peoples add the title ‘Mukhiya’ at the end of their name. It is also believe that the group ‘Jirel’ and ‘Surel’ are also the sub-group of Sunuwar, but now Jirels are recognized as an independent indigenous. On other hand, some Surels believe themselves as Sunuwar and still some of them put their last name as Sunuwar.