Tibetan Dropka nomads portrait in Namche Bazaar in the Everest region of Nepal

Tibetan Dropka Nomads Portrait
NEPAL Namche Bazaar — Oct 2007 — Tibetan Dropka traders from Ting Ri in Tibet at a market in Namche Bazaar in the Everest region of Nepal. These traders bring various goods over the Nangpa La pass from Chinese-controlled Tibet to sell to Nepalese Sherpas in Khumbu — Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive

This is one of my favourite portraits from my travels in the Khumbu Himalaya ( Everest region ) of Nepal. These Tibetan Dropka nomads bring cheap Chinese goods to sell to Sherpas over the Nangpa pass and sometimes establish temporary markets to sell their wares. Mostly, they come from the Tibetan village of Ting Ri in Chinese-occupied Tibet. Although a separate ethnic group from the Sherpas, they do share their religion and some customs. Perhaps less so with the Chinese controlling the frontier than when Tibet was an independent country, the Sherpas and the Dropka sometimes marry. The arduous journeys undertaken by these nomads make them the highest traders on Earth and the Dropka of Ting Ri have for around a century been the backbone of many a Himalayan mountaineering expedition, especially the British attempts on Mount Everest from Tibet before it was climbed by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953. Notoriously light-fingered, these nomads are the biggest tinkers I’ve ever encountered and I would often see them during many of the treks I did in the spectacular Khumbu Himalaya of Nepal. The image above is part of a photo essay on the Sherpas I am in the process of re-editing.

You can now find this image and others from this blog plus many more from my stock archive on my new high res stock image database.

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