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Where the vision is one year, cultivate flowers.
Where the vision is ten years, cultivate trees.
Where the vision is eternity, cultivate society.
– Oriental saying


Humla is the most remote district in the northwestern part of Nepal, the Karnali zone. Flying in a small plane is the only way to reach Humla. At an elevation of 1524 to 7337 meters, it has extreme geographic features: rugged high mountains, a unique trans-Himalayan plateau, and deep valleys of the Karnali River. In the north Humla borders Tibet, thus Humla’s district headquarters, Simikot, has been known as the “Gateway to Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar” since 1993 when Simikot was opened to tourists. Earlier, this spectacular trekking route to Tibet was only used by local pilgrims and the centuries-old “salt trade” (sheep and yak caravans carrying salt down from Tibet and grain up from the lower parts on Nepal).

The district headquarters is known as the “Gateway to Holy Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovara” since its official opening for tourists in 1993. Earlier this route was only used by local pilgrims and centuries old “Salt trade” (sheep and yak caravans carrying salt from Tibet and grain from Nepal).


Humla lies in an elevation of 1524 m – 7337 m with extreme geographical conditions (It is covered with rugged high mountains, unique Trans-Himalayan plateau and river valleys of Humla Karnali). Rice, millet and maize can be cultivated in the Lower river basins, but higher mountain slopes can only be used for barley, potatoes and buckwheat farming. Animal farming, such as Yaks, Djos and cows is very common in the highlands of Humla. Most of the settlements are on the either sides of the Humla Karnali Rivers. Apart from farming, Humla is rich in flora, fauna and natural resources such as medicinal herbs, rare and endangered wild animals and different kinds of topography.


Thar or Mhon or Khasa (the people of Caucasian stock) and Thapalya or Bhot or Jada (people of Tibeto-Burman stock) live in lower and upper part of Humla respectively. The Thars follow the caste system and Hindu religion and the Thapalya follow Buddhism and do not follow caste system. Besides Thar and Thapalya , Brahmin, Thakuris and Kami, Damai and sunars (so called untouchable) people live in harmony and peace in Humla.


Humla has a mixed cultural structure on the basis of the location and ethnicity. Most of the upper humla has homogenous communities and so culture, food, life style, feasts and festivals and houses are similar. But Lower or southern Humlis have mixed population and so everything is different from each caste to another.

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Humla, most remote district in the Northwestern part of Nepal is far away from the 21st century development and scientific age. It has been suffering from famine, epidemic and poverty since long time. People have food for hardly 3 months and wait for Government subsidized rice for the rest of the year. The education situation of the district is vulnerable and lack of trained human resources. The only transportation facility in the district is plane flights and they are not regular, all the commodities are very expensive, only two hours solar lighting in the evening at the District Head Quarters and no accessible roads.

Humla has great potentials for tourism development, hydro power because of its biodiversity and climatic variety, mixed community structure, culture, language, and unique natural beauty, rare natural flora and fauna; rare and endangered wild animals like musk deer, snow leopards; expensive herbs and medicinal plants such as Cordiceps, morel mushroom etc. Traditional salt and rice barter system and sheep caravan are other attractions of this district. One should not forget that improvement in the agricultural sector is the sustainable development of Humla and base for the uplifting life-standard of Humlis.

Index Ranking of Humla in relation to the other 75 districts of Nepal (1 is best, 75 is worst district)
Human Development Index[1] 67
Gender Empowerment Index1 71
Gender Development Index1 61
Poverty and Deprivation Index2 69
Women’s Empowerment Index2 75
Socio-economic, Infrastructure Development Index2 73
Per Capita Food Production2 73
Percentage share of Girls Enrolled in Primary Level2 73
Overall composite Index of Development2 72