Humla is considered as one of the most remote and isolated regions in Nepal, reachable only by foot or small aircrafts which are irregularly landing in the district head quarter, Simikot. It is situated high in the Himalaya, in Karnali zone, North-western Nepal, bordering the Tibet Autonomous Region. Humla is 5.655sqkm and has a population of about 44770 (2006). Its elevation ranges from 1,524 to 7,337 meters above the sea level. The common means of transportation are mules which bring required products from the Tibetan border to Simikot.
Simikot is the gateway to holy Mt, Kailash and Lake Manosarober trek, which takes about 3-5 days walk until the Tibetan border.
The district headquarter of Humla is Simikot, at an elevation of 2945 meters. It is situated high above the Humla Karnali River and is surrounded by high snow-covered peaks.
The region is one of the most underdeveloped areas in Nepal with only one hospital and higher secondary school in Simikot serving the whole district. Most of the villages of Humla don’t have access to electricity, communication (telephone, mobile service, internet), clean drinking water, qualified and good education, proper health care etc. As stated in the development indicators of districts of Nepal 2003 published jointly by SNV, ICIMOD and CBS/HMGN, Humla ranks 73rd out of 75 districts of Nepal.
A person of Humla is known as Humli. The ethnic composition of Humla is similar to most of the High Himalayan districts. The majority of villages are populated by Hindus, mainly Chettris, Brahmins, Thakuris and occupational castes, particularly in the southern part of the district. However, the northern part of district is populated by a Tibetan ethnic group, which is referred as Lama in the region. The district has the following ethnic composition: Chhetri (44.2 per cent), Thakuri (19.5 per cent), Lama (16.1 per cent), Brahmin (6.2 per cent), and the occupational casts such as Kami (Black Smiths-5.66 per cent) Damai (Tailors-2.36 per cent) and Sarki (Cobblers-1.2 per cent).
The Lama ethnic group practice polyandry marriage system, which is now disintegrating gradually due to various internal and external factors such as modernization, education, social and cultural-mixe with other groups and so on.
The Dalits (locally called Dom) such as Kami, Sarki and Damai are the lowest caste of Hindu society. They are born into their caste, which was originally based on their occupation. Dalits are still persecuted not only in Humla but in the whole Nepali and Indian society, unable to enter temples, use the same water tap or well or associate with most people specially the so-called higher caste people. They endure social exclusion, discrimination, food shortages, lack of education, and violence.
The Language spoken in the district is Humli Khas spoken by 84.38 per cent of the total population, while Lama Kham (closed to the Tibetan Language) is spoken by 15.32 per cent of the population. It is believed that Nepali language is originated from Humli Khas. The religions in Humla are Hinduism (78.2 percent) and buddhism (20.2 percent).
Humla has two distinct faces. Both the faces will take your breath away. On the one hand, Humla is a unique and beautiful place where the nature’s true gifts are still intact. Its icy cold water is rich in minerals, the fresh air is free from carbon monoxide, its mesmerizing landscape full of known and unknown herbs and vegetations, and foods grown in the region are 100% organic. But on the other hand, its isolation has pushed Humla far behind from the rest of the world. Isolation and poverty in this beautiful yet harsh trans Himalayan mountains deprive people of all but the basic of life.