Myanmar is a fascinating country – a trip there never fails to uncover myriad delights. In addition to Myanmar’s resplendent temples, unspoiled beaches and stunning mountain terrain, the country also boasts a rich diversity of cultures. Many travelers are surprised to learn that amongst the various diaspora communities within Myanmar are a more than half a million Nepalese Gurkha.
Most of Myanmar’s Gurkha population migrated during British rule, establishing communities in Yangon, Mandalay, the picturesque Pyin U Lwin hill station and the Shan Hills. The tourist town of Kalaw – a popular launch point for treks around Inle Lake – is another place brimming with Gurkha culture, offering a fantastic opportunity for travelers to delve into the heritage of this captivating people.
One of the most accessible aspects of Gurkha culture is its cuisine. Nepalese curries are famous in the region, and Burmese Gurkha kitchens create some of the most fiery and delicious curries in Asia – curries that are exported worldwide.
The Gurkha originally hailed from the Gorkha principality in the Himalayas. They produced excellent warriors that defeated numerous hill stations in the region, creating an empire larger than the Nepal of today. Highly respected from a military standpoint, Gurkha warriors were recruited into the British Indian Army and fought in both World Wars under the name of the the “5 Gorkha Rifles,” famous for their fierce courage and self-discipline.