The Himalayas are home to several tribes, each with their distinct socio-cultural heritage and customs. Their populations are mainly adapted to the challenging topography and climate of the region, where remoteness and poor connectivity has often kept them away from external influences. In recent years, better communication facilities and road infrastructure have improved the local lifestyle, though often at the cost of cultural erosion. With a population of approximately 44 million people, the people living in the Himalayan belt exhibit a rich tapestry of distinct tribes. The people can be divided on the basis of their location, with Tibetan Buddhists inhabiting the Greater Himalayas (from Ladakh to the northeast), Hindus in the middle Himalayas (especially in Nepal) and Muslims in western Kashmir (owing to their proximity to Afghanistan). At many places, a mixture of Buddhism and Hinduism is seen, a reflection of the intermingling of the peoples of this region over the years.
The people of this region are mainly pastoralists or agriculturalists with yaks, sheep, goats and cows forming the livestock and wheat, rice potatoes and local grains being the chief crops cultivated. Nowadays, the people are engaged in horticulture (apples, kiwi, apricots, walnut etc.) and trade has increased because of a better road network. Details of a few important tribes are given below: