The Kinners or Kinnaure inhabit the border district of Kinnaur. Physically
they are closer to the Aryan races in their tall well-built bodies, their
high foreheads, large eyes and fair complexions. Temperamentally they
are a gentle and soft-spoken people, quite content to live in poverty.
Their main occupation is rearing sheep and goats and raising wool. Some
are engaged in agriculture and horticulture. They live in joint families
and men and women have more than one mate.
Their marriage customs are very interesting. All the
brothers in a family share a wife. They call it the Pandava marriage.
Due to this a lot of girls remain unmarried. But these systems are being
abandoned in the changing socio-economic conditions. Some say they are
the descendants of the Kinners of Mahabharata fame but others believe
them to be remnants of Kirats who were first defeated by the Aryans and
then pushed by the Khasaa to remote areas in the trans-Himalayan region.
Their mongoloid features are evidence of the intermixing of ideas on the
Kinnaur women are beautiful, modest and homely and spend
most of their time in the fields. A Kinnaur girl unable to find suitable
match becomes a Jomo ( a Buddhist nun). Men wear long coats (chubha) and
woolen pyjamas (chamu sutan) and women Dhoru ( a kind of woolen saree).
Their shoes are made of wool and goat hair. They wear Bushahri cape. They
are fond of meat and drink home-distilled wine 'Angoori'.