Purgi language

Purik, Purig, Burig, Purki
Native to Kargil, Jammu and Kashmir
Region Kargil, Baltistan, Western Himalayas
Native speakers
38,000 (2001 census)[1]
Urdu script
Language codes
ISO 639-3 prx
Glottolog puri1258[2]

The Purgi language[3][4] (alternative spellings: Purki, Purig, Purik and Burig) is spoken by the Purikpa, a group of Tibetan Muslims, with a slight mixture with Dardic. The Purikpa live south of the Balti in Ladakh.

Most of them live in Ladakh and Baltistan, especially in Kargil although significant numbers reside in Leh. Many Puriks are also present in China.[5]

Because they inhabit the higher reaches of the arid Himalayas, they depend on glacial runoff for irrigation of their crops. Barley, wheat and millet are grown where water is sufficient, especially along small rivers. The hot summer temperatures also allow for a wide variety of fruits to be raised.

Unlike the Dards and the Shina, the Purikpa are not nomads. They transfer their livestock from one grazing ground to another upon the arrival of autumn. During the summer months, they drive the cattle to alpine pastures. All households own at least one female dzo, which is a cross between a cow and a yak. That animal produces milk.

Most of them are Shia Muslims by religion although significant Sunni Muslims and a small minority of Buddhists and Bön followers reside in isolated areas. Like the Balti, they speak an archaic Tibetan dialect closely related to Balti and Ladakhi, but they are not easily intelligible with each other.[6]


  1. Purgi at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Purik". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. J&K Tribal Writers Conference—2016, Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, 2016.
  4. Dorjey for preservation of languages spoken in Ladakh, Daily Excelsior, 30 October 2015.
  5. http://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/17903/CH
    • N. Tournadre (2005) "L'aire linguistique tibétaine et ses divers dialectes." Lalies, 2005, n°25, p. 7–56
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