Photo Essay: Sherpas and the City

In recent years, an increasing number of Sherpas, who are renowned for their extraordinary mountaineering skills, have left the Himalayas to settle in Queens, the world’s most diverse community, according to The Guinness Book of World Records. Predominantly Buddhists, the roughly 2,500 Sherpas in New York City possess a unique culture, one they strive to maintaindespite the monumental change in scenery.

The United Sherpa Association in Elmhurst, Queens, founded in 1996 in a former Christian church, preserves Sherpa language, religion, culture and arts.

The United Sherpa Association in Elmhurst, Queens, founded in 1996 in a former Christian church, preserves Sherpa language, religion, culture and arts. Leandro Viana for Observer.

Ang Pasang, a monk, prepares to make his prayers.

Ang Pasang, a monk, prepares to make his prayers. Leandro Viana for Observer.

Every Sunday dozens of Sherpas gather at United Sherpa Association for the practice of Buddhism.

Every Sunday dozens of Sherpas gather at United Sherpa Association to worship. Leandro Viana for Observer.

Language

Learning English is essential for Sherpas living in New York. Leandro Viana for Observer.

Many donations were sent to Nepal after the earthquake struck the country in April 2015. The United Sherpa Association served as a collection point for food and clothing after the tragedy.

Many donations were sent to Nepal after the earthquake struck the country in April 2015. The United Sherpa Association served as a collection point for food and clothing after the tragedy. Leandro Viana for Observer.

After a prayer ceremony, congregants march in a “Peace Parade” around Jackson Heights, Queens.

After a prayer ceremony, congregants march in a “Peace Parade” around Jackson Heights, Queens. Leandro Viana for Observer.

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