The Pahari languages are a geographic group of Indo-Aryan languages spoken in the lower ranges of the Himalayas, from Nepal in the east, through the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, to the Pakistani controlled territory of Kashmir and in Murree, Pakistan. They are usually written in the Devanagari script
The Pahari languages fall into three genealogical groups. Eastern and Central Pahari have been placed together as the Northern zone of Indo-Aryan, with Western Pahari in the Northwestern zone along with Punjabi and related languages.
Jumli is spoken by an estimated 40,000 people in the Karnali zone of Nepal. Nepali is spoken by an estimated 11,100,000 people in Nepal, 265,000 people in Bhutan, and 2,500,000 people in the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal. It is an official language in Nepal and India. Palpa is spoken by an estimated 7,500 people in the Lumbini zone of Nepal.
Kumaoni is spoken by an estimated 2,360,000 people in Uttarakhand.
These languages are closer to Rajasthani than they are to Hindi.
There are a dozen Western Pahari languages, of which Dogri is the best known. Though traditionally considered Pahari, and often Hindi or Punjabi, the Western Pahari languages are more closely related to each other than to other Indo-Aryan languages. 17 to 20% of Jammu and Kashmir speak Pahari languages.
The origin of the Pahari language and its spread can be traced back to the time when Jammu and Kashmir was a Hindu state. As Buddhism was born and started to spread in the region, its main preaching center became Jammu and Kashmir. There, the Buddhist Priests searched for a language other than Sanskrit which was dominating and considered as mainly the language of Hindus. So Buddhists achieved success in forum of Pahari which in fact was as one language and of one state at that time. This was the golden age of Pahari as one language (which can be dated to 400 BC). Buddhists adapted Pahari as a language of their preaching and various scripts were introduced to write the language. With the rise of Buddhism in Jammu and Kashmir and corresponding areas, Pahari was developed and preached. When King Asoka took control of Kashmir, he is also said to have contributed to the development of the language, and to have introduced another script for writing it.
That was the climax of Pahari language. However, with the fall of Buddhism and again rise of Hinduism in Kashmir, this proved to be fall of Pahari language, as there was no one to promote and serve. Pahari language was left on the mercy of local people and its script for writing disappeared very soon. It was adapted from parents to children and so on. It was vulnerable to all other languages; that is why with the arrival of Muslims, Sikhs, etc. the region contributed to change in its words, and Pahari turned more resembling to such languages.
Pattani, also known as Manchati, Manchad, Patni, Chamba, Chamba Lahuli, Lahuli, Swangla, Changsapa Boli is a Tibeto-Burman language (Sino-Tibetan stock) spoken in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The language is spoken in the Lahul Valley, Pattan, Chamba-Lahul, and lower Mayar valleys.
The Sunam dialect of Kinnauri, sometimes considered a separate language, and also known as Sungam, Sungnam, Thebor, Thebör Skadd, Thebarshad, Central Kinnauri, or Sangnaur, is spoken in the Kinnaur district (particularly in the Sunam village) of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
Kangri is a dialect spoken in northern India, predominantly in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, by the people of the Kangra Valley. It is anIndo-Aryan dialect, related to Dogri and classified as one of the Western Pahari group of languages, with deep vocabulary impact fromPunjabi, which is spoken to the west in the state of Punjab. Kangri, along with Dogri, has been classified as a dialect of Punjabi by linguists but since the 1960s, both have been recognised as dialects of a separate language group called Pahari.
Kinnauri, also known as Kanauri, Kanor, Koonawur, or Kunawar is a Tibeto-Burman dialect cluster centered on the Kinnaur district of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, with Kaike dialect spoken in Nepal.
Mandeali is a Western Pahari language spoken in northern India, predominantly in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh by the people of the Mandi Valley and particularly in the major city of Mandi. Other spellings for the name are Mandiyali and Mandiali. The Bilaspuri, Chambeali, Churahi, and Gaddi varieties are often considered separate languages, but they are 90–95% intelligible with Mandeali proper.