Although only the Sunwar, who inhabit the region westward of River Sun Koshi, the Khambu (also known as Rai), the Limbu (also known as Subba), Sunwar(also known as Mukhiya) and the Yakkha (also known as Dewan) are generally called Kirati, the vast majority of ethnic people of the region eastward of Nepal also call themselves Kirati. Their languages belong to the Sino-Tibetan family of languages.

The original inhabitants of the Dooars region of India, the Koch Rajbongshi and Mech, also claim to be Kiratis as do the Bodo-Kachari people tribes of Assam. They derive their titles from the original place of their dwelling, “Koch” from the Koshi river, “Mech” from the Mechi River and “Kachari” is derived from Kachar, which means “river basin”.[citation needed] The basis of these claims relies on the fact that they are Mongoloids.