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Culture and People



The culture of Nepal the rich cultural heritage of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, has evolved over centuries. This multidimensional cultural heritage encompasses within itself cultural diversities of various ethnic, tribal, and social groups, located at different altitudes, and is also manifested in various other forms, including music and dance; art and craft; folklores and folktales; languages and literature; philosophy and religion; festivals and celebrations; and foods and drinks.

Nepal, a landlocked country of South Asia situated in the Himalaya, shares its borders with the People is Republic of China, (Tibet Autonomous Region) and India, and the population of Nepal mainly consist of Tibeto-Burmans, from the north, and Indo-Aryans from the south. This ethnic diversity, and proximity to neighbouring giant cultures have also influenced the culture of Nepal, and Nepal has inheritated several customs and cultural practices from the north (China and Tibet) as well as from the south (India), and over a period of time attuned the same to its own indigenous requirements based on its topography, available resources and climate.

The legend states dances in the Indian subcontinent originated in the abode of Lord Shiva - the Himalayas, and the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal where he performed the tandava dance, and this indicates that dance traditions of Nepal are of very ancient origin. With altitudes and the ethnicity, dances of Nepal slightly change, in style as well as in the costume. Accompanying music and musical instruments also change in tune with the themes, which revolve round topics like crop harvestings, marriage rites, war stories, a lonely girl’s yearning for her love, and several other themes and stories from everyday life in the villages.


The population of Nepal was recorded to be about 25 million as of July 2002. Eighty-six percent of Nepalis follow Hinduism, while eight percent follow Buddhism and three percent follow Islam. The population comprises various groups of different races which are further divided into different castes. The distinction in caste and ethnicity is understood more easily with a view of customary layout of the population.

Some of the main groups are such: Gurungs and Magars who live mainly in the western region; Rais, Limbus and Sunwars who live in the eastern mid hills; Sherpas, Manangpas and Lopas who live near the mountains of Everest, Annapurna and Mustang respectively; Newars who live in and around the capital valley of Kathmandu; Tharus, Yadavas, Satar, Rajvanshis and Dhimals who live in the Terai region; and Brahmins, Chhetris and Thakuris generally spread over all parts of the country.

Nepali is the official language of the state, spoken and understood by 100 percent of the population. Multiple ethnic groups speak more than a dozen other languages in about 93 different dialects. English is spoken by many in government and business offices. It is the mode of education in most private schools of Kathmandu and some other cities.


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