Nepal & Culture

Culture Name : Nepalese

Alternative Name: Nepali

Identification  Nepal is named for the Kathmandu Valley, where the nation's founder established a capital in the late eighteenth century. Nepali culture represents a fusion of Indo-Aryan and Tibeto-Mongolian influences, the result of a long history of migration, conquest, and trade.

Location and Geography. Nepal is a roughly rectangular country with an area of 147,181 square miles (381,200 square kilometres). To the south, west, and east it is bordered by Indian states; to the north lies Tibet. Nepal is home to the Himalayan Mountains, including Mount Everest. From the summit of Everest, the topography plunges to just above sea level at the Gangetic Plain on the southern border. This drop divides the country into three horizontal zones: the high mountains, the lush central hills, and the flat, arid Terai region in the south. Fast-moving, snow-fed rivers cut through the hills and mountains from north to south, carving deep valleys and steep ridges. The rugged topography has created numerous ecological niches to which different ethnic groups have adapted. Although trade has brought distinct ethnic groups into contact, the geography has created diversity in language and subsistence practices. The result is a country with over thirty-six ethnic groups and over fifty languages.

Demography. The population in 1997 was just over 22.6 million. Although infant mortality rates are extremely high, fertility rates are higher. High birth rates in rural areas have led to land shortages, forcing immigration to the Terai, where farmland is more plentiful, and to urban areas, where jobs are available. Migration into cities has led to over-crowding and pollution. The Kathmandu Valley has a population of approximately 700,000.

Linguistic Affiliation. After conquering much of the territory that constitutes modern Nepal, King Prithvi Narayan Shah (1743–1775) established Gorkhali (Nepali) as the national language. Nepali is an Indo-European language derived from Sanskrit with which it shares and most residents speak at least some Nepali, which is the medium of government, education, and most radio and television broadcasts. For many people, Nepali is secondary to the language of their ethnic group or region. This situation puts certain groups at a disadvantage in terms of education and civil service positions. Since the institution of a multiparty democracy in 1990, linguistic issues have emerged as hotly debated topics.

Symbolism. The culture has many symbols from Hindu and Buddhist sources. Auspicious signs, including the ancient Hindu swastika and Shiva's trident, decorate buses, trucks, and walls. Other significant symbols are the emblems (tree, plow, sun) used to designate political parties.

Prominent among symbols for the nation are the national flower and bird, the rhododendron and danfe; the flag; the plumed crown worn by the kings; and the crossed kukhris (curved knives) of the Gurkhas, mercenary regiments that have fought for the British Army in several wars. Images of the current monarch and the royal family are displayed in many homes and places of business. In nationalistic rhetoric, the metaphor of a garden with many kinds of flowers is used to symbolize national unity amid cultural diversity.

More information about Nepal:
Nepal, the landlocked multiethnic, multilingual, multi-religious country, is situated north of India in the Himalayas, in the region where, about 40 to 50 million years ago, the Indian subcontinent has crashed into Asia. Because of that accident, Nepal has some of the world's highest mountains including Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest), 8848m, which it shares with Tibet (by now a province of China). This mountain, the highest on Earth is towers above populated valleys and forested plains. 
Somewhere here in the Kapilavastu district, there is a place called Lumbini where in about 500 B.C.E. Queen Mayadevi is said to have given birth to Siddhartha Gautama, better known as Buddha.

Nepal can be divided broadly into three ecological zones: the lowland, the midland and the highland.
The altitude of the Himalayan Region (the highland) ranges between 4877 m - 8848 m, It includes 8 of the highest 14 summits in the world, which exceed altitude of 8000 meters including Mount Everest.
The mountain region accounts for about 64 percent of total land area, which is formed by the Mahabharat range that soars up to 4877 m and the lower Churia range. 
The lowland Terai, the flat river plain of the Ganges with a belt of marshy grasslands, savannas, and forests, occupies about 17 percent of the total land area of the country.

Current Population of Nepal: 28.51 Million (2015 Census)

Approximately 80 percent of the people live subsistently and work in agriculture, and then tourism is the next highest income earner.

The Nepalese are renowned as especially warm and friendly people and welcome foreigners into their homes offering genuine smiles and friendship.

Many Nepalese people speak English and it is widely taught through the schools. The Nepalese speak over 30 languages and Nepali is the national language however any foreigner with a little knowledge of Nepali can make themselves understood in any part of Nepal.

Kathmandu is the largest city in Nepal with over 3 million people. Nepal is a predominantly Hindu but has many religions with substantial Buddhist, Muslim and Christianity minorities.