Nepal- The land of Everest

Cultural Heritage of Nepal - Sheet1
Nepal Village_ © https://www.andbeyond.com/advice/asia/nepal/why-visit-nepal/

Nepal lies along the southern slopes of the world’s tallest mountain ranges, the Himalayas, bordered by India, China, Bangladesh, and Bhutan. It is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual country well known for its stunning geographical features. People all over the world visit Nepal to view the breathtaking and distinct view of the country with forests, mountain ranges, rivers, valleys, and the golden villages surrounding them. Kathmandu, being the capital of the country, also serves as the biggest destination for both the commercial and tourism sectors. 10 properties are listed as world heritage sites (cultural and natural sites of Nepal by UNESCO.

The People

The first settlers were the Kirat, known to be of Burmese-Tibet descent around 4000-4500 years ago. Southern parts of Nepal along Kathmandu valley had seen the first-ever settlement. The Kiratis were the first to rule over Nepal, later overtaken by the Lichhavis- the first royals of Indian descent in the 4th century CE. In 2008 modern Nepal emerged, putting an end to the 240-year-long monarchy. 

Cultural Heritage of Nepal - Sheet2
People of Nepal_ © httpswww.switch-asia.eunewsbuild-up-nepal-promoting-inclusive-jobs-and-safe-housing-for-poor-families-in-rural-nepal

Nepalis are known to be calm and collected. They greet foreigners with a warm welcome and are known for their hospitality. They share their culture and taste in music and arts and have rich faith in religion and traditions. Nepalis are proud of their heritage and history and respect the Gurkhas (Nepali soldiers) as they protect the land. They also distinguish themselves from other countries as Nepal has never been exploited by other nations. A fair part of Nepal’s population is followers of Buddhism and Hinduism, followed by other religions and minor groups. The history and architecture are influenced by Hindu and Buddhist cultures and beliefs. 

Economy and Revenue

As for the economy, around 70% of the local population relies on the agriculture of fruits, corn, wheat, and rice. Nepal has fertile land suitable for agriculture in the southern Terai plains and lowers hilly areas where water is available.

Cultural Heritage of Nepal - Sheet3
Rice farming in nepal_ © httpskathmandupost.comvisual-stories2019072213-photos-that-capture-rice-plantation-season-in-the-country

Rest 30% relies on software and engineering, service sectors like transport, finance, construction, etc., and industrial work for livelihood. In rural areas, people end on fishery and animal husbandry for revenue. Apart from all the above sources, the country is hugely dependent on tourism.

Culture and Heritage

Cultural Heritage of Nepal - Sheet4
Nepal Festival_ © httpswww.omshomejomsom.commajor-festivals-of-mustang

Nepal has a unique culture evolved over centuries. Like many countries, Nepal has its own tribal, ethnic, and modern social groups with their cultural trait of language, food, art, music, and different celebrations and festivals following other folklore and traditions. Since most people rely on farming for their living, Magher Sankranti is celebrated for their first harvest. Dashain (the longest and most celebrated) and Tihar are essential festivals celebrated as per Hindu mythology. The country is the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, and to this day, his birthday is celebrated as Buddha Jayanthi.

Nepal is a secular country where people can choose the religion they are to follow. The majority of the population follows Hinduism, followed by Buddhism. Islam, Christianity, and a tiny part constitute believers of Jains, Sikhs, Bahas, Jews, and then again, people who don’t follow any of these at all. The Hindu and Buddhist philosophies are the base of Nepal’s philosophy. The Nepalis, including animal sacrifices, intensely follow tantric traditions. Apart from that, coming of age, marriage ceremonies, womanhood, and old age are also celebrated as part of the tradition.

Cultural Heritage of Nepal - Sheet5
Nepal heritage and festival_ © httpswww.theexplorenepal.compackagenepal-heritage-nature-and-festival-tour

The traditional clothing is the Daura-Suruwal, worn by men, and Gunyo-Cholo worn by women. Nepali cuisine originated from Indian, Chinese, and Tibetan cuisines. Tribal and minority groups, however, have variations of cuisine according to food availability.

Language, Art, and Literature

Cultural Heritage of Nepal - Sheet6
art in nepal_©httpswww.nepalitimes.combannerthe-craft-of-art

Nepali is the official language of Nepal. Mythili, Bhojpuri, Tamang, and Tharu are the other most spoken language of Nepal. The dance forms of Nepal are heavily influenced by folklore, the most popular one being the Lakhey dance. Paintings, sculptors, and woodcarving are the primary art forms of Nepal. Traditional musical instruments like madal, bansuri, sarangi, etc. are also popular cultural highlights. Short stories and poetry following urban legends are also popular in the culture.

Architecture.

Nepal’s architectural style is divided into three types based on the elements used: stupas, shikhara, and pagodas. It is a mix of practicality and artistry. The ancient architecture of Nepal focused on the Temple architecture of both Hindus and Buddhists. Monasteries, royal courts, and palaces have also seen exquisite hands-on architecture. 

Cultural Heritage of Nepal - Sheet7
Boudhanath Stupa _© httpswww.cntraveler.comstories2015-07-29nepal-tourism-is-back-on

Buddhist temples follow the style of Tibetan architecture and introduced stupas into the designs. Buddhist monasteries also reflect the architecture and the local culture. The simple lifestyle of the monks who prayed and lived there influenced the ancient design of monasteries.

Many temples in Nepal have the shikharas and pagodas as an element of design based on Indian and Chinese styles of architecture.

Patan Durbar Square_ © httpswww.lonelyplanet.comnepalaround-the-kathmandu-valleypatanattractionsdurbar-square-patanapoi-sig1172399357120

Boudhanath Stupa, Swayanbhunath temple, Kopan Monastery, Lumbini, white monastery, and Shechen monasteries are the most popular cultural sites with strong connections to the Hindu and Buddhist lineage.

Overview

Nepal is a place of faith and colors, a haven for mountain lovers and those who enjoy the beauty of nature. Travelers find Nepal versatile as it is flexible to any interest, trekking, shopping, celebrating, or even relaxing. People return to Nepal now and then, because all landmarks and stunning landscapes cannot be experienced in one visit.

References and Citation:

Evason, N. (2017). Nepalese Culture – Core Concepts. [online] Cultural Atlas. Available at: https://culturalatlas.sbs.com.au/nepalese-culture/nepalese-culture-core-concepts.

‌Nepal.gov.np. (2022). Heritage. [online] Available at: http://nepal.gov.np:8080/NationalPortal/view-page?id=89 [Accessed 1 Jan. 2023].

www.mountainmarttreks.com. (n.d.). Top 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nepal. [online] Available at: https://www.mountainmarttreks.com/blog/10-unesco-world-heritage-sites [Accessed 1 Jan. 2023].

Gupta, D. (2021). We Bet You Didn’t Know Nepal Was Home To These Bewitching UNESCO Heritage Sites! [online] Available at: https://traveltriangle.com/blog/heritage-places-in-nepal/ [Accessed 1 Jan. 2023].

UNESCO World Heritage Centre (2010). Nepal – UNESCO World Heritage Centre. [online] Unesco.org. Available at: https://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/np.

Zuberi, M. and Karan, P.P. (2019). Nepal | Culture, History, & People. In: Encyclopædia Britannica. [online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/place/Nepal.

bunac.org. (n.d.). An Introduction to Nepali People | bunac.org. [online] Available at: https://bunac.org/blog/other/an-introduction-to-nepali-people.

bunac.org. (n.d.). An Introduction to Nepali People | bunac.org. [online] Available at: https://bunac.org/blog/other/an-introduction-to-nepali-people.

Mofa.gov.np. (2016). Culture  & Society of Nepal – Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nepal MOFA. [online] Available at: https://mofa.gov.np/about-nepal/culture-society/.

Kathmandu | national capital, Nepal. (2019). In: Encyclopædia Britannica. [online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/place/Kathmandu.

HoneyGuide. (2016). Unique traditions in Nepal. [online] Available at: https://honeyguideapps.com/blog/unique-traditions-in-nepal.

Nepal.com. (n.d.). Architecture of Nepal. [online] Available at: https://www.nepal.com/culture/architecture/ [Accessed 1 Jan. 2023].

Author

Based in the Dubai, Akshaya Ashok Kumar is a young Architect keen on exploring the integrity of architecture as a profession . She believes that architecture is more than just building spaces and structures. Being an introvert by nature, she voices out her thoughts through words.

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