NEPAL

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Overview

 

 

The rich heritage of Nepal has evolved over centuries. Nepal has around 36 different ethnic groups and 100 dialects. Most of the ethnic and tribal groups have their own distinct language, dress and culture. The diversity of Nepal is reflected in each group’s unique music, dance, art, crafts, folklores, food and drinks.

 

SOME OF THE ETHNIC FACES

FROM THE HIMALAYAN ZONE - influenced by Tibetan based languages and religion.

  • Thakalis, Tamangs, Tibetans (including those seeking refuge in Nepal) and Sherpas.
  • Despite Western association, Sherpas work mainly in high-altitude expedition work. Whereas the porters you may come across on the trails are from Tamang, Rai and other groups.

 

MIDLAND ZONES

  • Rais and Limbus-Being Himalayan hunter-warriors , they make up some of the Gurkha regiment and have proven to be excellent soldiers.
  • Nears- Lead a communal way of life and are recognized by their Mongoloid and Caucasian physical characteristics.
  • Gurungs-Originally migrated from Western Tibet, one of their largest settlements is in Ghandru in the Annapurna region. Gurungs make up a large number in the Gurkha regiment.
  • Magars-Renowned soldiers and Gurkhas.
  • Bahuns & Chhetris- Hindu caste groups, Bahuns are more orthodox and caste conscious then other Nepali Hindus. Marriages are arranged within the caste.

 

TERAI ZONE

  • Tharus-Thought to be the earliest inhabitants if the Terai. Tharu beliefs are largely Animistic, involving the worship of ancestral deities and forest spirits, however, they are increasingly influenced by Hinduism.

 

ARTS AND CULTURE

COSTUME

Traditional costume for men and women vary across the country and climate. Elaborate and ornate, they help tell the story of the people’s background. Beautiful, colourful saris are seen on some women exuding grace and femineity.  It is typical for Nepali women to wear ornate gold jewellery and beads. Nose (septum) piercings are a common tradition, especially on the older generations of women.

 

ARCHITECTURE

Nepal has many multi-tiered pagodas, tapering at the top with intricate wood carvings, combined with bronze and stone sculptures; these form the Royal squares and Palaces. A strong spiritual representation is shown through the images of gods, goddesses, mythical figures and kings. During the 14th-18th century, exquisite pagodas, ornate palaces, artistic temples and stupa architecture came to take shape in the form we can see today. Kathmandu Valley is filled with many beautiful structures including medieval architecture in the towns of Patan and Bhaktapur.

 

THANGKA PAINTINGS

Thangka are traditional paintings depicting religious themes, deities and Madalas. Because Thangkas are explicitly religious, all symbols must be in accordance to the strict guidelines laid out in the Buddhist scriptures. Schools train artists to have sufficient religious understanding and knowledge to create an accurate Thangka; these can sometimes take many years to paint.

 

DANCE

Nepali Dance is a unique art form with a long history of tradition and meaning, many tell the stories and folklore that make up Nepali culture. The style of dance and song varies throughout the different ethnic backgrounds.

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