Culture of Nepal
The culture of Nepal mirrors the fascinating contrast between the rugged Himalayas bordering Chinese Tibet to the north and the fertile lowlands of the Terai bordering India to the south. Nepal’s cultural history is defined by confrontations between these two bordering giants and the harmony between the Hindu and Buddhist faiths. The people of Nepal have a lifestyle all their own, but over the centuries they have adopted countless customs and social practices to fit their needs. The ways of the people range from modern to very “low-tech” but practical solutions. From the caste system in Kathmandu to potato pancakes in Khumbu there is a wealth of rich tradition to discover, and for the traveler to Nepal, an unusual way of life to experience.
Nepalese society is now a mix between the customs and religion of the Sherpa people from the high elevation mountainous region in the east and the people with close ties to India in Kathmandu and westward. With a population of 27.6 million, the vast majority of over 80% are Hindu, and about 15% are Buddhist, the result of a migration across the Himalayas many centuries previous from the Tibetan region. Between these two primary groups one can distinguish between the food, dress, story telling, and festivals, but in practice the diversity also works in friendship and a common cultural identity. Thanks to Nepal being a very popular travel destination and the fact that the once closed borders are now open, the cultural borders are also open to the West.