They say ‘If Nepal doesn’t bring a smile to your face every single day, you’re a lost cause’. Well, that’s true.
If Nepal’s lush green forested hills, fertile Terai plains, snow-clad mountains, diverse ethnic-lingual groups of people, and their vibrant culture cannot attract you, then I am afraid what other thing is going to make you smile.
Perhaps, popularly known for the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest, Nepal has a lot of other amazing things to proffer to their visitors. And if you go deep down this article you’ll get no more about those stupendous elements of Nepalese culture and why you should plan visiting this place soon. Let’s have a look.
Also read: Culture of Meghalaya By Routeprints
Culture of Nepal – Travel Guide
When 7 different religions come together, it makes a secular country. That’s the beauty of it. Since then, with every new place, city, state, or a country, you’ll get to meet people following their own specific religion.
And while we are talking about Nepal, majority of people residing there follows Hinduism or Buddhism, whereas the remaining ones are Muslims, Kiratis, Jain, Sikh, Christian, Baha’is, Jews, and in fact, some do not follow any of the religion. For your information, Nepal was declared a secular country on May 18, 2006, by the Parliament.
The country has numerous different places for worship for every religion and all of them celebrate their festivals with great pomp and show.
Many believe that the bond between the Hindus and Buddhists in Nepal is really very strong that they do not just share their places of worship but their festivals as well.
Language and Literature
Now, you will say, of course, Nepali is their main and official language. Well, you’re absolutely right but let me clear that this is a multi-lingual country and people of all religions speak their own languages. Learn some phrases from here.
And you would be amazed to know that almost every language out of 123 languages is used in Nepal, be it Maithili, Bhojpuri, Tamang, or Tharu.
To add more to your information box, Nepali is written in Devanagari Script that is evolved from our very own Sanskrit language.
You must read the mind-blowing Nepali literature and if you’re looking out for any great suggestion: Bal Krishan Sam, Motiram Bhatta, Laxmi Prasad Devkota, Bhanubhakta Acharya to name a few can be taken into consideration.
Customs and Traditions
Another interesting thing that comes up while learning something new about a different country is learning their different customs and traditions. Nepalis have their own sets of customs and their own significances where the rules of marriage are especially really interesting.
In some communities, they need to get married to wood-apple and sun, some are asked to marry their first-cousin or sister-in-law. In fact, there’s one such rule where a person can marry another man’s wife, all they need to do is pay a specific amount of money and it is called Jari Vivaha.
There’s another amazing tradition followed by these people i.e. celebrating old people’s birthday when they turn certain ages like 77, 1000 months, 88, 99, and 110 years. This tradition is called Janku. Also, people living on the highlands, follow a really strange way to deal with the dead. This is called Sky Burial, where instead of burying or cremating the body, they leave it so the vultures and crows can eat it.
This is one of the things I actually gawk at because trying out different types of cuisines is my favorite thing whenever in a new city of the country. And talking about Nepali cuisine it is mainly influenced by Tibetan, Indian, and Chinese cuisines.
People do not have distinctive cooking styles but food habits vary depending on the region. However, if you really wish to try the authentic Nepali flavor, it is in Newari and Thakai cuisine.
Also, once there you’ll see that people out there rarely use any cutlery and use their right hand for eating. If you go for a regular Nepali meal, you’ll be trying out dal, bhat (boiled rice), tarkari (vegetable), which is usually served with aachar (pickle). And, how can we forget mentioning the very famous momos (steamed or fried dumplings) that is one of the most favorite snacks for Nepalis and for everyone out there in the country nowadays?
Next in the list is the traditional attire of the country, which is Daura-Suruwal for men and Gunyo- Cholo for women.
Well, how this dress does looks like and how they wear it, all the information can be gathered from any source. Let me tell you an interesting fact: when a Nepali girl turns 7, she is given Gunyo- Cholo as a sign of her coming age and is kept safely for the marriages, festivals, or any other special occasion.
Talking more about the dress sense of the Nepalis, there are regional variations as well. People from northern mountainous regions are mainly seen wearing heavy yak-woolen clothing. And if you move to the western side, you might see people in the dressing style of Nepali people, majorly in urban areas.
When in Nepal, you’ll mainly come across to two styles of architecture: the dome-shaped Stupa Style and the tapering multi-storeyed Pagoda Style.
If you want to see how this StupA Style looks like one can visit the renowned Boudhanath and Swayambhunath Stupas. And if you wish to explore the second one (Pagoda Style) and see why this kind of art attracts a number of tourists from all over, make your way to the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, which is also one of the oldest instances of this kind of architecture.
In fact, Araniko was the Nepali architect was first introduced this style in China.
There’s another beautiful style of architecture called Shikhara Style that looks like a tall mountain-peak shaped tower with marvelous wood and stone carving. You can head towards the Krishna Temple in Patan to explore more about Shikhara style.
Music and Dance
A trip to a new place looks incomplete when there’s no source of entertainment and what’s better than listening to folk music and seeing traditional dance forms of a country.
Different communities in Nepal have the unique dance form that they perform during special occasions, festivals, or during any celebration. Some of the famous folk dances practiced by the Nepalis are Dandi Naach, Dhan Naach, Chandi Naach, Panchabuddha Nritya, and Bhairab Nritya.
Now, music is yet another important thing that makes the Nepalese culture even more beautiful.
They not only believe music as their source of entertainment but away with the help of which they can tell stories and express their emotions. Like different dance forms, every community has a different kind of music and singers. Panchami Baja, Sarangi, Dhimey, and Madal are some of the commonly used musical instruments.
Dohar is a unique kind of genre you’ll only see in Nepal where two groups indulge in a musical debate. Doesn’t that sound really interesting?
So, this was all about the beautiful culture of Nepal and once you pay a visit to this breathtaking place, you’ll realize that the country is even a perfect example of Unity in Diversity.