Nepal Nature dot com Travels (P.) Ltd., Chhetrapaty, Yapinkhya #90, Kathmandu #17, Nepal
Phone: ++ 977 1 4256529        Email: mail@nepalnaturetravels.com
People of Nepal
 
Nepal's People and Ethnic Groups (based on visitnepal.com)

Nepal has a population of more than 26 million people, made up of over 40 different races and tribes. The country offers such diversity that the visitor may experience any lifestyle from the stone age, in far west and high hills, to the jet age of Kathmandu.

When you're ready to come and visit, contact us.

Nepal cultural groups by altitude
The two major groups in Nepalese society are Tibeto-Burmans, or Mongoloids from the north, and Indo-Aryans from the south. Many customs are inherited from both sides and have been developed by the influences of the land, climate and available resources.

The largest groups can be divided on the basis of geographical locations by altitude.

Alpine Based Cultural Groups

Sherpa, in literal terms, means people of the east in the Tibetan language. Originally from Tibet about 500 years ago they have a close affinity with the Tibetan language, culture and religion. Sherpas major occupations include agriculture, animal husbandry, trade and have become famous for trekking and mountaineering. Today they are know worldwide for their skill and hardiness. They follow Buddhism as their major religion.

Dolpa people
The settlement of these people is considered the highest of any living ethnic group in the world. These people live beyond the mountains, west of the Kali Gandaki river valley. These people practice Buddhist customs.

Larke and Siar people
Larke is the northern most part of Nepal's Gorkha district while Siar is the northern part of the Dhading district. These people mainly speak the Tibetan and Gurung languages and have ethnic affinity with Gurungs.

Manang bas
The people of Manang are called Manang Bas. Their major occupations include trade and business. They have their own language and scripts and maintain their own local religious practice with 12 villages called Bara Gaule-Baragaun. The famous pilgrimage spot on the Annanpurna Circuit, Muktinath, lies in their area. Although Buddhism is part religion, they follow Bon-Po which pre-dates the reign of Bhuddha.

Lo pas of Mustang
The settler of Lo are called Lopas. They carry on trade between Nepal and Tibet in the Upper and Lower Mustang areas. Buddhism is their major religion. They have their own local language and festivals outside typical Buddists as well.

Olangchung people
These people are the inhabitants of Olanchung Gola, the main trading route along Eastern Nepal. Besides Buddhism, they have their own customs and practices.

Thudam, Topke Gola and Lhomis are other ethnic groups within Nepal's alpine region.

Temperate Zone Based Cultural Groups
Middle Hills and Valleys

Brahmin and Chhetris
Two large groups distributed in scattered patterns all over the country, which are considered the two highest castes in Nepal. They have sharp Indo-Aryan features and an olive complexion. Brahmins are believed to have migrated from India while Chhetris are from the present day Khasa people from Khasi. These people follow Hinduism as their main religion and socially they have many sects. They are divided into two major streams, the Purba and Umai. The Kumain people are of the origin of Kumo, Northern India, Uttar Pradesh. Their social practices depend upon Hindu religious epics. They speak Nepali, the national language of Nepal and use a script with basis in Sanskrit.

Kirati
Kirati mainly consists of Rai and Limbu people. Literally Rai or Limbu means headman. They are decendents of the Kirati's who first formed the kingdom in the Kathmandu Valley. They now mainly live in far eastern Nepal. Kirati people are well known for their courage and bravery and are often recruited into armies abroad like the more famous Gurkhas. The religious text of Limbu is the Mundhum.

Newars
Newars are mainly settled in Kathmandu Valley and in major trading centers throughout the kingdom. They have Mongolian features and their own language and script, Newari, believed to have its origin from Tibeto-Burmans. Hinduism and Buddhism are their main religions. They have complex social systems and practices and are comprised of many castes. Trade and farming are their main occupations.

Tamangs
In Tibetan language Tamang means horse traders. It is believed that they originally came from Tibet. The majority of Tamangs live in the hills surrounding Kathmandu Valley. Their social practices and customs are based on Buddhism and they have their own language, Tamang. They work mainly as farmers, labours and as porters.

Magars
Their origin is basically found in hill regions of western Nepal. Their religion is Buddhism and their language, Magar Kura, depicts their affinity to the Tibeto-Burmese tongue and culture. Farming, military service, weaving, hunting, and fishing are their major occupations.

Gurungs
They are famous for their innocence, simple mindedness, and bravery while serving in military forces. They are mostly settled along the higher slopes of the Annapurna areas and the Kali Gandaki river above the Baglung district. They are farmers of rice and grains and also sheep. They are ethnically related to Magars, Thakalis and Kiratis in eastern Nepal. The Gurung people love music and they have their own language.

Thakalis
The origin of Thakali is Thok Khola, a high valley in central Nepal along the Muktinath region. They have Mongolian features, a fair complexion and narrow eyes. Thakalis are divided into four major groups: Gauchan, Tulachan, Sherchan and Bhattacan. Their religion is a mixture of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jhankrism. They are known for their hospitality, good salesmanship, and cleanliness.

Occupational castes
Certain ethnic groups in Nepal are categorised according to their occupation. They are Kamis (smiths), Damais (tailors), Dhibis (washerman) Sarkis (cobblers), Gaines (professional singers) and Khumbharas (porters). The origin of these castes has not been investigated yet by the anthropologists. Hinduism is their major religion and Nepali their major language. Many have their own local festivals and practices.

Furthermore, Sunwars, Jirels, Chepangs, Kusundas and Panchgaule (five villages) are other minor ethnic groups of the Nepal midland hill regoins. Sunwars are Jirels are considered to be the off shoots of Magars. Panchgaule are similar to Thakalis. Kusundas still live in primitive conditions. They live in caves, under trees and in temporary huts in the forest. Only a handful of them are settled into occupational farming. Chepangs, who are believed to be the offshoots of Kirats, are slowly moving into urban areas.

Subtropical Based Cultural Groups
Ethnic Groups of Terai Region and Southern Nepal border.

Brahman and Rajputs
These a people are similar to Bramin and Chhetris of the middle hills. Their major difference being a high degree of influence from the neighbouring North Indian people.

Tharus
This is the largest and oldest ethnic group of the Terai belt found living in close proximity to densely forested regions. They are dark in complexion and have smart, trim bodies. They follow the Hindu religion and their practices are dependent on many typical Aryan practices. Farming and business are their main occupations. Danwars, Majhis and Darais are very similar to Tharus, physically and culturally. Nevertheless, they speak their own languages which are of Sanskrit origin.

Rajbansis
This is a dominant ethnic group of far eastern Terai areas of Jhapa and Morang. Although they follow both Hindu and Muslims religions, they have their own local practices. Farming is their major occupation.

Satars
They are similar to Santhals of Bihar, India. They are very much like Tharus and their social life is organised and disiplined. They believe in Hinduism. Dimals, Bodos, Dhangars are agriculturist Hindu. Bodos are settled in an area know as the Mechi Zone and are more known as Mechain people. Dhangars, who live in one part of the eastern Terai have their origin in Madhya Pradesh, India. Dhimals are the Terain counterparts of the Limbus from the eastern Terai, mainly in Jhapa.

Musalmans
There are Muslims migrated from Northern India. They speak Urdu and their social practices correspond with the Muslim religion.

Although these above accounts depict a fundamental description of Nepalese ethnic groups, it is difficult to pin point who is "ethnic" and who is "non-ethnic", who is "indigennous" and who is "non-indigenous" in a particular place. Past migration histories mean Nepal seems to be a melting pot. This is especially prevently in urban areas.

Nepal Festivals,
As many days of the year as many festivals...

Festivity is synonym to the Nepalese Culture. For the Nepalese, festivals are not merely the annual spectacles, but also are a living part of their rich cultural heritage. Festivals effectively bind together the Nepalese people of diverse cultural backgrounds and beliefs into one nation. Most Nepalese festivals are related to different Hindu and Buddhist deities. They are celebrated on days consecrated for them by religion and tradition.
Monthly Festivals
Jan-Feb       
•    Sweta Manchhendra Snan
•    Swasthani Puja
•    Maghe Sankranti
•    Basanta Panchmi & Saraswati Puja
Feb-March    
•    Maha Shivaratri
•    Losar
•    Fagu Purnima or Holi
March-April    
•    Chaitra Dasain
•    Ghode Jatra
April-May- June
•    Biska Jatra
•    New Year's Day
•    Red Machhendranath Jatra
•    Buddha Jayanti
June-July-August    
•    Gunla
•    Krishna Astami
•    Janai Purnima
August-Sept    
•    Gai Jatra
•    Teej
Sept-Oct    
•    Indra Jatra
•    Dasain or Durga Puja
Oct-Nov    
•    Mani Rimdu
•    Tihar or Deepali
Nov-Dec    
•    Balachaturdarsi
•    Bibah Panchani
•    Yomari Punhi

Kathmandu Mideval City Walk

JAISIDEWAL
A temple dedicated to Lord Shiva built by a powerful minister of Bhupatendra Malla named Laxmi Narayan Joshi in 1688 AD. The 8 storey plinth was copied by Queen Riddhi  Laxmi in 1692 AD in making 9 stage plinth temple at Basantpur called Majju Dewal.
ITUM BAHAL
The largest bahal operated by 100 bajracharyas and 400 shakya families. It was built by Keshchandra in 11 century who became a wealthy man due to pigeons who left gold dung on feeding his rotten grain. He built Tundikhel for his worker Gurumapa who could consume 80 pounds of rice and a buffalo each year.
JANA BAHAL
Home of the principle deity of Kathmandu Jan baha dyo or white Machhindra Nath. The lokeshwar’s chariot festival lasts for 3 days in the core city which is celebrated in the month of April. The deity is worshipped for longevity of life and prosperity and good rain
PACHALI  BHAIRAB
Established by King Gunkamdev as a gatekeeper at the southern city entrance. In those days every door of houses, temples and dyochen were made in a triangular shape and painted with eyes and sword depicting bhairab, In 1460 AD, King Amar Malla introduced 12 yearly Bhairab dance which still exists.
ASON AJIMA
Known as Annapurna devi is worshipped in the form of purna kalash-full of grain built in 987 AD by local traders for prosperity and cure for children’s disease. The temple was renovated in 1942 AD. The diety is worshipped on Sundays.
KWA BAHAL
Home of the tantric priest Wak Bajra who made a stupa which followed him from Baneras which is known as Sigha chaitya today.After installing the stupa, he meditated inside his bahal for the rest of his life. The bahal also has its own Kumari worshipped by its branch bahals.
BHIMSEN TEMPLE
Once a thakuri king pointed out the lack of productivity of a farmer who used to leisure around at the inn. He challenged the king and finished a field work of thousand hands in a day. Supernatural power of a farmer revealed his true identity as Lord Bhimsen whose temple was erected in 1140 AD.
TACHHE BAHAL
Home of tantric priest Surat Bajra, who defeated Dalai Lama in debates during his 12 years stay in Tibet in 15 century. It is said he once threw tea from the window. Upon investigation lamas discovered that his house was on fire which was extinguished by sudden rain in Kathmandu.
AAJU DYO
A deity from the sky or Akash Bhairab was once a Kirati King who joined the famous Mahabharat war at Kuruchhetra 3000 years ago. His head was spilt by Lord Krishna which fell at Indra-chowk after the war.
NETA AJIMA
A grand mother goddess whose alter was established by King Gunkamdeva at Naradevi. She used to accept human sacrifice narveli which was discontinued. It is believed that major earthquakes in Kathmandu was a natural way to meet her human consumption. (also known as Sweta Kali).
MUSUM BAHAL
Residence of the tantric Buddhist priest of King Pratap Malla called Manju Bajra or jamun guvaju. On this way to Swayambhu stupa from home, the alms of rice given by this devotee would be cooked on his bowl known as kala.
DHWAKA BAHAL
A bahal containing Lichhavi period stone chaitya with four different images of Buddha framed by ornamented pilasters and bracket coital supporting a cosmos decorated with foliage. It is the home of Gun Jyoti who erected Chusya Bahal which hold the finest wooden architecture of ancient Kathmandu.
LUMARIAJIMA
A grandmother goddess who was brought from Assam conducting tantric rituals. She turned into solid gold at her famous alter at Bhadrakali in 724 AD. Similarly Kanga, Luti, Phibo, Pasiko, Thambahi, Chandra Lakhu and Nai ajima are other deities established outside the city in a form of a khadga sword.
MAHAKAL BHAIRAB
In 722 AD, a tantric priest called saswat Bajra had a clay replica built of the creature he saw above the sky and with the power of his mantra had the deity dwell on it. Since he was on a journey ,the deity promised to reside every Saturday which people worshipped now as Mahakal Bhairab.
SANKATA
A tantric deity brought from Assam by Swaswat Bajra during the process of building of Kathmandu city. The deity was invited to reside in the southern part of guard the city..
MAHABU BAHAL
Has the largest kwapa dya 12 feet high of the existing 113 bahals. At present the area is used daily as a grain selling depot which was built by Ravi Gupta during the region of King Basanta Dev(512-532).(E8)
THAMBAHI
Constructed by Singha Sarth Bahu who led 500 tradesmen to Lhasa in the 11  century. During Holi Punhi, his portrait known as Chakandeo is brought out to celebrate his heroic deed of slaying demons who followed him back to his home town.
SHOVA BHAGWATI
Build by a crippled craftsman as his second masterpiece during the reign of Queen Navsagar in 5 century. Palanchowk Bhagwati was his first masterpiece which was followed by Shova bhagwati ,Nala Bhagwati and Naxal Bhawati in spite of his disabled condition.(See sketch map)
SIGHA BAHAL
A bahal established by Wak Bajra who brought the Buddhist stupa all the way from Baneras with aid of simple thread during the reign of King Nripendra Malla in 1670 AD.He invited Shakya families from Ason tole to reside and perform the annual festival of the stupa.
KASTHAMANDAP
A rest house for traders at Maru tole said to be build from a single tree provided by Kalpa brikssha the tree of paradise who came to observe the chariot festival of Jan Baha dyo was held a prisoner.
BIJESWARI
An alter established near Bishnumati river by King Gunkamdev for the protection of kathmandu from evil spirits.It lies inside Bilasabahi,a very important temple for Buddhist for Kathmandu. Every newly married couple of newar families make a pilgrimage here to begin their new life.
CHUSYA BAHAL
The last bahal of the northern part of ancient Kathmandu. The bahal has the finest architecture left in the valley made in 1649 AD by Gunjyoti bajracharya. Visitors can identify the dieties by their names at the base of 12 exterior and 22 interior struts.
ASHOK BINAYAK
One of the four main Ganesh of Kathmandu valley at Maru Tole.The idol was discovered  near the sacred Ashoka tree during the reign of King Gunkamdev. The temaple built in 18 century does not have a gajur on top.
THAHITY
An upper town water spout Kathmandu . The place has a white chaitya built by Wak Bajra to cover the stone spout which used to fpow with golden sand. The place is the end part of the city called Thane which is inhabited by upper class of the society mainly priests and merchants.

SAVAL BAHAL
Home of the tantric priest Saswat Bajra who brought the principal dieties of Kathmandu.Mahakal Bhairab, Sankata, lumariakima, and Jana bahal dyo for the prosperity of the city during the reign of King Gunkam Dev in 8 century.
SIKAMU BAHAL
A bahal built with the left over wood from Kasthamandap. It is the home of famous astrologer Lila Bajra whose verdict of eclipse in the 17 century came true on the dark full moon day (aunshi) . He also depicted his tantric power by tempting the Hanuman of Hanumandhoka palace with sweets offered by him.
NARAYAN TEMPLES
There are four main temples of Narayan or Lord Bishnu of which Nem Narayan shrine lies at the southern border of Kathmandu built in 725 AD. Other templesWande Narayan, Ikha Narayan and Atko Narayan were built during the Malla dynasty in 17 century.
LU:HITY
Last water spout built in Kathmandu city by Prime Minisrer Bhimesen Thapa also known as Sundhara in 1821 AD when he built Bhimsen tower at the parade ground of Tundikhel. Water source of this famous spout built in a shape of mandala lies at Bhotahity which is covered by the busy road today.
HERTIAGE MONUMENTS
Apart from the interesting zone of bahals, temple and waer spouts, Kathmandu city is the home of 4 major world heritage Sites namely kathmandu Durbar Square , Pashupati, Swayambhu and Boudhha.
BUDDHABARI
A defunct Buddhist bahal which lies near Teku road along the Bishnumati river. It also contains huge clay Buddha as kwapa dyo which is the only remaining structure of the bahal. Why it is abandoned or the cause of its huge  idol is not known which may have some link with Mahabu bahal.
KWOHITY
Kwohity means a water spout of the lower town of Kathmandu. This part of town is called Kwone, home of the working class of society mainly artists, farmers and service providing community. The date of construction of the spout was not known but it was renovated in 1780 AD.
KABINDRAPUR
House of Nasa dyo or god of music and dance constructed at Maru tole by King Pratap Malla where he used to performed dance and music ceremonies. Kathmandu has 32 nasa dyo which is worshipped before learning the art of music and dance. Also known as dhansa dyo chen, it was rebuilt after the 1934 earthquake
 


 
General Travel Services
Special Interest Tours
Nature package
Crane Watch (Lumbini)
Best of Wildlife and Wetlands (Shivapuri – Chitwan and Koshi)
Best of Nepal Wildlife (Shivapuri – Pokhara – Lumbini – Chitwan)
Best of Nepal Birding Safari (Shivapuri – Lumbini – Chitwan and Koshi)
Filming /Photography
Conference & Seminars
Educational Packages
Ticketing
Rescue
 
www.flickr.com
Nepal Nature Travels' items Go to Nepal Nature Travels' photostream
 
 
   
 
Recommended Destinations
  Kathmandu Valley   Bhaktapur Durbar Square   Chitwan
Recommended Activities
Bird watching and hike in Shivapuri Nagarjung, Elephant Safari, River safari and Jeep safari in Chitwan, Trek to Everest, Langtang, Annapurna and Mustang, Scenic Mountain tour of Pokhara, Sarus Crane and Bird Watching in Lumbini the birthplace of Buddha, Sunrise and Sunset view from Nagarkot, Mountain Flight to see Mt. Everest and Himalayan Range, Tracking Wild Bengal Tigers and Wild Asian Elephants in Bardia, Mahasheer Fishing in Karnali River, White water rafting in Bhote Koshi and Trishuli River, Journey to the valley of Snow Leopards,