Nepal is one of landlocked countries of South Asia with population of 29,604,235 (according to the Central Bureau of Statistic, Nepal). The capital of this country is Kathmandu. It is also the most populated city of the country with 1,000,000 people (according to the census report of 2011). The country is located between two giant countries China in the north and India in the East, South and West. According to the geographical future, the country is divided into three parts: the northern horizontal part occupied by Himalayan region, the middle one is named as Pahad and the last one the southern part is land of southern massif and the plain is called Terai. 50% of total population of the Nepal is inhabited in Terai region, 43% is in Pahad region and rest of 7% is in Himalayan region. Majority of Nepalese people believe in Hinduism and Buddhism lies in second most practiced religion in the country. Almost 5% of total population of the country is Muslim.
The history of monarch for 2 millennia was ceased by the constitutional assembly in 2008. Since that period, a republic government system was introduced in Nepal. For the first time in Nepal’s history, the country is the federal republic of Nepal. Mr. Ram Varan Yadav was elected as the first president of Nepal by a constitutional assembly. Today the country is divided into 7 provinces according to the new constitution promulgated on 20 September 2015. However only some of the provinces have acquired their name. They have their own chief minister and government. But the central government still keeps the authorities and only a few authorities are delivered to provincial government. Nepal Communist Party got absolute majority in the last election held in 2018. But two and half years later, division of this party being a minority in the parliament gives an opportinuty to make a government of collation to Nepali Congress with divided two new Comunist parties and Sanghiya Samajbadi Party (Federal Socialist Party).
The written history of Nepal is found from the 3rd century BC. It is believed that the ancient dynasty of Nepal is the Gopal Dynasty who practiced cow husbandry, then the second one is Mahispal Dynasty, involved in buffalo farming. Third dynasty is known as Kirat Dynasty when the envoy of Emperor Ashoka was entered in the valley of Kathmandu. The fourth one is Lichhavi Dynasty in the beginning of our era. The first inscription of this dynasty is found in the pedestal of the statue of King Jay Burman. This Dynasty ruled the country almost for a millennium. But Thakuri Dynasty also ruled in between. In 11th century, during the period of Gunakamdev, the palace moved to the centre of the medieval city of Kathmandu and the city is divided into 4 parts; upper part, middle part, palace part, and lower part. The next dynasty is Malla Dynasty since 13th century. In the 15th century, the country is divided into two parts and later on during 17th century separated in 3 kingdoms; Kantipur, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur. At the same time, the western and far western part of the modern Nepal were divided into 22 and 24 different kingdoms. Similarly, the eastern part was divided into 3 different kingdoms. Thus, from 18th century the King of Gorkha commenced to conquer all those small kingdoms. After a war of Gorkha with British empire between 1814 to 16, the conquest was ceased and accorded the treaty with British India, Nepal was satisfied with the land of today’s geography of Nepal. In 1946, the massacre in royal court gave way to power among Ranas who ruled an autocratic and oligarchic system over Nepal for 104 years. At last the democracy was introduced in 1951 and the parliamentary monarch was practiced in the kingdom of Nepal.
With an area of 147,516km² Nepal is located between two giant countries China in the north and India in the East, South and West. According to the geographical feature, the country is divided into three parts; the northern horizontal part occupied by great Himalayas known as Himalayan region, the middle one is named as Pahad region (the massif mountains of the center having maximum culmination of 3600m), and the last one the southern part is land of southern massif and the plain is called Terai. 50% of total population of the Nepal is inhabited in Terai region, 43% is in Pahad region and 7% is in Himalayan region. Nepal has great potential for fresh water. Three different networks of rivers dominate the country. They are Koshi, Gandaki and Karnali. The source of all these rivers are the Himalaya and both of them descend in the Ganga. Because of its diverse topography (an altitude from 68m to 8848m), Nepal contains five different climates: subtropical, warm temperate, cold temperate, alpine and tundra; however, the country lies in a latitude of subtropical climate zone. One third of the Himalaya lies in Nepal in which belt 8 among 14 highest peaks of the world are situated including the highest peak of the world.
Nepal is home to 125 different ethnics and castes group. The important caste and ethnic groups are Chhetri, Brahmin, Magar, Tharu, Tamang, Newar, Kami, Yadav, Rai, Gurung, Sherpa. Kathmandu valley is home to the Newari people. The far western part is inhabited by Magar people and the western part belongs to Gurung people. The north eastern part is settled by Sherpa people and the eastern part is populated by Rai and Limbu. Tharu and Yadav occupied southern Nepal whereas Chhetri and Brihman people were migrated in Sinja valley at first then scattered all over the Nepal.
These people are also named as Bahun. It is believed that they have first immigrated to the far-western and mid-western part of Nepal, then spread all over the country. In the system of caste in Khas community, Brahman is posted in the top rank. In Nepal, this group represents 12.2% of the total population of the country. They are divided into different subgroups like Kumai, Purbiya, Upadhyaya, Jaisi, etc. Traditionally their occupations are performing rituals to other people of Khas community and teaching. Today they are more attracted to politics and public services. Thus, Bahun people occupy a huge number of posts in government, judiciary and public administration. They are a follower of Hinduism and their mother tongue is Khas Bhasha latterly known as Nepali. Their main festival is Dashain held in October for 15 days. They also celebrate Tihar, Janai Purnima, Teej, Shiva Ratri, etc.
Another group of Khas community is Chhetri, who shows 16.6% in the chart of ethnic and caste groups of Nepal. This group is placed in the second rank, just after the Brahmin, in the system of caste in Nepal. These people also emigrated from medieval India. They are the administrator, governor and warrior of the Khas Kingdom in western Nepal and equally in the Gorkha Kingdom. Later they practice all kinds of jobs. Their mother tongue is also Khas Bhasha like Brahmin. Today they are spread all over the country.
The people inhabitant of Pokhara valley and surrounding are Gurung. They represent 1.9% of total population of Nepal. The word Gurung is derived from ‘Grong’ that means farmer. Gurung call themselves Tamu that denotes horseman in Tibetan language. They are animists or followers of the Bon-religion, which is Shamanistic and animistic in nature. They celebrate their feasts and festivals and carry out the ceremonies and practices related to worship, birth, death and marriage in accordance with the Bon and Buddhist religion. Lhosar is their main biggest festival observing as New Year during the month of December. Their main occupation is animal husbandry and latterly they are famous for joining the British army and renowned as Gorkha Army. The lowlander Gurung people who have migrated in the plain are influenced by Hinduism. Their Gathu dance is very popular among the Gurung people that is performed by virgin girls in the spring. Rodhi, a meeting place where the young, supervised by elder women, gather for company and singing and so on. Tamukwyi is the mother tongue of Gurung.
Magar people, prominently settled in the western part of Nepal, represents 3rd major group of Nepal. They are divided into different septs like Thapa, Ale, Rana, Budhathoki, Roka, Gharti, Pun to name a few and they usually identify themselves as belonging through these patrilineal inheritances. They have as many as three-different mother tongues—Kham, Kaike and Dhut language. There are both Hinduism and Buddhism followers in this ethnic group. Most Magars worship the same god and goddesses and observe festivals, as Hindus do. Majority of them follow Khas-Bahun religious traditions, observe the same festivals almost exactly and many of them use Brahmin priest. However, they also observe a number of their tribal rituals and ceremonies, festival for worshipping clan deities, and also employ a Lama to perform life cycle ceremonies in place of a Brahmin priest.
The basis of Magar economy in all areas is usually agriculture growing varieties of crops and vegetables; some are pastoralists who raise sheep and goats some work as craftsmen others adept bamboo work. But the larger communities of Magars engaged in dry-crop farming and buffalo-raising while many have earned name and fame by joining the British and Indian Security forces.
Traditionally, they construct a two-stories stone house with thatch or in some cases slate roofing. Many of the smaller houses in the western communities are round oval in shape and washed with ochre or reddish mud. Magar houses in the eastern hills are never round and are most often whitewashed.
The indigenous people of the Kathmandu valley, Newar people, is one of the ethnic groups declared by the nation. In fact, Newar is a civilization rather than an ethnic group because people from north and south are gathered here over course of time and integrated by accepting the local culture and tradition. Thus, Newar people are Hindu, Buddhist even Christian and Muslim nowadays. Similarly, their morphology is varied as Mongoloid and Aryan. Only their language unified them. They are known for their art and architecture, culture and tradition, food and drinks. Their history is dated back from the beginning of our era. The rich pagoda, sikhara, gumbaj, chaitya, stupa architecture of the valley is credited to these people. They are also art loving people. We can see Newari art in cloth, wall, wood, metal, stone etc. the Newari painting in the cloth is called Paubha. Their windows and doors are well carved with, geometric, floral and animal patterns.
Sherpa people are internationally well known in the field of mountaineering. This ethnic group represents 0.42% of total population of the country. These people are come from Kham, the south-eastern part of the Tibet, so they are called Sherpa which means people from the East. Mainly they live in the region of the Everest, the Makalu and the Gaurishankar. They are followers of Buddhism and Bon. So, their culture, rituals, festivals and customs are related to their faith. Their socio religious activities are performed in Gompa, Buddhist monastery of the Himalaya. Lama is the term used for their priest who conducts rituals from their birth to death. Lhosar, the new year festival, often lies on the month of February is celebrated with great enthusiasm by Sherpa people. Their culture, lifestyle, attire and language are very much resembled to the Tibetan people. The traditional profession of the Sherpa are animal husbandry and trade. They also practice a small amount of agriculture in sprit of poor quality of soil and topography. Today most of them follow tourism which radically changes their economic capacity and lifestyle.
The surrounding areas of Kathmandu valley is occupied by Tamang people. Principally, they live in the districts around Kathmandu valley, but they are also dispersed all over the country and beyond Nepal. Their number represents 6% of total population of the Nepal. The term Tamang made of Ta and Mang; Ta means horse and Mang denotes rider or trader. So Tamang signifies Horse rider or trader of horse. These people have their own language, culture, customs, rituals and lifestyle. They believe in Buddhism and Bon with influence of animism. They have a system of six types of societal leaders – Tamba, Ganba, Bonbo, Labonbo, Lama and Choho – to keep the Tamang society continuously alive and dynamic and to make this society aware of its duties and responsibilities. Traditionally they practice agriculture and animal husbandry. But nowadays they are involved in Gorkha army, Tourism and Public services etc.
The people from south of Nepal that consist 4th large group of population of the country is the Tharu ethnic people. It is believed that they migrated from the Thar valley of today’s India a long time ago. Thus, it is believed that the term Tharu is derived from Thar. They are also resistant to malaria. This is because Tharu people inhabited the Terai belt for a long time when the region was known to be a malaria prone zone. They are rich in cultural diversity and divided into different subgroups; Kochila, Kotharia, Dangaha, Rana Tharu. Their mother tongue is divided into 2 different categories Rana Tharu and Dangaura Tharu. Originally, they believe in animism but they also follow Hinduism and Buddhism. They have been living alongside the banks and make a living fishing, while Tharus living in the hilly region do farming and animal husbandry. They celebrate a number of rituals and festivals. Of them, Maghi, a festival of new-year, take place mid-January. It is celebrated with much fanfare for three-days. During the festival, specially they dance and sacrifice animals and chicken.