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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The people of Nepal belong to diverse ethnic tribes and groups. The total number of ethno-linguistic groups number around 50, highlighting a very diverse country in terms of ethnicity. Each group maintains its distinct culture, with a majority following Hinduism and Buddhism or both. Despite having religious similarities, ethnic groups can express their cultures in distinct forms.

Here's a map of the distribution of Nepal's major ethnic groups, which does not include ethnicities with small populations.


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Unity in diversity: Nepal's various ethnicities represented by students at a program :)

http://bossnepal.com

Pictures to follow soon!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
The Newars

The Newars form the largest ethnic group in the Kathmandu Valley. The original inhabitants of Kathmandu, the Newars have been known since medieval times for their highly developed artistic skills. Their skills are evident in the three ancient cities of the Kathmandu valley, with their distinctive pagoda styled architecture. The Newars are known to have elaborate celebrations that last for days and are very colorful. The language spoken by the Newars is called Newari, which is a Tibeto-Burman language still spoken today but is declining due to the increasing usage of Nepali and English. The Newari cuisine has contributed significantly to Nepalese cuisine, with a distinct set of dishes that are amazing! Today, Newars number about 1.5 million our of Nepal's total population of approx. 30 million.

Newari ladies in traditional Newari attire.

http://btdc.com.np



www.anandakm.com.np


Pahachare festival

www.demotix.com


Newari festival of Bel Bibaha

http://thegreathimalayatrail.org


Newari men and women in traditional attire. The attire worn by men is also worn by other ethnic groups of Nepal.

allnewsofnepal.blogspot.com


Newari men and women playing musical instruments during a festival

local-moda.blogspot.com

Newars are also known for their "jatras" or festivals, which includes Indra Jatra, Ghode Jatra, Yomari Punhi, Machhedranath Rath Jatra and the like. These will be covered in the thread for Festivals of Nepal. Newari festivals are also celebrated by other ethnic groups, as Nepal's ethnic groups have lived with each other in mixed societies for so long that one ethnic/tribe's festivals are celebrated by neighbors as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The Gurungs

The Gurungs are another ethnic group of Nepal, who are primarily Buddhist, but there are some who practice Hinduism as well. The Gurungs speak the Gurung language with is of Tibeto-Burman family. They number around 500,000 in Nepal out of 29 million (as per Wikipedia). Most Gurungs come from the central and eastern hills of Nepal.

Traditional Gurung attire

www.chhayakhanal.com


Another variation of Gurung dress

http://www.washingtonpost.com



www.weallnepali.com


Most famous Gurung? Well, guess who!! :cheers:


http://guestofaguest.com/

Prabal Gurung!!! :banana:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The Tharus

The Tharu ethnic group are primarily from the southern plains of Nepal called the Terai. The Tharus are said to have migrated from the Thar desert area of India in Rajasthan state, thus the name Tharu but they are some of the earlier inhabitants of Nepal. The culture is distinct, with certain elements of animism mixed with Hinduism. Tharus speak the Tharu language, which belongs to the Indo-Aryan language family. The total number of Tharus is estimated at around 1.5 million (as per Britannica and Wikipedia).

Tharu woman in traditional attire

www.lonelyplanet.com






www.panoramio.com


Different traditional dresses of the Tharu women

ethnoworld.tumblr.com



http://www.globaltimes.cn


Tharu men performing the stick dance

ourtourismnepal.blogspot.com



www.ekantipur.com
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The Tamangs

The Tamang people are among the many ethnic groups of Nepal. The traditional area of Tamang community is mainly found in the hilly region between the Budhigandaki River and the Likhu River of central Nepal. At present, they live in large numbers in the districts of Rasuwa, Nuwakot, Dhading, Makawanpur, Sindhuli, Ramechhap, Dolakha, Lalitpur, Sindhupalchowk and Kavrepalanchowk. They are also scattered all over the country, and outside Nepal (e.g. they are found in large numbers in Darjeeling, Sikkim, Assam and Nagaland of India, and in Burma and Bhutan).

According to the census of 2001, there are 1,282,304 Tamang people, or 5.6% of the total population of Nepal. The Tamang language occupies fifth place in the country in terms of the number of people speaking among the government recognized national languages, and the first place among the Tibeto-Burman languages.

The Tamangs practice both Buddhism and animism. In the occasion of various festival and ceremonies, Puja (worshipping activities) are performed at Gumbas according to Buddhist rituals and injunctions. Similarly, the worship of Neda Sipda (deities of land and water) to revere earth as a source of sustenance, worship of Yhulla (Goddess of village) for the prosperity of the villages and the worship of Jyojyomo (most favoured family deity) are also ubiquitous in Tamang societies. Life cycle rituals such as naming, rice feeding, tonsure, and Gunyu (Nepali Sari) offering as well as marriage ceremony and funeral rites are still prevailing in the society. However, different ritual experts have followed different roles in these rituals.
http://www.nepali.ws/page.php?id=37


Tamang women



Tamang men and women in traditional garb with the "damphu" - a musical instrument used widely in Tamang dances.

v1.muchbetteradventures.com


Tamang ladies during the Tamang Lochhar (Tamang new year)

www.nmkhabar.com



Tamang Dress
by tamang, on Flickr



treknepal1.blogspot.com



Tamang people. Old lady.
by zhushman, on Flickr


Tamang Shamans

Tamang Shaman of Nepal
by tamang, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter #10

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garmi-pur
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This is very informative, I didn't know all this about Nepal.

Can you please tell how did the consolidation to a homogeneous sort of identity take place, especially with the Language part since it is surprising that the Newars were pretty much indigenous at the seat of power (Kathmandu) ?

BTW the ladies look very beautiful and I agree that you need another fashion thread.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Intoxication, are we allowed that here in skyscrapercity?

ollkorrekt: Nepal is till today not a homogeneous society. Only about 40% of the population uses Nepali, the national language, as the first language. We have over 40 ethnic groups with dozens of languages and very diverse (and colorful) traditions and cultures. The one thing that unites all of us is the feeling of "Nepaliness" as in belonging to Nepal. The country became a kingdom in the mid-1700s, and it fended off colonialism unlike much of South Asia. This gave a unique character to Nepal, in the sense that our government institutions were largely isolationist and our populations retained their older ethno-religious characters. Unified Nepal's rulers did enforce certain centralization processes but the Gorkha kings who unified the country took up Kathmandu (the seat of power of the Newars) as the new capital, allowing the city to grow into a melting pot of ethnicities. I might've confused you more than clarifying this haha! But yeah, it's really complicated....
 

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Intoxication, are we allowed that here in skyscrapercity?
As long as its not to obscene. And the pics you posted seem ok to me. :dunno:
 

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garmi-pur
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Thanks for your reply. If you could, please let me understand more about the country :)

I was wondering about the Gorkhas since they didnt show up in the map that you posted. So correct me if I am wrong but your erstwhile royal family was Gorkha? Are Gorkhas a minority?

The Nepali Language is something that may be paradoxical considering the information that I read,the Tibeto - Burman based languages are a majority (?) and the Indo- Aryan languages are a minority?

The Nepali language is based on which ethnic language? [ is it more like the Indonesian language that was constructed as a national language based on the Javanese language / Tagalog in the Philippines? ]

Since Hinduism is practiced, is the caste system relevant today or it is just confined to rituals and has nothing to do in daily life?

The 'Tharu' tribesfolk really remind me of the Rajasthani (India) nomads with the ladies carrying pots on their heads - even the attire is similar albeit derived from the Rajasthan nomadic culture.

Thanks :cheers:


Intoxication, are we allowed that here in skyscrapercity?

ollkorrekt: Nepal is till today not a homogeneous society. Only about 40% of the population uses Nepali, the national language, as the first language. We have over 40 ethnic groups with dozens of languages and very diverse (and colorful) traditions and cultures. The one thing that unites all of us is the feeling of "Nepaliness" as in belonging to Nepal. The country became a kingdom in the mid-1700s, and it fended off colonialism unlike much of South Asia. This gave a unique character to Nepal, in the sense that our government institutions were largely isolationist and our populations retained their older ethno-religious characters. Unified Nepal's rulers did enforce certain centralization processes but the Gorkha kings who unified the country took up Kathmandu (the seat of power of the Newars) as the new capital, allowing the city to grow into a melting pot of ethnicities. I might've confused you more than clarifying this haha! But yeah, it's really complicated....
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Thanks for your reply. If you could, please let me understand more about the country :)

I was wondering about the Gorkhas since they didnt show up in the map that you posted. So correct me if I am wrong but your erstwhile royal family was Gorkha? Are Gorkhas a minority?

The Nepali Language is something that may be paradoxical considering the information that I read,the Tibeto - Burman based languages are a majority (?) and the Indo- Aryan languages are a minority?

The Nepali language is based on which ethnic language? [ is it more like the Indonesian language that was constructed as a national language based on the Javanese language / Tagalog in the Philippines? ]

Since Hinduism is practiced, is the caste system relevant today or it is just confined to rituals and has nothing to do in daily life?

The 'Tharu' tribesfolk really remind me of the Rajasthani (India) nomads with the ladies carrying pots on their heads - even the attire is similar albeit derived from the Rajasthan nomadic culture.

Thanks :cheers:

Gorkha is actually a district in Nepal (the country has 75 districts which are administrative divisions). It used to be a kingdom of its own, ruled by the Shah kings. The Gorkha Kingdom, under King Prithvi Narayan Shah, conquered many small kingdoms in the surrounding areas to form a unified Nepal. Nepal was actually referred to the Kathmandu valley only but after the unification was complete, the Shah kings moved the capital to Kathmandu and named the new country Nepal. So, no, Gorkhas are not a minority because it is not an ethnicity. It could be used to refer to those who belonged to the erstwhile kingdom of Gorkha.

The Nepal language is an Indo-European language and is spoken by almost all Nepalese people, though more than half of the population speaks it as a second language. Nepal is home to a split population of Indo-European (Nepali, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Awadi, Doteli, etc.) speakers and Tibeto-Burman (Magar, Gurung, Tibetan, Sherpa, Newari) speakers. It is very diverse, as I mentioned but most educated folks speak Nepali and English. Thus, Indo-European languages are not a minority; Nepali is clearly the dominant language but significant number of folks still speak Tibeto-Burman languages.


The Nepali language is considered a Pahari language, close to Kumaoni and Garhwali in India. It is said to have originated from the Khas language in western Nepal, which became a dominant lingua-franca among the elites of the kingdoms that later unified to become Nepal. It was the language of the Gorkha kingdom and it was in a way imposed on the rest of Nepal as a unifying language since the country was so heavily fractionalized.

Hinduism is still dominant but Buddhism remains an integral part of Nepalese culture too. The two have mixed to such an extent and most Nepalese follow both religions and visit temples of both religions. The cast system is illegal but still remains ingrained in society. It will take a while for it to disappear.

The Tharus are said to have migrated to the southern plains of Nepal a long time ago from the Thar desert, thus the name. I am not surprised they resemble Rajasthani nomads!

Where are you from by the way?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The Sherpas

Sherpa (Tibetan:ཤར་པ། "eastern people", from shar "east" + pa "people") are an ethnic group from the most mountainous region of Nepal, high in the Himalayas.
Most Sherpa people live in Nepal's eastern regions; however, some live farther west in the Rolwaling valley and in the Helambu region north of Kathmandu. Pangboche is the oldest Sherpa village in Nepal. The Sherpa language belongs to the south branch of the Tibeto-Burman languages. Sherpa people are mostly Buddhist.

The group is usually associated with trekking but Sherpas are so much more than that. The unique culture along with colorful clothing and festivals have enriched Nepalese society.


Sherpa - Everest - Nepal - 7158
by Joao_Paulo_Barbosa, on Flickr



Sherpa Tibetan pilgrims at the Mani Rindu Festival at Tengboche Monastery in the Everest Region of Nepal
by jitenshaman, on Flickr



www.travelandtournepal.com



www.kinooze.com



www.sureshparajuli.com



www.groupzenith.com



www.caingram.com



http://actionasia.com
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The Chettris

Chhetri or Chhettri (Nepali: छेत्री), synonymous with Kshetri (Nepali: क्षेत्री) and Khatri (Nepali: खत्री) are all derivatives of Kshatriya (Sanskrit: क्षत्रीय), the warrior and ruler caste group or varna of Hinduism. Chhetris speak Nepali, the national language, as well as regional languages and are part of the dominant Khasa culture and the wider Pahari Khas-Nepali population. Chhetri refers to Kshatriyas from the hills of Nepal but not from the Nepalese Terai or India.
They formed Nepal's largest caste group, 15.5% of the population. Chhetris are overwhelmingly Hindu (99.48% according to the 2001 Census). Thakuris are also sometimes tied closely with the Chettris and have been the ruling elite of Nepal.


A Chettri woman
by Kipepeo India, on Flickr



http://www.joshuaproject.net


The royal family before they were massacred by the crown prince

http://www.namastektm.com



www.nepalroyal.com
The former and last crown princess of Nepal - Himani Rajyalaxmi Shah


Picture of King Tribhuvan's coronation in 1937



Jung Bahadur Rana and his wife, Hiranyagarbha Kumari. Jung Bahadur established the Rana dynasty in Nepal, which reduced the Shah kings to mere puppets. Their rule lasted for 104 years. Seen as autocratic rulers, their overthrow ushered in democracy in Nepal for a brief period, before the country became an absolute monarchy under King Mahendra a few years later.


All vintage pictures from: https://www.facebook.com/VintageNepal
 

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garmi-pur
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Gorkha is actually a district in Nepal (the country has 25 districts which are administrative divisions). It used to be a kingdom of its own, ruled by the Shah kings. The Gorkha Kingdom, under King Prithvi Narayan Shah, conquered many small kingdoms in the surrounding areas to form a unified Nepal. Nepal was actually referred to the Kathmandu valley only but after the unification was complete, the Shah kings moved the capital to Kathmandu and named the new country Nepal. So, no, Gorkhas are not a minority because it is not an ethnicity. It could be used to refer to those who belonged to the erstwhile kingdom of Gorkha.

The Nepal language is an Indo-European language and is spoken by almost all Nepalese people, though more than half of the population speaks it as a second language. Nepal is home to a split population of Indo-European (Nepali, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Awadi, Doteli, etc.) speakers and Tibeto-Burman (Magar, Gurung, Tibetan, Sherpa, Newari) speakers. It is very diverse, as I mentioned but most educated folks speak Nepali and English. Thus, Indo-European languages are not a minority; Nepali is clearly the dominant language but significant number of folks still speak Tibeto-Burman languages.


The Nepali language is considered a Pahari language, close to Kumaoni and Garhwali in India. It is said to have originated from the Khas language in western Nepal, which became a dominant lingua-franca among the elites of the kingdoms that later unified to become Nepal. It was the language of the Gorkha kingdom and it was in a way imposed on the rest of Nepal as a unifying language since the country was so heavily fractionalized.

Hinduism is still dominant but Buddhism remains an integral part of Nepalese culture too. The two have mixed to such an extent and most Nepalese follow both religions and visit temples of both religions. The cast system is illegal but still remains ingrained in society. It will take a while for it to disappear.

The Tharus are said to have migrated to the southern plains of Nepal a long time ago from the Thar desert, thus the name. I am not surprised they resemble Rajasthani nomads!

Where are you from by the way?
Thanks for your reply.It was very informative.

I am Indian by nationality. I do wish to tour Nepal one day. :cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Glad to be able to share all this information. I think South Asian states need to work harder in getting its citizens aware about the neighboring states. It would help in understanding the dynamic nature of our South Asian neighbors. But then again, SAARC is defunct and going nowhere. :(
 
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