Photos of the People of Nepal

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Flag of Nepal

The People of Nepal

Most Nepalese are closely related to the peoples of northern India, and others are of Tibetan or mixed Indian-Tibetan descent. Most people live in small villages with two-story stone or mud-brick houses. About 90% of Nepal’s people earn their living through farming and related occupations.

Newar boy, Waling
Newar girl, Waling
Children Pokhara - Sarangkot
Newar woman
Women on the market
Girl on the market
Children playing, Kathmandu
Women weaving
Newar woman, Indra Chowk
Elderly Buddhist couple
Boy carrying a load
Boys of Gokarna
Boy carrying a child
Sadhu, Dakshinkali
Procession, Kathmandu
Playing a long horn, Kathmandu
Music with drums and cymbals
Men singing, Kathmandu
Watching a show, Kathmandu
Students from Tribhuvan University
Girl of Kirtipur
Young boy, Thakani
Portrait of the dancer
Girl in Kiul
Little boy in Kiul
Young girl with nose ring
Woman and two children, Timbu
Angkami's son with baby
Sherpa carrier
Boy in Kakani Helambu
Nepali boy
Sherpa children, Tarke Ghyang
Timba with a Kukri
Pasang Lamini
Women of Tarke Ghyang
Three happy kids
Boy, Tatopani
Boy and two girls, Bahrabise
Market in 'Pig Alley'
Meeting at a bas relief
Woman raking grain
Funeral procession, Bhaktapur
Selling fruit, Bhaktapur
Old man, sleeping
Girls spinning wool
Woman buying a chicken
Buddhist nuns, Swayambhunath
Parade, Bhaktapur

Hinduism was Nepal’s official religion when it was officially a Hindu kingdom. Now a secular democracy, Hinduism remains the most dominant religion, with over 81% of the population. However, the Nepalese have combined Hindu beliefs and practices with those of Buddhism. Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born in Nepal in the sixth Century BCE. The Nepalese people celebrate the festivals of Buddhism and Hinduism; Buddhist shrines and Hindu temples are considered equally sacred. Many of the people of Nepal also worship local gods and spirits and consult shamans (magical healers) in times of illness.

Nepal is a multiethnic and multicultural country in which no less than 123 languages are spoken, mostly belonging to the Indo-Aryan and Sino-Tibetan language families. The official language is Nepali (formerly called Gorkhali, after the dominant Gurkha people to which the Royal family also belonged). An Indo-Aryan language, it is spoken by almost 45% of the population and written in the Devanagari script, like most native languages in Nepal. About 63 tongues belong to the Sino-Tibetan language family, spoken by a little over 17% of the population, including Nepal Bhasa, spoken by the Newar people in Kathmandu Valley.

The Gurkhas descended from Rajput warriors from India and founded the Kingdom of Nepal. They initially fought the British in the Anglo-Nepali War (1815–1816) but became their highly regarded allies. Today, many Gurkhas still serve as soldiers in the British or Indian army. The Sherpas, a Himalayan people, have won fame as guides and porters for mountain-climbing expeditions accustomed to high altitudes. They are Buddhists and speak a Tibeto-Burman language mixed with eastern and central Tibetan dialects.