What Should I Know about Nepal?

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  • Written By: Niki Foster
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2019
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The State of Nepal is a landlocked South Asian country bordered by China to the north and India to the south. The capital of this country is Kathmandu. Nepal, though small, has a diverse and dramatic landscape and is home to the Himalayas. Eight of the world's ten highest mountains are here, including the single highest, Mount Everest.

Nepal has a complex history dating back thousands of years. Throughout much of its existence, the country was controlled by external powers based in India. In the late 15th century, Nepal separated into three rival kingdoms, Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhadgaon. The dawn of modern Nepal was in 1765, when the three kingdoms were unified under Gorkha ruler Prithvi Narayan Shah.

Nepal defended its territories against the British East India Company in the Anglo-Nepalese War of 1815 to 1816. There were heavy casualties on both sides and Nepal lost many of its outlying territories, though it retained its present day borders and gained autonomy. The Nepalese government was unstable following the war, and the reigning queen lost her power in a failed attempt to overthrow military leader Jang Bahadur in 1846. Bahadur became the first ruler in the Rana Dynasty, which lasted until 1953. The Rana family is still powerful in the country, as is the Shah family, the hereditary monarchy.


Nepal became pro-British during the Rana Dynasty and signed an agreement of friendship with the United Kingdom in 1923. In the early 1950s, the Rana Dynasty fell apart under Indian influence. Democracy was attempted but abandoned in 1959 in favor of a traditional Indian village-based system of government known as panchayat, headed by an absolute monarch.

Change came again in 1989, when the Jana Andolan People's Movement pushed for a multi-party democratic system. A parliament was established in 1991, and the country's first democratic elections took place the same year. However, instability in the region continues to the present day. In 1996, Civil War broke out, instigated by Maoist rebels. Peace negotiations between the Maoists and the government took place in 2006 and an interim government was established.

Nepal's economy is mostly based on agriculture, but also on services and industry. This country has a high rate of unemployment, causing many to seek work in neighboring India. Foreign aid from many countries around the world is important to its economy.

Nepali is the official language, but less than half the population speak it as their native language. Hinduism is the major religion, while Buddhism, Islam, and Kirant are important minority faiths. Traditional folklore, song, and dance are alive and influential in Nepalese culture.


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Post 3

Since Nepal is bordered by both China and India, the tradition has been influenced by both countries. The best example is the religious tradition. Most of Nepal is Hindu, but there is also a good number following Buddhism.

In Hinduism actually, Nepal has a very special place because it is the land of Lord Shiva. It is the place where Shiva danced. And so religion and the arts have always been very important in Nepal. Traditional dance is learned and performed by many.

Post 2

@SteamLouis-- Hindi is one of the languages spoken in Nepal but I'm not sure what percentage of the population speak it. There are actually quite a few languages in Nepal. Nepali is the official language because it is the most commonly spoken language.

I'm not an expert on this topic but from an outsider's point of view Nepalese and Indian culture are similar. Now if you ask someone from Nepal, I'm sure they can explain the differences. I'm also certain that people in Nepal do not find themselves very similar to Indian people. But like I said, to outsiders, may of the cultural traditions, the music, the clothing and the food have many similarities. As far as I know, Indian films are very popular in Nepal as well.

Post 1

If less than half of Nepal speaks Nepali, what do the rest of the people speak? Hindi? Urdu?

And how similar is Nepalese culture to Indian culture?

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