People and Language

Nepal having a population of more than 28 million with a complex mixture of 125 different ethnic groups each with a distinctive lifestyle and cultural flavor speaking different languages and dialect.

The Sherpas live mainly in the mountain of eastern and central Nepal, in particular in the Solu Khumbu (Everest) region. The Sherpas are probably the best known Nepalese ethnic group originally from Tibet, they settled in the area about 500 years ago. The Sherpas also known as “snow leopard” live in the Himalaya region up to an average altitude of 4570m.

Bahuns and Chhetris are simply the two highest castes, the Bahuns and Chhetirs are spread generally over most parts of the Kingdom. The progeny of Bahun men and hill women were considered Chhetri and a number of high status families from other hill groups have also adopted Chhetri status, so some do have Mongoloid tribal ancestry. All Bahuns and Chhetris are Hindu.

The Newars constitute and important ethnic group in the capital valley Kathmandu. The Newaris of the Kathmandu valley are a good example of the result of this Himalayan melting pot.

The Gurung and Magars live mainly in the west and on the southern slopes of Annapurna, Himalchuli and Ganesh Himal mountains. The Magars and Gurungs also often work as Gurkha soldiers.

The Rais, Limbus, and Sunuwars inhabit the slops and valleys of the eastern mid hills and many have migrated to the eastern Tarai. Larger number of people find employment with Gurkha regiments.

Tamangs are one of the largest Tibet - Burman ethnic group in Nepal. Around half the Himalayan zone of Nepal is inhabited by Tamangs. Many Tamangs have been influenced in their dress by both western and Newari styles. Traditionally, women wear a colorful wraparound skirt, a blouse, jacket and scarf. On important occasion they wear chunky gold or brass ear and nose rings set with semiprecious stones. Men wear loincloths or the traditional Newari pant, short - sleeved jackets and topis. Both men and women wear several miters of cloth wrapped around the waist.

The Thakalis live mainly Kali Gandaki valley in central Nepal; the Thakalis are a Tibeto Burman people who have become the entrepreneurs of Nepal. Originally Buddhist, many pragmatic Thakalis have now adopted Hinduism. The actual number of Thakalis is very small.

Tharus, Yadavs, Satar, Rajvanshis, and Dhimals are spread generally in the Tarai region. Tharus are one of the larges ethic group in Nepal.

There are 123 different languages that are spoken in Nepal. Though different groups and races have their own languages and dialects Nepali is the national language and is written in Devnagari script. The mother language “Nepali” is spoken and understood by the most of Nepalese people but the speaking style might be different in the different part of the country.

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