Nepal is a fascinating country with a rich environment of tropical savannas, lush forests and grassy mountains with ice and snow at the very highest peak. This country’s dynamic landscape and environment is matched by its culture, which is as dramatic as the forests and mountains that surround it. There are nearly 40 ethnic groups in Nepal with a rich variety of music and religion that makes this country a truly fascinating place. It is a mostly Hindu population with just under 100% of the population adhering to it.
Nepalese music takes in a vast range of influences – religious, classical, and more contemporary sounds. The diverse range of music here mirrors the culture with its lyrics and melodies. Nepalese music takes its influences from Tibet and Hindustan. There are various musician castes here with the Gaine, the Damai and the Newars, these are the best known in Nepal and play mostly classical and folk. Any event, no matter how large or small will have music by the Newars. Nepal has a wide variety of musical instruments not found outside of this region and all contribute to the unique sound of Nepalese music.
As you can imagine with nearly 40 ethnic groups there is bound to be a diverse range of languages. There are over 100 languages here; the most widely spoken is Nepali.
Nepalese art is strongly influenced by religion, and as in other cultures, painting goes back a long way. Painting and sculptures usually feature images of gods and goddesses; they were painted on to manuscripts which were sometimes given to churches or temples for safekeeping.
Thangka paintings are extremely widespread and are again religious in nature. They consisted of wall paintings or metal sculptures and go back to the 9th century. Older Thangkas are simple in nature, but were replaced in time by the use of bolder colours and portrayed gods in different poses; some even believed that certain Thangkas contained magic.
The architecture in Nepal is as dramatic as the landscape which is quite breath-taking. The architecture attracts visitors as much as the mountains do. In Bhaktapur there are many structures which draw people to them. There are 3 styles which consist of shupa, shikhara and pagoda. The intricate detailing of Nepalese architecture is astounding and only adds to the beauty and awe of this country.
Nepal is well known for its beautiful landscapes, mountains, and attracts many visitors here each year for its adventure tours. However, it does have some beautiful cities. We’ve already mentioned Bhaktapur with its mesmerising architecture, but there is also Kathmandu, which is the capital, Patan, Pokhara and Lumbini.
Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal is an old city held within a valley,its name comes from a large pagoda call the Kasthamandap. Its original name was Kantipur and is nearly 1500 miles above sea level. Kathmandu’s architecture is stunning with old and new sitting side by side, here you will find the government headquarters and it’s also a meeting place where most trekking adventures start before embarking on mountain climbs. Although it has its older elements, it is also a very modern city.
As we’ve seen, Nepal is a complex yet fascinating country, its rich culture expressed through its music, religion, art, architecture, and its dramatic landscapes. This is a brief nosegay of what Nepal has to offer, over the next few weeks and months we will be exploring more about Nepal’s rich culture and landscape.
For more information about our adventure tours to Nepal, click here.