Nepal, officially known as the Federal Democratic of Nepal, is home to a very diverse group of people residing over the varied geography of the Nation. As of 2017, the population of Nepal was estimated to be 29.3 million, which is a high number considering the area of the country is only 147,181 square kilometres. Most of the people of Nepal live in the Hill and the Terai regions, accounting for approximately 93.27 per cent of the total population.
The other 6.73 per cent of the population resides in the Himalayan region of Nepal which is inhabitable only up to specific altitudes. Nepal can easily be called a melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities with 126 different ethnic groups living in peace and harmony. Among these diverse groups of people, there are 123 different languages declared as mother tongues coming from different cultures. With such variations in ethnicity and cultures, the people of Nepal are real examples of "Unity in Diversity".
The immense diversity in the population of Nepal might be because of the large scale migrations of the Asian groups from Tibet and the Indo-Aryan people from the northern parts of India. The people of Indo-Aryan origin account for a more significant portion of the total population. The people with Tibeto-Nepalese origin are other significant groups of people while being a minority in the Nation. Among the people in Nepal, several ethnic groups constitute a more substantial population of the country. Some of those ethnic groups are Bhramin, Chettri, Newar, Tharu, Gurung, Magar, Sherpa, and so on. Nepal is not only diverse in ethnic groups but also with religion. Hinduism has the highest number of followers, with eighty-six per cent of the people. Eight per cent of the people follow Buddhism, and three per cent follow Islam. The remaining percentage comprises of other different religions followed by a minority of people. Nepal is known for being a country of religious tolerance. The people of Nepal live in harmony with a wide range of cultural diversity.
In the high mountains of Nepal, the majority groups of people are the Sherpas. Other groups of people living in the northern Himalayas of Nepal are Lopas, Baragaonlis, Manangis and Dolpa-pas. The Sherpas are found mainly in the eastern region of Solukhumbu; the Baragaonlis and Lopas live in the semi-deserted areas of Upper and Lower Mustang in the rain-shadow area of Tibet. The Manangis live in the district of Manang; while the Dolpa-pas live in the west Nepal district of Dolpa. Because of the easy access to Tibet and Bhot for trade and socialization, the northern Himalayas still has a significant influence of the Tibetan culture. Because of the lack of substantial development and less access to the outer world, we can encounter the ancient and authentic cultures among the people of this region.
A high number of ethnic groups among the people of Nepal live in the Middle Hills and Valleys. Among some of the major ethnic groups living in this area are the Newars, Thakalis, Magars, Sunuwars, Chepangs, Gurungs, Tamangs, Brahmins, Chhetris and Thakuris. There are also different castes of people differentiated based on occupation such as Damai (tailor), Kami (blacksmith), Sarki (cobbler), and Sunar (goldsmiths). This region has an enormous amount of ethnic diversity and vibrant cultures. While there are some of the major cities of the country in this region, we can still find the ancient rich cultures in rural areas. For examples, we can encounter oxen ploughing the fields and blacksmiths making tools to name a few.
The Kathmandu Valley of Nepal possibly has the highest diversity of people. Over the decades, people have migrated and formed the Valley into a melting pot of a large number of ethnic groups and cultures. People of almost all religions can be found within and around the boundaries of this Valley. The native residents, however, are the Newar people of the Valley. The Newari culture is a combination of two religions, Hinduism and Buddhism. The Kathmandu Valley Newars were, in the ancient days, traders or farmers by occupation. Brahmins and Chettris also fall under a majority group in the Kathmandu Valley. While the Brahmins and Chettris are also distributed in other areas of Nepal, the Newar people are majorly concentrated in the Kathmandu Valley.
People of ethnic groups like the Brahmins, Rajputs, Tharus, Danwars, Majhis, Darais, Rajbansis, Statars, Dhimals, and Dhangars inhabit the Dun valleys and the lowland Terai. There is a variety of dialects in this region with languages like Maithili and Bhojpuri being in the majority. Given the fertile lands and plains of Terai, the people here are mostly engaged in agriculture. Besides this, there are also some other occupational casts like Majhi (fisherman), Kumhal (potter) and Danuwar (cart driver).
With smiling faces and greeting you with our hands joined in saying "Namaste", we welcome to this Nation with diversity in geographic, culture, languages, people and taste. Nepal is a country with diversity and variety all over. The people of Nepal are bound together by patriotism and religious tolerance and a shared belief in peaceful co-existence. Wherever you go, you will find different experiences of different cultures, and we assure you, you will love the people of Nepal while you are here.