Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Nepal a brief introduction

Nepal (नेपाल) (Nepali: नेपाल [neˈpal]( listen)), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. With an area of 147,181 square kilometres (56,827 sq mi) and a population of approximately 30 million, Nepal is the world's 93rd largest country by land mass[6] and the 41st most populous country. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and the country's largest metropolis.
Nepal has a rich geography. The mountainous north has eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest, called Sagarmatha in Nepali. It contains more than 240 peaks over 20,000 ft (6,096 m) above sea level.[7] The fertile and humid south is heavily urbanized.
By some measures, Hinduism is practised by a larger majority of people in Nepal than in any other nation.[8] Buddhism, though a minority faith in the country, is linked historically with Nepal. Many Nepali do not distinguish between Hinduism and Buddhism and follow both religious traditions. There are 3 different buddhist traditions: Himalayan Buddhism, Buddhism of Kathmandu Valley (mostly Mahayana and Vajrayana), and also the Theravada Buddhism.
A monarchy throughout most of its history, Nepal was ruled by the Shah dynasty of kings from 1768, when Prithvi Narayan Shah unified its many small kingdoms. However, a decade-long Civil War by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and several weeks of mass protests by all major political parties led to the 12 point agreement of November 22, 2005. The ensuing elections for the constituent assembly on May 28, 2008 overwhelmingly favored the abdication of the Nepali monarch Gyanendra Shah and the establishment of a federal multiparty representative democratic republic.[9] The first President of Nepal, Ram Baran Yadav, was sworn in on July 23, 2008.


Nepal's diverse linguistic heritage evolved from four major language groups: Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman, Mongolian and various indigenous language isolates. The major languages of Nepal (percent spoken as mother tongue) are Nepali (49%), Maithili (12%), Bhojpuri (8%), Tharu (6%), Tamang (5%), Newari/Nepal Bhasa (3.6%), Magar (3.4%), Rai (2.8%), Awadhi (2.5%), Limbu (1.5%), and Bajjika (1%).
Derived from Sanskrit, Nepali has roots in Sanskrit and is written in Devanagari script. Nepali is the official national language and serves as lingua franca among Nepalis of different ethnolinguistic groups. Regional dialects Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Maithili and rarely Hindi are spoken in the southern Terai Region. Many Nepalis in government and business speak English as well. Dialects of Tibetan are spoken in and north of the higher Himalaya where standard literary Tibetan is widely understood by those with religious education. Local dialects in the Terai and hills are mostly unwritten with efforts underway to develop systems for writing many in Devanagari or the Roman alphabet.


A typical Nepalese meal is dal-bhat-tarkari. Dal is a spicy lentil soup, served over bhat (boiled rice), served with tarkari (curried vegetables) together with achar (pickles) or chutni (spicy condiment made from fresh ingredients). The Newar community, however, has its own unique cuisine. It consists of non-vegetarian as well as vegetarian items served with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Mustard oil is the cooking medium and a host of spices, such as cumin, coriander, black peppers, sesame seeds, turmeric, garlic, ginger, methi (fenugreek), bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, chillies, mustard seeds, etc., are used in the cooking. The cuisine served on festivals is generally the best.

The Newari Music orchestra consists mainly of percussion instruments, though wind instruments, such as flutes and other similar instruments, are also used. String instruments are very rare. There are songs pertaining to particular seasons and festivals. Paahan chare music is probably the fastest played music whereas the Dapa the slowest. There are certain musical instruments such as Dhimay and Bhusya which are played as instrumental only and are not accompanied with songs. The dhimay music is the loudest one. In the hills, people enjoy their own kind of music, playing saarangi (a string instrument), madal and flute. They also have many popular folk songs known as lok geet and lok dohari.
The Newar dances can be broadly classified into masked dances and non-masked dances. The most representative of Newari dances is Lakhey dance. Almost all the settlements of Newaris organise Lakhey dance at least once a year, mostly in the Goonlaa month. So, they are called Goonlaa Lakhey. However, the most famous Lakhey dance is the Majipa Lakhey dance; it is performed by the Ranjitkars of Kathmandu and the celebration continues for the entire week that contains the full moon of Yenlaa month. The Lakhey are considered to be the saviors of children.
Folklore is an integral part of Nepalese society. Traditional stories are rooted in the reality of day-to-day life, tales of love, affection and battles as well as demons and ghosts and thus reflect local lifestyles, cultures and beliefs. Many Nepalese folktales are enacted through the medium of dance and music.
The Nepali year begins in mid-April and is divided into 12 months. Saturday is the official weekly holiday. Main annual holidays include the National Day, celebrated on the birthday of the king (28 December), Prithvi Jayanti (11 January), Martyr's Day (18 February), and a mix of Hindu and Buddhist festivals such as dashain in autumn, and tihar in late autumn. During tihar, the Newar community also celebrates its New Year as per their local calendar Nepal Sambat.
Most houses in rural lowland of Nepal are made up of a tight bamboo framework and walls of a mud and cow-dung mix. These dwellings remain cool in summer and retain warmth in winter. Houses in the hills are usually made of unbaked bricks with thatch or tile roofing. At high elevations construction changes to stone masonry and slate may be used on roofs.
Nepal's flag is the only national flag in the world that is not rectangular in shape.[71] According to its official description, the red in the flag stands for victory in war or courage, and is also color of the rhododendron, the national flower of Nepal. Red also stands for aggression. The flag's blue border signifies peace. The curved moon on the flag is a symbol of the peaceful and calm nature of Nepalese, while the sun represents the aggressiveness of Nepalese warriors.

 Source: Wikipedia

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Nepal (NEWAR culture): photo exhibition in Goettingen, Germany

If you see your culture, your people and your kind of environment in thousandsof kilometers away from your homeland, how will you feel? There is no doubt that it provides you plenty of reasons to be happy and proud of. That provides you plenty of joys and feelings of being touched with your home, your family and with your country whom you loved a lot. Similar experience we got when we visited a photo exhibition about Nepal, more focussed on rich NEWARI culture, here in Goettingen, a small university town of Germany. This photo  exhibition has started since 8 May, and will last until 10 July, 2010. Yes, we know (8 May) is the very special day in human mankind, because on this day, the founder of International RED CROSS, Henry Dunant was born in (1910 AD)! and, a more reason to be happy on this day (8 May, 2011) for us here in Goettingen, Germany is the organisation of photo exhibition about Nepal, a land of beauty and rich cultures. More focussing on Newar culture and the tradition to become "monk" a true practitioner of peace and Buddhism.We are very thankful to the organiser, and Dr. Michael  for providing an opportunity to remind our own culture to us, and familiarising this rich culture to kind of people of Germany. We found that many people love Nepal and nepalese culture here. As we are celebrating VISIT NEPAL  YEAR 2011, it would be great help to all of us to make it successful event too. Many many thanks to all the organisers and specially to Dr. Michael Mühlich...

In front of the installation of the movie on a similar initation ceremony in Bhaktpur, filmed by Christian Bau. Present is also Dr. Michael Mühlich, who studied Newar culture and loved Nepali people. He stayed there more than four years, studied the culture and organised this exhibition in Goettingen, Germany. Danke!!
Grouped around the "Seven steps": This scene of the initiation ceremony called bare chuyegu by Newars reminds of the "seven steps" that, according to mythology, prince Siddartha made immediately after his birth. It also reminds Newars of leaving the worldly sphere for the time of the ceremony, since the betel leaves contain betel nuts and coins, signs of reverence and wealth that the initiates have to step over in order to separate them from this-worldly affairs

Newar children posing in their clothes as young monks (bare or bhiksu), in the courtyard of the old king's palace in Durbar Square, Kathmandu. This highlights their procession after showing reverence to the king's seat near the entrance of the palace

Model of a young monk, with ornaments, scepter and begging bowl. The traditional robe of Varjacarya monks in Kathmandu is in red, while in Patan the Sakya monks wear a white robe for initiation. In Bhaktpur even yellow robes among the Sakya and painter castes have been observed

Positioned on the upper right of the show case, is an original ceremonial crown of the Newar Varjracarya priest. For leading the ceremony he also needs a Vajra (scepter) and a Ghanti (bell), insignia of the deity Vajrasattva. Positioned to the left: Pala for ceremonial lightning of oil or butter lamps. Below, instruments of traditional Nepali music

The ritual step of the cutting of the tupi, the tuft of hair at the fontanel, in memory of Buddha who left "caste" by this act. After this act the "wound" is covered with an amba fruit (lat. Myrobolan), and sprinkled with holy water from the "four oceans"

The  pit for the fire sacrifice, with ideally 32 offerings to be offered in the name of each of the initiates
Model of young monk (bare or bhiksu). The robe is nowadays used only for the 3- 5 days period of the ceremony. The documented ceremony makes him a full member of the religious community (sangha) of a given monastery (bahal). A boy may decide later in life to learn to be a priest from his father
Some of GöNeS (Goettingeli Nepalise Society members got chance to visit the exhibition

PLEASE Donot forget to visit the photo exhibition at Theaterplatz 15, Goettingen, Germany
For more information please visit: http://www.uni-goettingen.de/en/50226.html?cid=18408