Aleksandr Zykov [Photographer]. (2015). Kathmandu Valley Cultural Trekking Trail [Digital Image]. Retrieved from flickr.com on March 26, 2019. Licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).
The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal is situated in the Himalaya mountains. From 1961 Nepal was under the direct control of the royal family. Following the rise of a pro-democracy movement, a limited form of constitutional monarchy was introduced in 1990. More than 13,000 people were estimated to have been killed during a Maoist insurgency, which began in 1996 and lasted until the signing of a peace agreement between the Government and Maoist leadership in November 2006. In January 2007 an Interim Constitution was introduced, establishing an interim Parliament and replacing the King with the Prime Minister as Head of State. At elections held in April 2008, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) became the largest party in the 601-seat Constituent Assembly. Nepal was declared a republic in May. Following the failure of successive Governments to forge consensus on the drafting of a new Constitution, the term of office of the Constituent Assembly expired in May 2012. Elections to a new Constituent Assembly were held in November 2013. In September 2015 the Constituent Assembly approved a new Constitution, which defined Nepal as a secular republic comprising seven federal provinces. Elections to a new lower chamber of parliament took place in late 2017. Kathmandu is the capital. Nepali is the official language.
Population (2018): 28,000,000
Currency: Nepalese rupee
Government: Federal Parliament
President: Bidya Devi Bhandari
Prime Minister: Sher Bahadur Deuba
Nepal is the birth place of Buddha and the world’s only Hindu Kingdom. Because of this, most of Nepal’s population (81.3%) is Hindu. The remainder consists of Buddists, Muslims, Kirant, Christians, and others.
The Great Drigung Kagyud Lotus Stupa in Lumbini, Nepal
The beautiful combinations of gold, wood, and carvings were constructed by the German Tara Foundation, specifically two great Rinpoche’s. The domed ceiling of the main prayer room is covered in Buddhist murals and teachings that spreads the message of non-violence and world peace.
Nyatapola Temple in Bhaktapur, Nepal
One of the temples that are still in existence today is the Nyatapola Temple, which was built in 1702 A.D. under the rule of King Bhupatindra Malla. This beautifully sculptured building is considered one of the tallest pagodas in the country and is a lovely example of the immense workmanship that went into buildings of this type. This five-story temple with a five-tier roof that stands just over thirty meters high can be reached by walking up a flight of steps that leads to the top of the platform. The Nyatapola temple was built and dedicated to the goddess Siddhi Lakshmi or Siddhi Laxmi, providing the Nepalese with a place to worship her.
Pictured below are two Nepali instruments, the Sarangi Nepali and the Damphu.
The Sarangi Nepali is a stringed instrument of Nepal similar to the Sarangi that is played in India and Pakistan. Although the Sarangi Nepali has its origins with the Gandarbha or Gaine caste, it is a popular instrument among other castes and genres as well.
Image source: https://drummuseum.com/Himalaya/damphu-drum-nepal.html
The Damphu is a large percussion instrument similar to the tambourine used by the Tamang people, who make up approximately 6% of the Nepali popuation. Along with the Tungana, it often accompanies Tamang Selo, a genre of Nepali folk song.
Image source: Navneet's Soundcloud page, https://soundcloud.com/navneetwaiba/
The recording of Tamang Selo music was popularized by Hira Devi Waiba and is carried on by her daughter and son Navneet Aditya Waiba and Satya Aditya Waiba.
Heat oil over medium heat. Fry the onions and garlic for 1 minute and add the pepper, cumin seeds, cardamom, salt and garam masala and continue to fry for 30 seconds until fragrant.
Add the lentils and sauté for another minute.
Garnish with chopped cilantro (optional).
Place the rice in water with salt, bring to boil and then turn the heat to low and cook until water is completely absorbed.
Add spinach, cook over medium-high for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to low, cover and cook spinach in juice for 30 minutes.
Nepal is home to eight of the world’s highest peaks, including Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga. Mount Everest lies between Tibet and Nepal and is the highest mountain in the world reaching an altitude of 29,032 ft or 8,849 meters.
Mountaineers in the Himalaya herd sheep. They also herd long-haired oxen called yaks. Some people claim that a mysterious creature called the Yeti or Abominable Snowman, lives in the mountains.
Being a neighbor to India, Nepali and Indian musical styles and traditions overlap. Due to Nepal's linguistic and cultural diversity, many of its musical practices also vary by region, ethnic group, and social caste.
Regionally, music in Nepal can be grouped into the Tarai/Terai Region, the Middle Hills, the Himalayas, and the capital city of Kathmandu.
Image source: https://www.imnepal.com/terai-region-nepal/