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International Coffeehouses: Nepal

This guide will provide links to resources related to the countries featured in the International Coffeehouses.

Nepali mountainside

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).

Facts in Brief

 

flag of Nepal

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

 

Image: Bidya Devi Bhandari      Image: Sher Bahadur Deuba
Image source: https://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/98_abe/actions/201910/21kaidan_01.html


Citations:
Country Flag (Nepal), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 26 March 2019 from http://www.europaworld.com/entry/np.FLAG 
Nepal, in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 26 March 2019 from http://www.europaworld.com/entry/np

Map of Nepal

Map of Nepal

Country Map (Nepal), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved 26 March 2019 from http://www.europaworld.com/entry/np.MAP

Learn Nepali!

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Religion in Nepal

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.

Architecture

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.

Books on the music of Nepal

Instruments and Songs Traditions of Nepal

Pictured below are two Nepali instruments, the Sarangi Nepali and the Damphu.

Image: A Sarangi Nepali
Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nepali_sarangi.jpg

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: Hira Devi Waiba
Image source: Navneet's Soundcloud page, https://soundcloud.com/navneetwaiba/
hira-devi-waiba-bbc-nepali-14-jan-2003

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.

Art & Architecture

Nepal Pavilion

Nepal Pavilion; overview. 2010. Artstor, library.artstor.org/asset/ARTONFILE_DB_10313254867

 

Tibetan monk painting the eyes on the Mahacaitya during the Karttika Purnima Festival

Svayambhu Mahacaitya, Swayambhu Mahacaitya, Tibetan monk painting the eyes on the Mahacaitya during the Karttika Purnima Festival. early 20th century. Artstor, library.artstor.org/asset/HUNT_50222

Die Legende vom Prinzen Vishvantara

Die Legende vom Prinzen Vishvantara. 1837. Artstor, library.artstor.org/asset/BERLIN_DB_10313802710

Kukri or Khukari Knife

Nepal. Kukri or Khukari Knife, Side A. 19th century. Artstor, library.artstor.org/asset/AWSS35953_35953_31190328

Shaiva Shrines in a Landscape

Shaiva Shrines in a Landscape, Upper portion temple. 1700-1725. Artstor, library.artstor.org/asset/ACSAA_MICHIGAN_1039616907

Dharmadhatuvagisvara mandala puja at Ha Baha

Dharmadhatuvagisvara mandala puja at Ha Baha, Vajracarya making a Panca Jina mandala. 1716. Artstor, library.artstor.org/asset/HUNT_50479

Belt or armlet piece with vajra

Belt or armlet piece with vajra. 17th-19th century. Artstor, library.artstor.org/asset/SS7731421_7731421_11380544

Four Leaves from a Gandavyuha Manuscript

Nepalese. Four Leaves from a Gandavyuha Manuscript. Leaf A: Sudhana. Leaf B: Sudhana Visits a Teacher. Leaf C: Sudhana Visits a Teacher. Leaf D: Sudhana. Thakuri period, late 11th-early 12th century. Artstor, library.artstor.org/asset/AMICO_ASIAN_SOCIETY_103813374

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Folk Music and Dance of Nepal

Folk Music of Nepal

Folk songs of Nepal Album Art

Nepali Cuisine

 

Dal Bhat

Nepalese dish dal bhat is composed of rice, lentils and is often served with a vegetable curry (tarkari), spicy vegetables (pickles) and greens (sak).
Course: Main Course 
Cuisine: Nepalese, Vegan, Vegetarian 
Servings: 4 people
Author: Vera Abitbol
Image: Dal bhat on a platter

Ingredients

For the dal (lentils)
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 3½ cup water
  • 2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 5 pods cardamom
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • A few leaves cilantro , chopped (optional)
For the bhat (rice)
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 3 cups water
  • Kosher salt
For the tarkari (vegetable curry )
  • 1 lb cauliflower florets
  • 3 potatoes , peeled and diced
  • 3 carrots , cut into thick slices
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 onion , minced
  • 3 cloves garlic , crushed
  • 1½ tablespoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 pods cardamom
  • 1 small chili pepper
  • A few saffron threads
  • Salt
  • 1½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Water
For the sak (green)
  • 1 lb spinach chopped
  • 2 onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the pickles
  • ½ lb green beans
  • 1 kohlrabi
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 scallion
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar (or wine)
  • Juice of 1 lime

Instructions

Dal (lentils)
  1. Rinse the lentils with water, drain for 10 minutes and pat dry.
  2. 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.

  3. Add the lentils and sauté for another minute.

  4. Cover with cold water and cook covered over medium heat until the lentils get a little mushy (about 1 hour).
    lentilles Dal Bhat
  5. Garnish with chopped cilantro (optional).

Bhat (rice)
  1. Place the rice in water with salt, bring to boil and then turn the heat to low and cook  until water is completely absorbed.

Tarkari (vegetable curry)
  1. Sauté onions for a few minutes. Add garlic, salt and garam masala.
  2. Add the potatoes and fry well.
  3. Add water to cover three quarters and add the peas, carrots, cauliflower flores, pepper and remaining spices.
  4. Cook over medium heat for 45 minutes.
    riz Dal Bhat
Sak (green)
  1. Sauté onions and garlic in hot oil over medium heat for a few minutes.
  2. Add spinach, cook over medium-high for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

  3. Add salt, pepper and spices.
  4. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook spinach in juice for 30 minutes.

  5. Reduce the sauce if necessary.
    ├ępinards Dal Bhat
Pickles
  1. Wash and cut the length cabbage, carrots and beans, fry in oil for 5 minutes.
  2. Add ½ cup of water and blanch over low heat for 15 minutes.
  3. Add curry powder, vinegar and lime.
  4. Add salt and pepper.
  5. Cook for 5 to 10 additional minutes
  6. Serve warm or cold.
  7. Serve dal bhat with papadums.

Citation: Abitol, Vera. "NEPAL: DHAL BAT." 196flavors.com, N.d. https://www.196flavors.com/nepal-dal-bhat/.

Image Source: https://www.196flavors.com/nepal-dal-bhat/.

The Himalayas and More!

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.

Nepali Music and Regions

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: Regional map of Nepal

 

Image source: https://www.imnepal.com/terai-region-nepal/

Databases for Additional Research