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International Coffeehouses: Nepal
This guide will provide links to resources related to the countries featured in the International Coffeehouses.
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
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
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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.
This is a study of a small group of Tibetan Buddhists called the Nyishangba who have maintained an egalitarian culture, where women own land and have equal rights, including in social and religious institutions, and where the usual subordination of women does not appear to occur.
Retheorizing Religion in Nepal is an engaging and thought-provoking study of Religion in South Asia, with important insights for the study of religion and culture more broadly conceived. Grieve uses ethnographic material as well as poststructuralist and postcolonialist approaches to critique and expand religious studies as a discipline.
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.
Singing Across Divides by Anna Marie StirrAn ethnographic study of music, performance, migration, and circulation, Singing Across Divides examines how forms of love and intimacy are linked to changing conceptions of political solidarity and forms of belonging, through the lens of Nepali dohori song. The book describes dohori:improvised, dialogic singing, in which a witty repartee of exchanges is based on poetic couplets with a fixed rhyme scheme, often backed by instrumental music and accompanying dance, performed between men and women, with a primary focus on romantic love. The book tells the story of dohori'srelationship with changing ideas of Nepal as a nation-state, and how different nationalist concepts of unity have incorporated marginality, in the intersectional arenas of caste, indigeneity, class, gender, and regional identity. Dohori gets at the heart of tensions around ethnic, caste, and genderdifference, as it promotes potentially destabilizing musical and poetic interactions, love, sex, and marriage across these social divides.In the aftermath of Nepal's ten-year civil war, changing political realities, increased migration, and circulation of people, media and practices are redefining concepts of appropriate intimate relationships and their associated systems of exchange. Through multi-sited ethnography of performances,media production, circulation, reception, and the daily lives of performers and fans in Nepal and the UK, Singing Across Divides examines how people use dohori to challenge (and uphold) social categories, while also creating affective solidarities.
Call Number: ML3917.N3 S75 2017
Recasting Folk in the Himalayas by Stefan FiolColonialist, nationalist, and regionalist ideologies have profoundly influenced folk music and related musical practices among the Garhwali and Kumaoni of Uttarakhand. Stefan Fiol blends historical and ethnographic approaches to unlock these influences and explore a paradox: how the oefolk designation can alternately identify a universal stage of humanity, or denote alterity and subordination. Fiol explores the lives and work of Gahrwali artists who produce folk music. These musicians create art as both a discursive idea and as a set of expressive practices across strikingly different historical and cultural settings. Juxtaposing performance contexts in Himalayan villages with Delhi recording studios, Fiol shows how the practices have emerged within and between sites of contrasting values and expectations. Throughout, Fiol presents the varying perspectives and complex lives of the upper-caste, upper-class, male performers spearheading the processes of folklorization. But he also charts their resonance with, and collision against, the perspectives of the women and hereditary musicians most affected by the processes. Expertly observed, Recasting Folk in the Himalayas offers an engaging immersion in a little-studied musical milieu.
Call Number: DS432.N46 F56 2017 or E-Book
Master Musicians of India by Regula Burckhardt QureshiBeginning with Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan, Indian art music is renowned internationally for its improvised raga performance. This ancient tradition has for centuries been transmitted orally within the seclusion of hereditary families. Few such families remain today, and not enough is known about their central contribution to the life of Indian music. Master Musicians of India reveals this rich world through profiles and interviews of key musicians from this tradition.
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.
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.
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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.