Facts about Religion in Nepal

While talking about religion in Nepal, most of the people in Nepal are Hindu. There is a huge population who belongs to Hindu religion in Nepal.

Facts about Religion in Nepal

Geography in Nepal was for long a neglected discipline. People had very limited knowledge on the geographic aspects of the country. What to talk of the common people ? Before 1960, even the so-called elites of the country knew very little about the geographic environments of their own country even though they knew much about another far off countries of the world. Such a fantastic situation was due primarily to the then defective educational curriculum prevalent in the country. As a result, the geographic personalities of Nepal had to be exposed by various distinguished foreigners like Hagen, Karan, Medlicot, Krapotkin and so on. It was only after 1960 that Nepal’ s geography books written by nationals began to appear in the local markets. It is just a beginning —much has yet to be done in this direction.

Nepali Female is worshiping Lord Gautama Buddha
Female is worshiping Lord Gautama Buddha Statue

The Dawn of Nepal — The Everest Kingdom of Nepal is the birth place of Lord Buddha, the land of temples, the abode of Yak and mysterious Yeti and the residence of brave Gorkhas. With its ancient Aryan and Tibeto-Aryan culture and civilization coupled with varied natural and artistic beauties, Nepal is the only Hindu Kingdom having a happy harmony of Hinduism and Buddhism.

Prior to 1950, Nepal under the rigid rule of the Ranas was a little known forbidden land for outsiders; for in those days, foreigners seeking entry into it had to secure permission from the then ruling authorities. It was for them a hard and humiliating task, indeed. Being isolated till 1950 from the external world, its age-old culture until recent yeas were unaffected by external elements.

The census of 1952/54 and 1961 found difficulty in distinguishing the Hindus and the Buddhists in the hill and the mountain regions for they worshipped deities of both religions. Nepal has also other religious groups like Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, Christians and animists. According to the census of 1981,89.5percent of the total population of Nepal are Hindus.

Hindus include castes like Brahman (also called Bahun-priestly class), Chettris, occupational cast groups of the Terai, sections of the Newar ethnic group of the Kathmandu valley and outside. Hindus amongst other groups only respect the Brahmin and reverse cow. Aboriginal ethnic Hindus, except the Newars,five storied.do not fall under any Hindu caste hierarchy. Hindus highly respect the temple of Pashupati | Nath (Hindu god Shiva) in Kathmandu, the temple of Changu Nar-, ayan, the idol at the Hanuman Dhoka (Hanuman gate) in Kathmandu, the temple of Krishna at Pafive-storiedpagoda type tempi* ‘Nyatopola’ at Bhadgaon(Bhaktapur). Hindus regard cows as sacred, as such cow-slaughter is a criminal offence in Nepal. Some Buddhists Muslims and Christians take meat of cow i.e. beef.

In the valley, religion is interwoven in the lives of people. Temples and shrines reflect this attitude. Devotees are constantly coming and going in various temples.

Besides there are other activities going on in the temples and shrines. Animal life is prolific. Sacred cows at the temples, stupas, dogs, guardians and roaming monkeys husking about the eves and from pagoda roofs.

Originally the ancient valley dwellers were animists.

Animism

Animists worship sun, moon, mountains, forests, rivers, trees, springs. Natural things were worshipped for sustenance of human beings. They also are abodes of natural spirits. Fertility-worship and devotion to ancestors was interwined with early religion and several magical arts and skills needed to ensure health, prolong life, produce children, exercise evil spirits and destroy one’s enemies, evolved in prehistoric times.

Buddhism

It is believed that Buddhism was the first religion practised in the Kathmandu valley. Archeology also proves this historical fact.

Hinduism

Tantrism, or teachings followed by certain left-hand sects of Hindus and Buddhists also reached Nepal. The origin of Tantrism is unknown. However, it is an old faith and has left its mark as major sects.

Tantrism is found among Buddhist followers of Asanga and Nagarjuna, Shaivites (Sect like Saktas, Siddhas, Naths, Kapalikas, etc), Vaishnavites (Sahajiyas, Panchratas), etc.

The data of Kirant or Kirat was not taken into consideration in 1981 census. In 2001 census the data under new head of Kirantis or Kirat is 1.72 (1991). It increased in 1.60 (2001). Kirantis are followers of animism, a religion something different limn Hinduism and Buddhism.

Christians have increased from 0.168 (1991) to 0.45 (2001). In 1981 data of Crin istians were included in others.

Sikhs were not enumerated in 1991. In 2001, their percentage is 0.03. Another religion, Bahaism has also appeared in data of 2001. Their percentage is 0.01. Bahais are adherents of a religion originated in Iran in the 19th century. It emphasizes spiritual unity of mankind.

Some scholars say that there are some conflicting remarks about the percentage of religions.

Facts about religion in Nepal according to Census 2011

    • Total population : 2,64,94,504
    • Hindu : 81.3 %
    • Buddism : 9.0 %
    • Islam : 4.4 %
    • Kirat: 3.0 %
    • Christian : 1.4 %
  • Prakriti : 0.4 %

Author: Jitendra Sahayogee

I am Jitendra Sahayogee, a writer of 12 Nepali literature books, film director of Maithili film & Nepali short movies, photographer, founder of media house, designer of websites and editor of some blogs, has expert knowledge & experiences of Nepalese society, culture, tourist places, travels, business, literature, movies, festivals, celebrations.

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