19th Feb. 2018
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Nepal Religions  
Nepal was a Hindu Kingdom until 2008 reflecting the predominant influence of Hinduism in Nepal. However, the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautam, was also born in Kapilvastu of Nepal – thus molding the culture of Nepal in its own unique Hindu-Buddhist blend. Muslims constitute the second largest population by faith. Then come the Christians and others like Sikhs, Roman Catholics, & the followers of new religions like Baha’i, etc. Thus, Nepal is a diverse country from religion’s point of view as well.

Still, the Nepali culture is heavily influenced by Hindu & Buddhist philosophical outlook. Although Buddha was born in the low-land of Terai, most of the low land & mid-hill population still follow Hinduism. But Nepali version of Hinduism is slight different from the Indian version if one takes into account of the different ways of celebrating the same festivals in Nepali mountains, in the plains, and across the border in India.

The Tibetan Buddhism prevails in the upper Himalayan region and some regions of the Mountains. The Kathmandu Valley is the perfect melting point for both these religions. The Death God Kalbhairava shows the influence of Mahayana Buddhism, Hinduism, and Tantrik practices.

However, the outskirts regions in the Mountains & lower Himalayas still represent the Shamanic practices from pre-historic times. The Shamans who are called the Dhami & Jhankri are still consulted by even city dwellers to cure their ailments related to health, business, & other daily affairs. Even most of the educated population still believes in witchcrafts, & witchdoctors.

The regions and monuments like the Durbar Squares of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, the Pashupatinath, & the Buddhist monasteries Swoyambhu & Bouddhanath of Kathmandu have also been declared world heritage sites by the UNESCO.

Religion Quick Facts:

Kirat (an indigenous Nepali religion, sometimes spelled ‘Kirant’):4%
Jains, Sikhs, Baha'is:0.1%.
Not related to religion:0.6%
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