Nepal is a melting pot of many races and tribes. Nepal has population of around twenty five million, made up of an assortment of races and tribes, living in different regions, wearing different costumes and speaking different languages and dialects. They live under quite diverse environmental conditions from the low, nearly sea level plains at the border of India, northward through the middle hills and valleys and up to the flanks of the great Himalayan range where there are settlements at altitude of up to 4,800m. Farming practices are therefore equally diverse along with life styles and social customs.
The high Himalayan settlements of Tibetan speaking people are found perched precariously on mountain ledges and slopes. Life here is delicate balance of hard work and social merrymaking, tempered by a culture deeply steeped in ancient religious traditions. The best known of the high mountain peoples are the Sherpas who inhabit the central and eastern regions of Nepal. The Sherpas have easy access to Bhot (Tibet) for trade and social intercourse and therefore Tibetan influence on their culture and civilization remains distinct. The midlands are inhabited by various Tibeto – Burman and Indo – Aryan speaking hill and valley people, for example the Brahmins, Chettris, and Newars. While the Brahmins and Chettris are widely distributed through out the country, the Newars are mainly concentrated in the Katmandu Valley and other towns.
The Rais, Limbus, Tamangs, Thakalis, Magars, Sunwars, Jirels, Gurungs, and Chepangs are other Tibeto –Burman speaking Mongoloid people found living in the middle hills. They each have their own distinct social and cultural patterns. The Dun valleys and the lowland Terai are inhabited by people such as the Brahmins, Rajputs, Tharus, Danwars, Majhis, Darais, Rajbansis, Statars, Dhimals and Dhangars. Though Nepal is a veritable mosaic of dozens of ethnic groups, they are bound together by their loyalty to the institution of Monarchy, and by the ideas of peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance to form one unified nation.
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