Religion, Culture and Festivals
Majority of the citizens are Hindus in Nepal. Among the gods of the Hindu pantheon, first mentioning is made of trinity of gods Brahma- the Creator, Visnu- the preserver and Maheshwor- the destroyer respectively. As for the Buddhism, its belief and practices are said to have been prevalent in Nepal since as early 6th century BC when Prince Siddhartha Gautam, later known as Budhha, was born in Nepal.
The two major religions followed by Nepalese are so closely interwoven as to evolve an exemplary tradition of religion. The infusion of an esoteric mysticism, otherwise known as Tantrism, into the various religious rituals of both the Hindus and the Buddhists has acted as a further cementing bond that has effectively united different linguistics, racial and cultural groups into a common fabric of Nepalese nationhood.
Due to its multilingual, multi-religious, and multi-ethnic social nature, the Nepalese are said to observe more festivals that there are days in a year. Hardly a day passes without festivities, ceremonial observances or pilgrimages taking place. These festivals have emerged from the depth of the age-long socio-cultural aspects of life and passes mythological, religious and historical backgrounds.
Art and Culture
Nepal’s artistic and cultural legacy are remarkably rich and fascinating, artistic treasures offered in Kathmandu valley alone being probably unmatched elsewhere in the globe.
It is popularly said:” There are nearly as many temples as there are houses and as many idols as inhabitants, there not being a fountain or a river or a hill within its limits that is not consecrated to one of the other of the Hindu or Buddhist deities.” Simplifying as the nation of temples.
Some ancient Vanshavalis (chronologies) aver that the Emperor Ashoka (272-232 BC) came to Nepal and built four stupa mounds which are still extant at the four cardinal points surrounding the Kathmandu Valley.
Nepalese woodwork has a long history too. Despite the fact that ancient wood works have been lost to posterity owing to the ravages at time, some excellent specimens of traditional woodwork can still be seen in old temples, monasteries and residential buildings in Nepal particularly in the shape of windows, struts, doorways and balconies.
The pagoda style of Nepalese architecture marks a singularly distinctive attainment by earlier Nepalese generation- a style of temples that are made of bricks and woods above which rises a series of one to five progressively diminishing hipped roofs, like the well known Pashupatinath in Kathmandu.
The stupa is hemispherical mound as a monumental shrine with stone Buddha images tugged into niches around the base and with a cubical tower atop the mound bearing four pairs of mystic “all seeing eyes” facing four directions. Like the well known swayambhu Nath and Bouddha Nath of Kathmandu.
The curvilinear or pyramidal tower known as Shikhara is three storied stoned temple like Krishna mandir at Patan.
Early Nepalese painting (Manuscripts, Puvas or Thankas and Patas) can be illustrated with the Astha shsrika Pragya Pramita dated 1015 AD.