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    This low-lying country has historic ties to India and Pakistan, but today maintains a wholly unique culture. Explore Bangladesh!

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    This archipelago nation is culturally diverse from big cities to isolated islands. Begin Your Journey!

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    Tucked away in this Middle Eastern country, the famed city of Petra (pictured) links the past to the present culture. Explore Jordan!

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    The mountains, including the Tian Shan Mountains (pictured), give Kyrgyzstan a unique culture, partially formed from this isolation from the mountains. Go Now!

NepalMost evidence points to the origin of the name Nepal coming from the word Nepa, which is a reference to the Newar Kingdom, which ruled the Kathmandu Valley; even today numerous Newars live in Nepal. However, most Hindus in the country believe Nepal is named after a sage named Ne, and the place he protected (pala means "place protected"), which was the Kathmandu Valley.



When most people hear the name Nepal the image of snow-covered mountains and sherpas tend to arise, however Nepal is not as mountainous as one would think. In fact most of the people live in the country's valleys and lowlands near the southern border, which is still at elevation, but much more livable. As one travels further north the mountains take over, the population density vastly decreases, and the culture substantially changes.

The few people that live in the mountains tend to have a culture and way of life more similar to that of Tibet as Buddhism dominates and the harsh weather conditions mean the people must make the most of the short growing season and limited number of animals. For these people life is focused on the land and animals for survival, while Buddhism contributes greatly to the way of life as many people are peaceful, somewhat introverted, and rarely eat meat as they hold a great respect for animals and the earth as a whole.

The diet is where most of the Nepalese unite; he majority of the people living in the lowlands or the mountain valleys are ethnically related to the Indians and most are Hindu. This faith also has a great amount of respect for animals and many of these people are vegetarian or eat very little meat. Beyond this similarity, the differences among the people are vast in nearly every other way. The country is home to dozens of languages, ethnicities, foods, dresses, and traditions, some of which are more common than others. Even the Hindus in Nepal are diverse as there are dozens of ethnic and cultural groups represented in the country.

The great number of differences in the country provide dozens of sub-cultures and moving from one mountain valley to the next seems to offer varying cultures. Despite the many small differences, the similarities tend to unite the people as most are peaceful people who live off the land to some degree.

Today Nepal remains ethnically as well as politically diverse, but the people share a common trait in that many live off the land and few make enough money to live the ideal lifestyle. Most people struggle financially as many houses are made from any supplies they could find and schools has few resources to improve. Today the poor conditions have encouraged the people to demand more from their government, but they can't seem to agree on the exact direction to move. This leaves many people in a state of despair, yet their kindness and welcoming attitude don't seem to show their economic struggles; little has changed in Nepal for the majority of people, no matter their ethnicity, language, or religion.

Information for Nepal was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks