With its special culture and history, the Kathmandu Valley to the Annapurna region, where ice-covered Himalayan peaks reach into the sky. Then to the semi-tropical Terai, where you can spot special birds, tigers, elephants, and rhinoceroses in Chitwan. Along the way, you will meet a number of special ethnic groups.
In the 45 years that I have been visiting Nepal, the Kathmandu Valley population has grown from about 200,000 to about 2.8 million. At the same time as the gigantic population growth, the suffocating exhaust gases have come. As a result, you rarely see the mountains that rise majestically above the hills. Nevertheless, the valley remains fascinating. Time and time again, I am surprised here how much is still original. Places like Bhaktapur – one of the three imperial cities – are actually getting more beautiful. When we stayed here, we felt alone among the Nepalese. Early in the morning, when people make their offerings, you see how religion controls all facets of daily life here. Just like elsewhere in Nepal, you notice here that Hinduism and Buddhism merge frictionless.
The valley has become a melting pot of just about all ethnic groups in Nepal. In contrast to the religions, these different groups do not always tolerate each other equally well. They often have conflicting interests. Try to weigh them up if the country is ruled by a coalition of sometimes 22 political parties. In addition, the same castes have been at the center of power for centuries, so administrators do not consider it important to be accountable to citizens. Nepal is still in the transition phase from an ancient monarchy to a republic. Although the caste system has been officially abolished and there is no formal relationship between caste and ethnicity, it is so entrenched in Nepalese society that the origin of a certain caste determines many people’s profession, future, and prestige. Here is the place to visit Kathmandu valley.
In a town, I was invited to a wedding within the supreme caste of Hinduism, the Brahmin. They were very wealthy, highly educated people; some of their cameras were more beautiful than mine.
“Why don’t you fight corruption and chaos?” I wondered. ” Is everything destined?”
A rhetorical question because this caste is in charge of each government, and the administration has not provided that answer for centuries. Fathom Nepal? It fails again and again. Every journey there makes the country more elusive and fascinating.
And the Nepalese? They seem to endure it passively. Apparently, there is so much positive power in these people. In our purposeful world, just laughing is a waste of our time. On the other hand, in Nepal, even in the poorest villages, you always see people smile on their faces.
The semi-tropical south is the Chitwan district, with the most famous wildlife park in Nepal. Here we are in the Terai, where huge rivers flow slowly through India’s flat, savanna-like landscape. Our lodge is located in Sauraha, less than 200 meters above sea level. Every night elephants pass through the river. In the background – about 120 kilometers away – the 8153 meters high Manaslu rises. Kumar and I look at each other speechlessly. Where in the world do you see such a height difference.
The Tharu live in the Terai. Ethnically, they are Indian peoples with Hindu culture, but they also believe that souls and spirits exist in plants, stones, or phenomena such as rivers. Therefore, before going into the woods, the Tharu ask the “forest spirits” for support. For centuries, these people lived in isolation because the swamps kept outsiders away, and the Terai was full of tigers and snakes. Moreover, the Tharu became resistant to malaria and thus did not die from this disease, which allowed them to maintain their unique culture for a long time.
That isolation was lifted in the 1950s when many swamps were drained. As a result, and also through the intensive use of DDT, malaria could be successfully combated. At least half of the Nepalese population now live in the Terai. For a long time, the Tharu lived as landless farmers who had to provide land-based labor. They were freed from that ‘serfdom’ by the Nepalese government in 2000 – but many still have no land, no work, or an income.
Recommended tour: Nepal Photography Tour
Nepal has the most remarkable mosaic of ethnic groups of all Himalayan countries. More than 60 different peoples live with their own culture and often their own language. Each people is divided into an endless number of sub-groups. Their lifestyle, their economy, and the architectural style of the houses are adapted to the height and climate zone. That diversity becomes even more complicated as the caste system cuts across most ethnic groups.