Nepal has four major caste systems with 36 sub-castes who speak 123 languages as their mother-tongue. These communities have their own distinct culture and tradition. Each part of Nepal, from East to West, or North to South, has its own cultural setting. Tradition, religion, belief, language, social organization and people are the important aspects of culture in Nepal. Sacred pilgrimage sites, historical monuments and memorials reflect richness of Nepalese culture. Hindu and Buddhist traditions in Nepal can be traced back to more than two millenias. Majority of religious places in Nepal have majorly Hindu and Buddhist temples, monasteries and shirnes.
The cultural heritage of Nepal has evolved over the centuries. This multi-dimensional heritage encompasses the diversities of Nepal’s ethnic, tribal, and social groups, and it manifests in music and dance; art and craft; folklore and folktales; languages and literature; philosophy and religion; festivals and celebration; foods and drinks. Its culture is mostly influenced by Indian, Mongolian and Tibetan culture. With altitudes and ethnicity, the dances, food and language of Nepal slightly change in style as well as in the clothes they wear.
Nepal has Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha and Pashupatinath temple, the religiously important Shiva temple of Hindus. Nepal is called the land of temples as there are more than 300 temples and monasteries. Nepal has several other temples, Buddhist monasteries, church, masjid as well as places of worship of other religious groups. Traditionally, Nepalese philosophical thoughts are ingrained with the Hindu and Buddhist philosophical ethos and traditions. Nepal was declared a secular country by the Parliament on May 18, 2006. So the religions practiced in Nepal are: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, Bon, ancestor worship and animism. Tantric traditions are deep rooted in Nepal, including the practice of animal sacrifices. Five types of animals, always male, are considered acceptable for sacrifice: water buffalo, goats, sheep, chickens, and ducks. Cows are very sacred animals and are never considered acceptable for sacrifice.
Nepal does not have a distinct cooking style. However, food habits differ depending on the region. Nepali food has been influenced by Indian and Tibetan styles of cooking. Authentic Nepali taste is found in Newari and Thakai cuisines and most Nepalease eat with their right hand. The regular Nepali meal is dal (lentil soup), bhat (boiled rice) and tarkari (curried vegetables), often accompanied by achar (pickle). Curried meat is very popular along with Momos (steamed or fried dumplings). Momos are the most popular snack among Nepalease. You can find Rotis (flat bread) and dhedo (boiled flour) in the areas outsite Kathmandu.