Expat Magazine

Ten Things That Are Unique To Nepal (Which Make It Different From India)

By Hanna

Being neighbours and quite similar countries within South Asia, Nepal and India often get conjoined in people’s mind. Many times have I heard that Nepal is within India or that it is practically India by its nature but not by name. However, these are all silly misconceptions. Nepal is a beautiful country full of its own culture and heritage which differs in so many ways from India.

Without further ado, here are my favorite ten things that make Nepal different from India:

1) Mount Everest

Nepal is the home to the beautiful Mount Everest which continuously brings visitors to Nepal who want to trek! The Himalayas can often be seen around Nepal – granted if it is the right time of year. But what a majestic view!

himilaya nepal

2) Densest World Heritage Site Collection

Nepal has many UNESCO sites. There are seven in Kathmandu alone! All inscribed in 1979. Living within walking/travelling distance of all of these sites definitely helped make up for the pollution and crowding in Kathmandu.unesco sights

3) Tika

(No not curry!) Tika is a thick red paste made with yogurt. It normally has lumps of rice inside it. Tikka is applied from the elder onto the forehead of the younger person. It is used in all special occasions, religious festivals, birthdays and even if you are traveling. It is auspicious and beautiful!

tika

4) Dashain and Tihar Festivals

Dashain and Tihar are different festivals, Dashain starts around September/October and celebrates the victory of Gods over evil for fifteen days – it is the biggest festival of the year. Of course lots of Tika is applied to one another!

dashain

Dashain celebrations

Tihar is a five day festival that shortly follows Dashain. It includes a festival of lights similar to Diwali/Deepawali and the worship of Goddess Lakshmi. Both Dashain and Tihar are unique to Nepal.

tihar-dipawali-1

Tihar celebrations

5) A Funny Shaped Flag

Nepal is the ONLY non rectangular shaped flag in the modern world. That is pretty impressive. Instead it is composed of two triangles with a sun and a moon inside.  The flag is old and traditional.

The Nepali flag consists of red and blue. Apparently, the red represents anger, heat of Nepal and the fight of the Gurkhas, whilst the blue incorporates the water, mountains, and peace. However, that is not actually documented – so further adds to the mystery!

M and his friends took part in winning the world record for the largest human flag last summer!

M and his friends took part in winning the world record for the largest human flag last summer!

6) It Has Never Been Colonized

Unlike India, Nepal was never invaded by the British and never became part of the colony. This is one thing the Nepalese are fiercely proud of and adds to their national identity. Apparently, the British asked the Gurkhas to join them as they knew what they were up against. Definitely a case of: If you can’t beat ‘em – join ‘em.

nepal amp

7) The Birth Place of Lord Buddha

Lord Buddha’s birth place is in Nepal in a place called Lumbini. Many people are drawn to Nepal to visit the birth place of Lord Buddha. it is really is one of the most serene and beautiful experiences of my life. You can read more about Lord Buddha’s birth and Lumbini here.

lumbini

8) The Gurkha Army

As seen above in point 6. The Gurkha’s are world renowned for the ferocity and skill. They fight with kukri (a Nepalese knife). They are also stereotyped as having anger and a quick temper!

Gurkhas - 1986

9) A Living Goddess: Kumari

Nepal has some girls who are Kumari, that means a living goddess. The girl undergoes a rigorous checklist for certain criteria when she is a baby i.e. certain shape eyes, clean skin, etc. If she has all traits then she is said to be Kumari and is treated as a goddess until the day she gets her period.

There are some really interesting stories and interviews of the girls after there Kumari life. They talk about their experience having to start school and one Kumari even had to be taught how to walk again (as she never walked as Kumari).

kumari

10) Momos

Every Nepali loves momo! A yummy little steamed/fried dumpling filled with veggies or meat served in or alongside a spicy sweet tangy tomato chutney. It is heaven.

Even the process of making momo is drilled into everyone’s minds and everyone comes together and helps with some part of the preparation at home before enjoying the delicious food! You can also get momo with peanut chutney, chilli chutney, sweet chilli sauce and ketchup! All are AMAZING. Who doesn’t love such a versatile food.

So many momos - so many chutneys.. Life is amazing!

So many momos…so many chutneys…life is amazing!

Readers: Do you have any other interesting facts about Nepal to add? Or any other things that make it unique? 


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