Nepal & other World Cultures

Nepal due to its stategic location from the North Indian Gangetic Plain (in Nepal known as the Terai, which is the northern most part of the plain region) on the south to the Tibetan Plateau to the north has in fact long been an epicentre of Pan-Asian cultural development and source of influence on neighbouring lands, specifically the Sino-Tibetan and the Indian sub-continent. Nepal retained the original form of Buddhism (Theravada) when this was largely abandoned in the Indian sub-continent, and has in turn through Buddhist orientated culture (from architecture to forms of belief, customs and ancient scriptures) been a significant contributor to Chinese Buddhist culture, and by extension other lands of east Asia.

Most of the countries inhabitants (in the area of 88%) follow Nepali forms of Hinduism and with it the associated culture that spans all areas of life from festivals to rural shrines and major temple complexes, to caste systems, because much of Nepal fell within the Indian sub-continent area where Hindu belief systems and related civilisation were born; however it is distinct in haing a strong and dynamic devotional relationship with most forms  of Nepali Buddhism (a little like Daoists and Buddhists and Confucianists in China having diffrences yet a strong interrelationship associated with the Chinese culture per se).

To this day, and perhaps so than ever, Nepal is therefore looked too by its larger neighbours — the Republic of India and China — to the south and north and east as a spiritual land of special significance in retaining still forms of belief and sacred pilgrimage sites such as Lumbini, Pashupatinath temple, Bouddanath stupa, Janakpur — associated with great reverance in the minds and hearts of hundreds of millions of believers in both lands.

However, Nepal has a further relationship with other world cultures, namely with the West.  It is often not realised the scale of sacrifice of lives (in the order of hundreds of thousands) and incredible service that the Gurkha soldiery of the British army have been making for almost 200 years since the signing of the Treaty of Sugauli. In this way Nepali citizens have shaped world history.  However today, the relationship with Western cultures has been characterised by many visitors coming to Nepal not only for mountaineering and trekking purposes, but deliberately because of the unique attraction of Nepal as the spiritual epicentre of Asia, where so many ancient and diverse spiritual traditions and religious-spiritual belief systems thrive — this is where Nepal teaches the world, and in so doing is abl;e to disseminate too, its cultural heritage to influence the lives of many who visit the nation and become de facto ambassadors for the country as a unique place of spiritual learning, the friendliness of its people, and for its diverse cultural heritage.