Nepal has a population of more than 25 million consisting of more than 100 ethnic groups having different cultures and spoken languages. The majority of Nepal's population is of indo-Aryan origin, the remaining are of Tibetan and Bhotia, inhabitants of northern Nepal and Mongoloid inhabitants of the central belt.
Major Ethnic Groups
Kathmandu has been the homeland of Newar community. The Newars are inhabitants of a Tibeto-Burman origin who speak in Newari as well as Nepali. The Newars are among the largest indigenous groups of Nepal and make up the 7% of the total population. Several Newari families follow Buddhism as well as Hinduism. The people of this group usually inclines towards commerce, trade and farming. They excel in art, literature, sculpturing, casting bronze, silver and fascinating forms of architecture.
Brahmins are the priestly class of Indo-Aryan origin, also known as Bahuns, occupying the highest position in the Hindu hierarchy. They are said to have come to Nepal from different parts of India. Today, they are found in every part of Nepal and have taken up different occupations.
Chhetris, who look like the Brahmins also have an Indo-Aryan origin, have been traditionally classified as warriors and administrators. They are recognized for their bravery and administrative skills. Today, they are proportionately distributed in almost all the parts of Nepal. They have been working in different fields. They are said to have originally come from northern India during and after the time of Lord Buddha. The Khas are generally regarded as Bahuns and Chhetris who set up their own kingdoms in the past in the far-western parts of Nepal.
They are originally belonging to the Tibet-Burman ethnic group, live mostly in the central region of Nepal in places like the foothills of western part. The Gurungs are good farmers as well as warriors. They look like the Rais, Limbus and Magars, have introduced themselves internationally as the brave Gurkha-soldiers.
The Kirantis are among the first group of people ruling over Nepal. Ancient Hindu texts like Himvat-Khanda and Mahabharat have mentioned their names. They basically come from eastern Nepal. These people are of Tibeto-Burman origin, worship their ancestors and at the same time follow Buddhism, Hinduism, Animism and so on. They are very good farmers and warriors. They are rich in culture and have several languages and scripts.
The Magars, having Tibeto-Burman origin, live in the western region of Nepal. They speak the Tibeto-Burman language and are Hindu by faith but they also follow Buddhism. The Magars are mostly farmers but their martial qualities and physical fitness have made them perfect soldiers.
They are said to have come from Tibet, speak the Tibeto-Burman language and live in the Himalayan region of Nepal. They are hardworking, friendly and reliable. The largest Sherpa settlements are in SoluKhumbu at the foothill of Mt. Everest. The Sherpas are known for adventurous mountaineers of international repute.
They are the only people living in the forest of the Terai along the southern base of Nepal. Their age-old religion has been Animism that often reflects their mixed belief in Hinduism and Buddhism. They are said to be descendants of the Rajput (ruling class) of India, have spread from eastern to western part of Nepal.