Population of Nepal was recorded to be about 25 million as of July 2002. Eighty-six percent of Nepalis follow Hinduism; while eight percent follow Buddhism and three percent follow Islam. Population comprises various groups of different races which are further divided into different castes. The distinction in caste and ethnicity is understood easily with a view of customary layout of the people. Some of the main groups are: Gurungs and Magars who live mainly in the western hilly region; Rais, Limbus and Sunwars lives in the eastern mid hills; Sherpas and Lopas live near the Mt. Everest Khumbu region. Annapurna and Mustang areas are mainly covered by Thakali, Pun and Mongolian people. Newar lives in and around the capital valley of Kathmandu. Tharus, Yadavas, Satar, Rajvanshis and Dhimals lives in the Terai region. And Brahmins, Chhetris and Thakuries are generally spread over all parts of the country.
Nepali is the official language of the State, spoken and understood by almost all the people. Multiple ethnic groups speak more than a dozen other languages in about 93 different dialects. English is spoken by young people in the cities and urban areas as well as in government and business offices.
The Northern Himalayan People
In the northern region of the Himalayas are the Tibetan-speaking people like Sherpa, Dolpas, Lopas, Manangis live in the northern Himalaya region. The Sherpas are mainly found in the east in the Solu and Khumbu region; the Baragaonlis and Lopas live in the semi-deserted areas of Upper and Lower Mustang in the Tibetan rain-shadow area; the Managis live in Manang district area; while the Dolpas live in Dolpa district of West Nepal, one of the highest settlements on earth at 4,000 meters.
The Middle Hills and Valley People
Several ethnic groups live together with harmony in the middle hills and valleys. Among them Magars, Gurungs, Tamangs, Sunuwars, Newars, Thakalis, Chepangs and majority of Brahmans and Chhetris are main habitant of this region. The Brahmans and Chhetris have long dominance in all pervade social, religious and political realm. There are also some occupational castes namely: Damai (tailor), Sarki (cobbler), Kami (blacksmith) and Sunar (goldsmiths).
Ethnic Diversity in the Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu Valley represents a cultural cauldron of the country, where, people from varied backgrounds have come together to present a melting pot. The natives of the Kathmandu Valley are the Newars. Newari culture is an integration of both Hinduism and Buddhism. The Newars of Kathmandu Valley were well recognizes as traders or farmers by occupation in the past.
The Terai People
The main ethnic groups of Terai are Tharus, Darai, Kumhal, Majhi and other groups that have roots in India. They speak north Indian dialects like Maithili, Bhojpuri. Owing to the fertile plains of Terai, most inhabitants live on agriculture. There are, however, some occupational castes like Majhi (fisherman), Kumhal (potter) and Danuwar (cart driver).
- Nepali is the official language of Nepal. All most 75% of people use it as their mother tongue. This is widely spoken throughout the country, as well as some parts of India like: Uttaranchal, Darjelling, Silguri, Bhutan and Manmar. There are as many as 126 listed languages spoken in Nepal. Out of these, three languages, Dura, Kusunda and Waling have become extinct. Nepali is also medium language to other dialect group. Apart from Nepali, the other most commonly spoken languages in Nepal are:-
k) Urdu etc…