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Culture Nepal

Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Section editor

Nepal : Discover the country's culture

Read

"Into Heart of the Himalayas: Nepal" by Alexandra David-Neel.




Guides

Nepal. Lonely Planet 2006.






Music




Nepal : Discover the country's history

Historical dates

Circa 550 BC, birth of Buddha in Lumbini.
299 BC, founding of Patan.
2nd century, beginning of the reign of the Licchavi, which lasted until the 8th century. Spectacular development of the arts and culture.
8th century, the Thakuri dynasty established their power for two centuries.
Circa 1200, beginning of the Malla dynasty.
14th century, Muslims invaded the Kathmandu valley. King Jayashiti Malla created the caste system.
15th century, reign of Yaksha Malla, from 1428 to 1480. When he died, the kingdom was shared out between his four children.
16th century, period of unrest and divisions.
17th century, King Pratap Malla provided the valley with monuments.
1768, the chief of Ghorka, Prithvi Narayan, united Nepal.
1792, Gurkha soldiers launched a campaign for the conquest of Tibet; the Chinese retaliated and threatened Kathmandu. The king of Nepal required an armistice and signed a peace treaty with China who demanded the payment of a tribute, maintained until 1911.
1813-1815, war against Britain, come as far as Kathmandu. The Nepalese king had to sign a peace treaty.
1846, beginning of the Rana dynasty, who reigned for over a century.
1924, Chandra Samsher abolished slavery and attempted some reforms.
1934, the monuments of the valley were damaged by a violent earthquake.
1947, King Tribhuvana Bir Bikram opposed the Ranas' conservative politics. In November 1950, he went into exile to India where he was welcomed by Nehru and became leader of the Nepalese nationalist forces. Beginning of the civil war.
February 1951, the Ranas were destituted and the king regained power. He created a constitutional monarchy and attempted to establish democratic values.
1955, King Tribhuvana died. His son Mahendra Bir Bikram created the Constitution of Nepal (Panchayat system, no parties).
1972, King Mahendra died. His son, Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, succeeded him. Crowned with great pomp and ceremony on February 24th 1975, he declared Nepal a "peace zone".
March 1989, Nepal fell victim to an Indian order of economic blockade.
April 1990, the army violently repressed a popular demonstration in Kathmandu, for the return of democracy.
November 1990, abolition of the Panchayat system and creation of a new Constitution.
1991, victory of the Congress party (of social-democrat type) which became the largest party in Parliament. Girija Prasad Koirala, the leader, was appointed Prime minister.
November 1994, victory of the communist party at the legislative elections. Their leader became Prime minister. But the government had to resign less than a year later. Period of political turmoil.
1998, Koirala was named Prime minister again.
May 1999, the Congress party won the legislative elections.
June 2001: Prince Gyanendra became king of Nepal after his brother King Birendra was assassinated at the age of 55 by his son Dipendra, heir to the throne, who later killed himself.

Nepal : Stay up to date on the country's holidays and events

Events

The dates of Nepalese festivities, mostly religious, may vary by a few days (they are given here following the Christian calendar).
January-February.
11th January:
National Unity Day.
31st January 2009
Vasant Panchami: celebrations for the beginning of spring.
29th January 2009:
Martyr Day.
February-March:
23rd February 2009:
Shivaratri (Shiva's festival, Nepal's tutelary god).
Lhosar: Tibetan New Year, celebrated essentially in Bodnath.
18th February 2009:
Democracy Day.
8th march 2009:
Holi Or Fagu: colour festival, celebrating the end of year, on the full moon of the month of Phalgun.
March-April:
8th March:
International women's day.
During the month of March:
Hindi New Year.
Godha Jatra: Horse festival, in Kathmandu.
Chaite Dashain: celebrations dedicated to goddess Bhagwati.
3rd April :
Ram Jyanti.
14th April:
Bangla Naba Barsha - Navabarsha.
2nd may 2009 :
Buddha's birthday
During the month of August:
Krishnastami: god Khrishna's birthday.
August 2009
Janai Purnima: very popular festival which takes place on the full moon, either at Kumbheshwar temple in Patan, or at Lake Gosainkund, in the north of the valley of Kathmandu.
Agust 2009 :
Gaijatra: Cow festival, which takes place in the valley, the day after Janai Purnima. The most remarkable is Bhaktapur's.
September :
Teej: Women's Day.
During the month of September:
Indrajatra: end of the monsoon. A whole week of festivities starting around the end of September in front of Hanuman Dhoka palace, in Kathmandu.
September:
Vijaya Dashami.
9th November:
Constitution Day.
During the month of November:
Deepavali.