Religion is an integral part of Nepali life. Temples, images, scared paintings are to be seen everywhere. Majority of the peoples are Hindu in Nepal, nevertheless Buddhism has also important place in this country. Hinduism and Buddhism are so closely connected in Nepal that it could take a life time’s study to understand the complexities of country religion life. Visitors to Hindu temple or Buddhist shrine are expected to be unshod as a mark of respect. In fact, a pair of open sandals is more convenient and comfortable while visiting the temples and stupas. In some of the temples, entrance may be prohibited for the non-Hindus. Leather articles are prohibited inside the temple precinct. It is better not to touch offerings or persons when they are on way to shrines. Beef is strictly prohibited among the Hindus. No female animal is killed for food. Walking around temple or Stupa is traditionally done clockwise. Generally, temples, Stupas and monuments are permitted to be photographed but it is better to seek permission first. Nepalese people greet the people by Namaste with two hands. Please do not touch the women by male and men by the women. Remove your shoes to enter in holy places and Temples. Do not touch the drinking vessel on your lips. The Nepalese people are friendly and hospitable by nature and the tourists in general will have no difficulty in adjustment; since the majority of our people live in rural areas, they have a simple and traditional outlook on life. Nepalese people live and share that with them. It is the spirit that we offer some practical guidelines that could help to make the stay delightful, homely and rewarding. With its diverse ethnic groups and traditional beliefs, Nepal has numerous cultural practices that may appear unusual to a person on his/her first visit to the country. However, to enjoy your stay in this remarkable country of white Himalayas and sparkling rivers it is important to take into consideration the different cultural aspects of the country. Here are the lists of things which may be helpful to you.
The form of greeting in Nepal is "Namaste" is performed by joining the palms together.
Before entering a Nepalese home, temple, and stupa remember to remove your shoes.
Be careful not to use your spoon, fork or hands being used for your eating to touch other's food, plate, cooking utensil or the serving dish. Do not eat from other people's plate and do not drink from other people's bottle or glass. It is considered impure by the Nepalese.
Never touch anything with your feet. This is considered an offence among Nepalese.
While travelling dress appropriately. Women should especially avoid dressing in skimpy outfits.
Seek permission first before entering a Hindu temple. Many Hindu temples do not allow westerners to enter.
Leather articles are prohibited to be taken inside the temple precinct.
Walking around temples or stupas is traditionally done clockwise.
Take photographs only after receiving permission for the object or person being photographed.
Public displays of affection between man and woman are frowned upon. Do not do something that is totally alien to our environment.
Remember, many times, when a person shakes his head from left to right, he may mean "Yes".
Develop a genuine interest to meet and talk to Nepalese people and respect their local customs.
VISITING A TEMPLE
Majority of the people are Hindu in Nepal. However, Sherpas and most other mountain people are Budhists. You are not allowed to make entry in Pashupatinath temple if you are wearing any material that is made of leather. It is better to ask for permission before photographing religious festivals, cremation grounds and inside the temple. If you meet the head Lama inside Buddhists gompa, it is appropriate to present him with a white silk scarf called a Khata. It is traditional to include a little donation to the gompa inside the folded Khata. The Lama will remove the Money. He will either keeps the Khata or place it around your neck as a blessing. Place the Khata in the hands of the Lama: do not place it around his neck.
MANI WALLS AND CHORTENS
Along many trails,you will see Mani walls. There are stones covered with the Tibetan Buddhists inscription ‘Om Mani Padme Hom’ usually translated as hail to the jewel in the lotus, though its true translation is much more complex and mysterious. In village areas where Tiberan influence exists, you will see chat-dear, poles decorated with long prayer flags, and Chortens, stone monuments in the middle of the trail. You should walk to the left side of all of these as the Buddhists do.
During a trek you will have many opportunities to photograph with local people. Some might not be interested to be photographed. Therefore, it is better to ask before photographing with woman. You might encounter with the cases of shyness which you can overcome with a smile or joke or by using telephoto lens, but don’t pay people for taking their picture.