Religions in Nepal occupy a fundamental position in the life of Nepalese people. In the early 1990s, Nepal was declared to be only Hindu state in the world. But in 2006, following the revolution, Nepal has been declared to be a secular state.

There are diversity in religion in Nepal, as different races/ caste people follow different religion and have different faith but they have unity and respect to each other. The Hindus visit and worship at Buddhist monasteries/Gumba and Buddhists visit and worship at Hindu temples in Nepal.

Hindu Temple

» Hinduism in Nepal:Hinduism is the main religion of Nepal. According to 2001 census, approximately 80 percent of people identified themselves as Hindus.

The origin of Hinduism and fact of it:It is said that the people who stepped foot first in the ancient Nepal were the Aryans, their basic beliefs are also recorded in the Vedas [a collection of over one thousand religious hymns], who would follow the Hinduism.

Hinduism mainly has three main Gods – “Brahma”, [the creator] “Vishnu”, [the preserver] and “Shiva” [the destroyer].

Hindus, while who follow Brahma, do not usually perform the worship in religious ceremonies as, they believe, his role in the universe is finished.

Vishnu, whose primary duty is to preserve the world and all its beings and it is also believed that he has incarnated almost nine different times in this earth?

Shiva, the destroyer is believed to have manly three forms- “Natraj form”, the god of artistic skill, “anthropomorphic form” and the “Lingam form”. Most famous Lingam is situated in the north-west of Katmandu. In front of every Shiva temple, one usually can see a statue of “Nandi”, the divine bull that serves as the vehicle for Shiva. In anthropomorphic form, Shiva is depicted with his consort Parbati and usually holds a trident and a small drum. Another popular form of Shiva is terrifying “Bhairav”, who himself has a number of different forms.

Buddha Stupa

Buddhism in Nepal:Buddhism is said to be started in Nepal before 2500 years, since Siddhartha Gautama got enlightenment. Nepal is the meeting point for Indian and Tibetan Buddhist teachers. According to the census 2001, approximately 10 percent of the total population have identified as Buddhist.

The origin of Buddhism:Beliefs and practices of Buddhism in Nepal date back to the time of its founder, Prince Siddhartha Gautam, who was born in Lumbini (the south-west part of Nepal) in about 543 B.C. up to the age of twenty-nine, the young prince led a very sheltered life in the royal palace of his father, completely ignorant about the problems and suffering of people’s life outside the palace.

One day, he came outside the palace and was shocked at the sight of an old man, a sick person and a corpse. He realized that there was a lot of misery and unhappiness in the world. Then he decided to abandon his luxurious life in the royal palace in order to find for enlightenment and the real meaning of life.

For many years, Gautam wandered from place to place looking for a solution to the problems. Finally, while meditating under a Pipal tree, he became spiritually enlightened. Hereafter he is known as Lord Buddha (the enlightened one). Then he began to advocate the "four noble truths" to all who would listen.

According to this doctrine, people suffer because of their attachment to things and people; in other words, the root of all the problems is desire. These desires are the causes of all problems and sufferings. According to him, the suffering can be totally eliminated by following the "eightfold path"-right view, right intent, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right meditation.

He is said to be visited from place to place, teaching and converting hundreds of followers and died at the age of eighty. However, his many disciples continued spreading his teachings. At the same time Buddhism divided into two main schools of thoughts: Hinayana and Mahayana. The Followers of Hinayana do not worship idols of Buddha. Very few Nepalese Buddhists have adopted the Hinayana, Nepalese Buddhists have been following Mahayana teachings. One of the central beliefs of Mahayanists is that one can achieve nirvana by following the example of Bodhisattwa, which means enlightenment.

Nepal Mosque

Islam, Christianity, Bon and Others:Kirat, Islam, Christianity Bon and other religions are also practiced in Nepal. Some of the earliest inhabitants, like Kirats, practice their own kind of religion based on ancestor worshipping and the Tharus practice animism. According to the census of 2001 all these (Islam, Christianity, Bone, Kirat and others) occupy about 10 percent of the total population.