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People of Nepal: A Photographic Journal

Updated on August 3, 2017
An elderly woman at Boudha Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal
An elderly woman at Boudha Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal | Source

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Nepal: A Colorful Mix of Cultures

The population of Nepal is a like a group of tribes -- known as castes -- who co-exist (though not always peacefully) and intermingle, but they are still very distinct. A melting pot it is not.

Included in the mix are three main ethnic groups and more than forty castes speaking over one hundred languages. There are also Tibetan refugees, Buddhist monks from all of the world, transplants and seasonal workers from India, and Western expats living full-time in the country.

Nepali people often wear colorful clothing and, to my Western eyes, are quite exotic. I was fascinated by the myriad of cultures and customs, often so different from my own.

I'm not a photographer per se, but I did get hooked on taking photos while I was in Nepal for three months. At first, I was very shy about taking pictures of people, but I gained confidence and, I dare say, some skill as time went on. The following are a handful of the hundreds of photos of the Nepali people I took during my stay. I hope you'll enjoy these images.

All photographs on this page are the property of Deb Kingsbury--that would be me--and may not be used for any purpose without permission. Feel free to contact me through my profile link if you'd like to use something here, and I'll most likely say yes, as long as credit and a link are given.

People of Nepal.... - A Holy Man (or is he?) at Boudha Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal

A sadu, or holy man
A sadu, or holy man | Source

This is a sadu or holy man. Or he appears to be, that is. I was told there are "fakes," who dress that way for better luck with panhandling. I can't say for sure if he was the real thing or not. Then again, to me, it didn't really matter.

An old Buddhist monk at Bouhda Stupa in Kathmandu.

An old Buddhist monk
An old Buddhist monk | Source

Make that a nun? I've been corrected by someone who's actually spoken to this woman at the stupa on more than one occasion, finding her in the same spot a year later.

I took another photo of this person on a different day, wearing a bright blue, knit Nike cap. In that picture, she's sitting in the same place, wearing her robes and holding prayer beads exactly the same way.

This was also taken at Boudha Stupa in Kathmandu. I don't know what she was looking at or what her reaction means.

A woman at Boudha Stupa in Kathmandu
A woman at Boudha Stupa in Kathmandu | Source

Two women, a baby, and a tailor in Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal. I didn't see the person in shadow in the doorway when I took the picture.

Two women, a baby and a tailor in Thamel, Kathmandu
Two women, a baby and a tailor in Thamel, Kathmandu | Source

Just beyond this quiet square, the street was filled with people,bicycles, mopeds, cars, dogs and even an occasional chicken.

I love this little girl's smile. I pointed to my camera, gesturing to ask her permission, and she smiled even wider.

A friendly girl in Kathmandu
A friendly girl in Kathmandu

I took this photo of the Nepali child while stuck in traffic. I was in a sweltering taxi, on the way to the airport in Kathmandu to fly to the smaller city of Pokhara. I didn't have much time to spare when I finally got to the airport.

Not an uncommon scene in Kathmandu, I'm afraid. This was taken at the temple Boudha Stupa.

Taken at Boudah Stupa in Kathmandu
Taken at Boudah Stupa in Kathmandu | Source

I was told this man, like a number of others seen panhandling in the area, had leprosy, but I don't know if that was true.

Taken in Kathmandu. I assumed a parent or guardian was nearby, but I didn't see anyone obviously watching him.

A little boy at Boudha Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal
A little boy at Boudha Stupa, Kathmandu, Nepal | Source

A Nepali friend told me that it's not uncommon for parents to place their small children along the streets to panhandle (or just sit next to a dish to collect money), while Mom or Dad watches from nearby. Apparently, they want the children to appear to be orphans in order to gain sympathy ... and money. I did notice a little plate next to (to the right in the photo) this little boy, but there was nothing in it, so I'm not sure if that was for donations.

A man prays at Boudha Stupa. He would get up, gesture, take a step, lie down, and so forth, continuing around the stupa multiple times.

A man prays at Boudha Stupa
A man prays at Boudha Stupa | Source

I saw this same type of worship going on even when the stupa was extremely crowded. People would just walk past or even step over those lying down.

A Nepali man and his prayer beads

A man studies his prayer beads at Boudha Stupa
A man studies his prayer beads at Boudha Stupa

I love this moment between friends.

A special moment between friends
A special moment between friends

Taken at Boudha Stupa in Kathmandu. To me, this is one of my best shots.

Taken at Boudah Stupa in Kathmandu
Taken at Boudah Stupa in Kathmandu

Plowing rice paddies in Pokhara, Nepal. Those are water buffalo.

A man plowing a rice paddy in Pokhara, Nepal
A man plowing a rice paddy in Pokhara, Nepal

As my friends and I were hiking up a steep hill overlooking Phewa Lake, we walked alongside terraced rice paddies in various stages of growth. Some, like this one, were just being prepared for re-planting, while others were ready for harvest, and others yet were still growing.

Rice paddy planting in Pokhara

Paddy planting in Pokhara, Nepal
Paddy planting in Pokhara, Nepal

A Guide To Nepal's Culture - I wish I'd read this BEFORE I went to Nepal....

...but it was interesting to read through a friend's copy when I got back. I did a lot of nodding and learned more about what I'd experienced when I was there.

Nepal - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
Nepal - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

One reviewer writes:

"I purchased this book before traveling to Nepal on a medical mission earlier this year. If you only have time to read one book about Nepal-this should be the one! Written by a woman who lived in Nepal for two years,Ms.Feller captures everything you need to know to prepare you for the culture of this fascinating country. Had I not read the book, I would have been unaware of the significance of unusual details i.e. extra long fingernail,body language-sideways rocking of the head,etc. The book is small and easy to pack."

 

© 2010 Deb Kingsbury

Comments or Questions About Nepal Or My Photos?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      That old monk is actually an old lady:) I spoke to her once during my visit to Kathmandu and then once more the following trip next year, and both times found her in that same spot.

    • profile image

      Ecking 4 years ago

      Looks like an interesting adventure. I used to work with Nepali refugees. One sweet story was when a Nepali women came to the U.S. and waited years for her fiance, who also applied as a refugee, for him to come to the United States. It was quite the love story.

    • VineetBhandari profile image

      VineetBhandari 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 4 years ago from Kansas

      Planning a trip to Nepal. Excited to experience the culture. And I'll be taking my camera!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures of Nepal.

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      Returned to Bless

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos on Squidoo.

      I really enjoyed reading this lens.

    • profile image

      Truthmusica 5 years ago

      Great lens, Thanx a lot for this one..........

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Fantastic photos. I'm from UK and love walking in mountains. Would love to visit Nepal one day

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Nice lens

    • wolvyz profile image

      wolvyz 5 years ago

      A diverse place with a diverse population. This country would certainly be a heaven on earth if it weren't for these political problems going on regularly.

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      Stunning photos, great lens

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 5 years ago

      A fascinating glimpse at this land and its people. I especially liked your image of the man using water buffalo to plow the rice paddy.

    • BenJacklin LM profile image

      BenJacklin LM 5 years ago

      fascinating, great snaps!

    • EcoPottiJo profile image

      EcoPottiJo 5 years ago

      Beautiful pics of the Nepal that I loved when I was there.

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      Realistic pictures. Not the run of the mill kind.

    • TravelDiaries profile image

      TravelDiaries 5 years ago

      Amazing pictures....wish you had even more.....

    • vkumar05 profile image

      vkumar05 5 years ago

      Great photographs, Awesome Lens.

    • profile image

      cmadden 5 years ago

      Great lens, great shots!

    • profile image

      Lindrus 5 years ago

      You have some wonderful shots here! Love your lens! Thanks

    • jackieb99 profile image

      jackieb99 5 years ago

      LOVE your pics! It's a country I would love to visit.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 5 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Lovely pictures of Nepal! I've always wanted to go there myself. Although my fascination is more with India:)

    • Phillyfreeze profile image

      Ronald Tucker 5 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Excellent photo gallery that captures some of the daily lifestyles that one can find in the ancient city of Kathmandu and surrounding countryside.

    • CoeGurl profile image

      CoeGurl 5 years ago from USA

      These are wonderful photographs of the people of Nepal. Often we don't see the faces of the people on travel web sites, so this is a real treat.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Reminds me of our stay in Nepal. We had so much fun there.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Lovely photos! You are right about the 'colorful' clothing worn by the Napali people. My favorite shots are the ones in the rice paddies.

    • profile image

      MagnoliaTree 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your photos-- they bring back so many memories and feelings! When I went to Kathmandu there were no mobile phones or digital cameras-- and my cameras and flashlights always seemed to die right away! :) The people were so nice and peaceful-- so different from the Calcutta that I flew out of!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      Very fascinating and compelling. Nepal is on my short list, and has been for some time, in terms of places I wish to experience in my lifetime. Really enjoyed the stories embedded in your photos. What an amazing journey you have had! Thanks for sharing it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing such a lovely lens about the people of Nepal. The photos are beautiful giving a glimpse of the culture of Nepal. My own ancestral village is at the border of India and Nepal with river flowing in between and the majestic snow clad mountains of Himalayas can be seen very near.

    • WANDERINGWONDER1 profile image

      WANDERINGWONDER1 6 years ago

      I love this lens! hihihi! learned a lot and saw a lot of things. The old man lying face down on the street is actually praying. That's easy for him to do, wait till you see some of them who does that at the slope of a mountain through a pass... literally for kilometers at a time and you'll be amazed at what man can actually do. I would like this lens coz I really like it.

      Not many culture like these exist in the age of capitalism and media. The first question that we would all not be asking once in Nepal would be "where's the remote?" and the first statement we'd all be used to saying would be "Brrr! The waters too cold!" I wonder if I'd survive a simple life without tv and everything. The last time I worked in a place where I had no tv I only stayed for 3 months instead of a year... I think I wouldn't be able to make it out the airport in Nepal... :D

      And yes... I missed your critiques... :D

    • mivvy profile image

      mivvy 6 years ago

      beautiful photos. Your lens gives a wonderful impression of nepal

    • malloryjane profile image

      malloryjane 6 years ago

      Awesome! I love photos that capture people in their element, and you did an excellent job of this. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • malloryjane profile image

      malloryjane 6 years ago

      Awesome! I love photos that capture people in their element, and you did an excellent job of this. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • dustytoes profile image

      dustytoes 6 years ago

      Beautiful pictures - thank you for sharing!

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 6 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Nepal always seems so colorful! I love the two friends one, I don't think they were aware of you taking the picture, it looks very natural

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 6 years ago

      Spectacular Photos Deb! :)

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 6 years ago from California

      Oh I enjoyed this. You have captured some great photos showing a variety of activities. I can't wait to see your book, and actually you probably have enough info for several articles too :)

    • I-sparkle profile image

      I-sparkle 6 years ago

      Have you written any books? Great pictures, the photography is exemplary on this lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      It felt like I just took a trip there, wow wonderful photos on this Lens!! This provides info. on a Country that is offen forgot about, Nice Work!!

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 6 years ago from Sweden

      I love your photos! Colours, events, people and country!

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 6 years ago

      Hey your pictures look just fine to me. A local girl here has just returned from a trip to Nepal and I'm looking forward to seeing her pictures and hearing about her travels too.

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 6 years ago

      Great pictures. I'd say you ARE a photographer :)

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      Thank you for sharing these amazing photos! You have a real eye for a great shot.

    • Jack2205 profile image

      Jack 6 years ago

      A few years ago, a woman from Nepal got hired where I worked. She told the people that worked there all about the country. She only worked there about a year. Your pictures are beautiful.

    • ssuthep profile image

      ssuthep 6 years ago

      Nepal is certainly a fascinating place. Even though I have spent many years in India and have trekked around the mountains near Nepal, I have never actually visited the country. Hopefully I can visit someday soon. Great information here and very well presented.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Terrific lens. Informative and so well illustrated.

    • Peregrina LM profile image

      Peregrina LM 6 years ago

      I love your photos! They're really beautiful.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Beautiful pictures Deb. I loved being able to see the people of Nepal here.

      That must have been a big culture shock for you to go there. It would be for me.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 6 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Wonderful photos! You really captured the people of Nepal!