INTRODUCTION
Nepal is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-lingual nation. Pluralism and diversity are its unique and notable features. As the pace of transformation intensifies, there is merit in preserving a representative sample of existing lifestyles as a testament to the magnificent diversity of Nepal's cultural forms - our most cherished and unique practices, beliefs, customs and material aspect of our multi cultural society - for future generation. Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) and Nepal National Ethnographic Museum (NNEM) has joined hands to develop this museum into reality.

Realizing the dearth of reliable information outlet that showcases Nepal's unparalleled ethnic and cultural heterogeneity, a museum with joint venture of NTB and NNEM has been developed within the Tourist Service Center (TSC) premises. The Museum aims to function as a living resource center to inform and educate both Nepalese and foreign visitors/tourists interested to know and learn about Nepal's architecture, and culture (customs life styles and folkways).


FEATURES OF THE MUSEUM
The museum is established in two halls located on the 1st floor of (TSC) at Bhrikuti Mandap. A permanent exhibition of eleven different ethnic communities ( the Thakali, the Sherpa, the Tamang, the Gurung, the Rai, the Limbu, the Chepang, the Jyapu of Newar group, the Magar, the Sunwar, and the Tharu) is affixed in the diorama hall and a periodic exhibition of individual ethnic community has been showcased in the ethnographic itemization of entire life cycle in ethnic exhibition hall. The Museum showcases the ethnographic details of the following eleven ethnic communities:

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THE TAMANG
Tamsaling bordered by Likhu Koshi river in East, Budhi Gandaki in West, Mahabharat range in South and Himalayan range in North is the main homeland of Tamang Community. The population of the Tamang is 1282304 (5.46%). They speak their own language survived by oral tradition. They are Buddhist but they recognize their civilization and cultural heritage deeply rooted in tangible and intangible heritage like language, script, arts, crafts and folklore etc. in distinct and unique mix of Bonism , Buddhism and Tambaism. Tamang community is divided into different clans. They practice cross-cousin marriage and does not allow to change the title of woman into her husbands clans. Lhochhar is their main festival. They have their own priests known as Lama, Bombo and Tamba. Tamang village (Nansa) with a house (dim) is a geographical entity into life-force and prayer flags stand by.

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THE GURUNG
Gandaki zone consisting of Lamjung, Kaski, Tanahu, Gorkha, Syangja and Manang in Western region around Annapurna Mountain range is the traditional homeland of the Gurungs. The Gurungs are known by 'Tamu' and their traditional tributaries were called Tamuwan. The Gurungs belong to Tibeto-Burman group and are divided into various clan groups. The population of the Gurung is 543571 (2.39%). The traditional occupation of the Gurung community was largely based on sheep herding. They are Buddhist and have their own language. They have priests: Pajyu, Ghyabri and Lama. Nogar and Huri are the main cultural practices concerning the farming. They are well known by "Rodhni" a cultural institution also. The Gurung youths are recruited in the British and Indian armies too.

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THE THARU
The Tharu is one of the ethnic groups of Nepal found through out Terai region from east to west. They have been living mainly in Dang and Chitwan districts including Bardiya, Kailali, Kanchanpur, Morang, Saptari and Jhapa. The population of the Tharu is 1533879 (6.75%).They have their own dialect. They are divided into various clan groups. They have deep affiliation with forest and river. They love fishing. The Tharu women have a fancy for tattooing and use silver bangles, nose rings and anklets. They have their own witch doctor known as Guruba. Each Tharu village has a deity known as Bhuinyar. Holi and Maghi are the major festivals. Agriculture is the main occupation.

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THE MAGAR
The Magars are the inhabitants of Bar Magarat (East of Ridi) and Athar Magarant (West of Ridi). Athar Magrant consists of Bheri, Rapti and Dhaulagiri regions with Kham or Athar language and Bar Magarant consists of Tanahnu, Palpa and Gorkha districts. Thus, they have been divided into two group: Bar Panthi and Athar Panthi. The population of the Magar is 1622421 (7.14%). They have three language group: Athar Magarat (Kham), Kaike and Magaranti. Rama, Jaisi and Dhami are the priests. They have their own language which comes under the category of the Tibeto - Burman family. Agriculture is their main occupation. The Magar youths are also recruited in British, Indian and Nepal armies.

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THE RAI
The Rai belongs to the Kiranti group. They are also known as Khambu . They have been scattered mainly in Eastern Nepal. The population of the Rai is 635151 (2.79%). They are divided into different clan groups: Thulung, Bantawa, Chyamlung and Khaling. Their religion is Karanti and they have their own language. More than 30 languages are spoken by different clan groups. Agriculture is their main occupation. Rai youths are brave and courageous and are recruited in British and Indian armies. They love ornaments. Aarakha, a kind of liquor, is culturally very important. Sakela (Chandi Dance) celebrated in Chandi Purnima is popular in their community. Yele, Dhol and Jhyamta are their important musical instruments.

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THE NEWAR
Kathmandu valley is the original homeland of the Newar community but due to their involvement in business they are found to have settled in district headquarters all over the country. The population of the Newar is1245232 (5.48%). They have different clan groups as Jyapu, Shrestha, Vajracharya, Tuladhar, Tamrakar, Manandhar, Shakya, Mulmi etc. They have been divided into Hindu and Buddhist groups. They have been stratified into different groups similar to caste system. The main festivals include Kumari Jatra, Indrajatra, Bisket Jatra, Bhote Jatra, Ghode Jatra and Machhendranath Jatra etc. The Newari feast consists of various food items with different taste such as Thno (jand) and Chhoyala.

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THE SHERPA
Solokhumbu, located at eastern hill region of Nepal, is the homeland of the Sherpas. The population of the Sherpa is 154622 (0.68%). They are known as the mountain people as they are involved in trekking. Because of their success to climb-up the Mount Everest, they are well known in the world. They communicate in their own dialect. They are Buddhist by their religious belief. Lhosar, celebrated as the New Year, is the main festival of the Sherpa. In addition, Dumjee, Fangi, Yarchyang are other festivals. The main food item of the Sherpa community is made from uwa-a wheat variety. However, liquor consumption and food prepared from potato are very famous among the Sherpas.

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THE THAKALI
The Thakalis traditionally are the inhabitants of Thaksatsaya of Mustang district. However, they are found in Bhairahawa, Pokhara and Kathmandu too. They have different clan groups. The population of the Thakali is 12973 (0.06%). They have their own language from Tibeto-Burman family. The major festivals are Lhafewa (Bar Barse Kumbha Mela), Tornala (ancestral worship) and Falo (Kumar Yatra). Dhnom is the Thakali priest who works as the local shaman. Madal, Khaprang, and Thamken are their main musical instruments. They believe in Bon religion as well. The literacy rate of the Thakali community is quite high (63%). They are known as business group with grand success and "Dhikuri" is an indigenous cooperative institution of the Thakalis.

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THE CHEPANG
The Chepangs have been living in Makawanpur, Chitawan, Gorkha and Dhading districts. The population of the Chepang is 52237 (0.23%). Most of them are illiterate and are economically marginalized. The Chepang settlement is often on very steep land, unfertile and not easily accessible. They practice slash and burn cultivation too. They have their own language. Chhonam (Nwagi) is the main festival. They are expert in fishing, food gathering and hunting. They practice bat hunting. Chiuri, a type of fruit tree, holds a cultural importance. They consume Chiuri, extracts oil from its dry beads and uses the its fruit extracts for fishing. They believe on their indigenous shaman known as Pande (a witch doctor) who treats the sick person through his Dhyangro, a one sided drum.

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THE SUNWAR
The Sunwar are the inhabitants of Likhukhola of Okhaldhunga district. Traditionally, they were the hunter-gatherers. The population of the Sunwar is 95254 (0.42%). They have their own dialect from Tibeto-Burman family. Chandi Purnima, Marga Shukla Purnima (the full moon day sometime in November) is their main festival. Agriculture is the main occupation of the community. The Sunwar youths join the Gurkha regiments of the British and Indian armies. A typical Sunwar carries a Khukuri in his waistband. They believe on Kiranti religion. Dhol, Jyamta, and Murchunga are the musical instruments.

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THE LIMBU
The Limbus known as Yakthunga belong to the Kirants of ancient Nepal. Limbu, one of the ethnic groups of East Nepal, Panchthar, Ilam, Jhapa, Morang, Dhankuta, Terathum and Sankhuwasabha districts. Historically, the region is known as Lumbuwan as well. The population of the Limbus is 359371 (1.58%). They have a long tradition of narrating or reciting Mundhum with the preformance of certain rituals and ceremonies in their own way as a legend. They are the followers of Kirant religion. Limbu language is one of the major spoken and written languages of Nepal. They have priests; such as Phedangma, Samba, Yeba, (male) and Yema (female). The Limbus are well known by Dhan Nach (Paddy Dance). Limbus celebrate the festivals such as Chasok, Kakphekwa, Yakwa, Sisekwa and Balihang Tangnam.

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OTHERS FEATURES OF TSC
a. A lecture hall to provide an ideal venue for holding academic exchange and seminars on the ethnic issues.
b. An auditorium to hold conferences/seminars and interaction on culture, ethnicity and folklore.
c. A provision of cafeteria built to serve the local gastronomy.

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Information provided by Nepal Tourism Board.

 

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