Such a tiny country Nepal is a multi-religious inhabitance. At one time, Nepal was worldwide known as the Hindu kingdom and the King was an incarnation of the God Vishnu. Here are different religious aspects exist here and a strong tolerance between all of them. For example, Hindu people are often seen praying at Buddhist shrines as well as Buddhists at Hindu temples. The Hindu religion is based around a trinity of three deities- Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver), and Shiva (the Destroyer). Even though Hindus in Nepal may pay equal respect to all of these three gods as part of their religion, some may profess to follow either Vishnu or Shiva.
Nepal was formerly the world's only constitutionally declared Hindu state, but following the movement for democracy in early 2008 and the breaking of King Gyanendra's power, the Nepali Parliament amended the constitution to make Nepal a secular state. However, the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautam, was also born in Kapilvastu of Nepal – thus molding the culture of Nepal in its own unique Hindu-Buddhist blend. Muslims constitute the second-largest population by faith. Then come the Christians and others like Sikhs, Roman Catholics, & the followers of new religions like Baha’i, etc. Consequently, Nepal is a diverse country from a religious point of view as well.
The geographical distribution of religious groups in the early 1990s revealed a preponderance of Hindus, accounting for at least 87 percent of the population in every region. The largest concentrations of Buddhists were found in the eastern hills, the Kathmandu Valley, and the central Tarai; in each area about 10 percent of the people were Buddhist. Buddhism was more common among the Newar and Tibeto-Nepalese groups. Among the Tibeto-Nepalese, those most influenced by Hinduism were the Magar, Sunwar, and Rai peoples. The Hinduism influence was less prominent among the Gurung, Limbu, Bhote, and Thakali groups, who continued to employ Buddhist monks for their religious ceremonies. Since both Hinduism as well as Buddhism is Dharmic religions, they usually accept each other’s practices and many people practice a combination of both.
Regions and monuments like the Durbar Squares of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, the Pashupatinath, & the Buddhist monasteries Swoyambhu & Bouddhanath of Kathmandu have also been declared world heritage sites by UNESCO.
According to the 2001 census Religion Quick Facts
- Hindu 80.6%
- Buddhist 10.7%
- Muslim 4.2%
- Kirat 4%
- Christian 0.4%
- Jains, Sikhs, Bahais 0.1%
- Not related to religion 0.6%