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The cultural heritage of the Kathmandu Valley is illustrated by seven groups of monuments and buildings which display the full range of historic and artistic achievements for which the Kathmandu Valley is world famous. The seven include the Durbar Squares of Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu), Patan and Bhaktapur, the Buddhist stupas of Swayambhu and Bauddhanath and the Hindu temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Vallée de Kathmandu

Le patrimoine culturel de la Vallée de Kathmandu est illustré par sept ensembles de monuments et constructions, couvrant l’éventail complet des réalisations historiques et artistiques qui ont rendu la Vallée de Kathmandu mondialement célèbre. Ces sept ensembles comprennent les places Durbar de Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu), Patan et Bhaktapur, les stupas bouddhistes de Swayambhu et Bauddhanath ainsi que les temples hindous de Pashupati et de Changu Narayan.

وادي كاتماندو

يظهر التراث الثقافي في وادي كاتماندو من خلال مجمّعات الآثار والعمارات السبعة التي تغطي تشكيلة المنشآت التاريخية والفنية الكاملة التي جعلت وادي كاتماندو مشهورًا في أنحاء العالم كلّه. وتتضمَّن هذه المجمّعات السبعة ساحات دوربار في هانومان دوكا (كاتماندو) وباتن وباكتابور والمعابد البوذية في سوايامبو، بالاضافة الى المعابد الهندوسية في باشوباتي وشنغو نارايان.

source: UNESCO/ERI Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0


Долина Катманду

Культурное наследие долины Катманду иллюстрируется 7 группами памятников и зданий, представляющих собой самые значимые достижения в архитектуре и искусстве, благодаря которым эти места прославились на весь мир. Эти группы памятников включают: три площади Дурбар - в Катманду (комплекс Хануман Дхока), Патане и Бхактапуре, буддийские ступы Сваямбхунатх и Бодхнатх, а также индуистские храмы Пашупати и Чангу-Нараян.

Valle de Katmandú

El sitio del valle de Katmandú comprende siete conjuntos de monumentos y edificios representativos de la totalidad de las obras históricas y artísticas que han hecho mundialmente célebre al valle de Katmandú. En esos siete conjuntos están comprendidas: las tres plazas Durbar situadas frente a los palacios reales de Hanuman Dhoka (Katmandú), Patán y Bhaktapur; las estupas budistas de Swayambhu y Bauddhabath; y los templos hinduistas de Pashupati y Changu Narayan.

source: NFUAJ

Kathmandu vallei

Zeven groepen monumenten en gebouwen illustreren het cultureel erfgoed van de Kathmandu vallei. Deze omvatten het volledige scala van historische en artistieke prestaties die de Kathmandu vallei wereldberoemd maken. De groepen omvatten de Durbar Squares (stadscentra met paleizen en tempels) van Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu), Patan en Bhaktapur, de boeddhistische stoepa’s van Swayambhu en Bauddhanath en de hindoetempels van Pashupati en Changu Narayan. In Swayambhu staat de oudste stoepa (rond gebouw met relieken van heiligen) van de vallei, in Bauddhanath de grootste stoepa van Nepal. Pashupati heeft een uitgestrekt hindoetempelterrein en Changu Narayan bestaat uit een traditionele Newari nederzetting en een hindoeïstisch tempelcomplex.

Source: unesco.nl

essay about cultural heritage of nepal

Outstanding Universal Value

Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage property is inscribed as seven Monument Zones. These monument zones are the Durbar squares or urban centres with their palaces, temples and public spaces of the three cities of Kathmandu (Hanuman Dhoka), Patan and Bhaktapur, and the religious ensembles of Swayambhu, Bauddhanath, Pashupati and Changu Narayan. The religious ensemble of Swayambhu includes the oldest Buddhist monument (a stupa) in the Valley; that of Bauddhanath includes the largest stupa in Nepal; Pashupati has an extensive Hindu temple precinct, and Changu Narayan comprises traditional Newari settlement, and a Hindu temple complex with one of the earliest inscriptions in the Valley from the fifth century AD. The unique tiered temples are mostly made of fired brick with mud mortar and timber structures. The roofs are covered with small overlapping terracotta tiles, with gilded brass ornamentation. The windows, doorways and roof struts have rich decorative carvings. The stupas have simple but powerful forms with massive, whitewashed hemispheres supporting gilded cubes with the all-seeing eternal Buddha eyes.

As Buddhism and Hinduism developed and changed over the centuries throughout Asia, both religions prospered in Nepal and produced a powerful artistic and architectural fusion beginning at least from the 5th century AD, but truly coming into its own in the three hundred year period between 1500 and 1800 AD. These monuments were defined by the outstanding cultural traditions of the Newars, manifested in their unique urban settlements, buildings and structures with intricate ornamentation displaying outstanding craftsmanship in brick, stone, timber and bronze that are some of the most highly developed in the world.

Criterion (iii): The seven monument ensembles represent an exceptional testimony to the traditional civilization of the Kathmandu Valley. The cultural traditions of the multi ethnic people who settled in this remote Himalayan valley over the past two millennia, referred to as the Newars, is manifested in the unique urban society which boasts of one of the most highly developed craftsmanship of brick, stone, timber and bronze in the world. The coexistence and amalgamation of Hinduism and Buddhism with animist rituals and Tantrism is considered unique.

Criterion (iv) : The property is comprised of exceptional architectural typologies, ensembles and urban fabric illustrating the highly developed culture of the Valley, which reached an apogee between 1500 and 1800 AD. The exquisite examples of palace complexes, ensembles of temples and stupas are unique to the Kathmandu Valley.

Criterion (vi): The property is tangibly associated with the unique coexistence and amalgamation of Hinduism and Buddhism with animist rituals and Tantrism. The symbolic and artistic values are manifested in the ornamentation of the buildings, the urban structure and often the surrounding natural environment, which are closely associated with legends, rituals and festivals. 

All the attributes that express the outstanding universal value of the Kathmandu Valley are represented through the seven monument zones established with the boundary modification accepted by the World Heritage Committee in 2006. These encompass the seven historic ensembles and their distinct contexts. The majority of listed buildings are in good condition and the threat of urban development is being controlled through the Integrated Management Plan. However the property continues to be vulnerable to encroaching development, in particular new infrastructure.

The authenticity of the property is retained through the unique form, design, material and substance of the monuments, displaying a highly developed traditional craftsmanship and situated within a traditional urban or natural setting. Even though the Kathmandu Valley has undergone immense urbanization, the authenticity of the historic ensembles as well as much of the traditional urban fabric within the boundaries has been retained.

The designated property has been declared a protected monument zone under the Ancient Monument Preservation Act, 1956, providing the highest level of national protection. The property has been managed by the coordinative action of tiers of central government, local government and non-governmental organizations within the responsibilities and authorities clearly enumerated in the Integrated Management Plan for the Kathmandu World Heritage Property adopted in 2007.

The implementation of the Integrated Management Plan will be reviewed in five-year cycles allowing necessary amendments and augmentation to address changing circumstances. A critical component that will be addressed is disaster risk management for the property.

essay about cultural heritage of nepal

List of World Heritage in Danger

Inscription Year on the List of World Heritage in Danger

State of Conservation (SOC)




Essay: The Cultural Heritage of Nepal: From Daura-Surwal to Dashain and Tihar

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Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical affects and intangible attributes of a group or civilization that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and preserved for the benefit of future generations (Wikipedia). Your cultural heritage influences the social values you adopt and the approach to the fashion that you sequence.  Our cultural heritage reflects not only the close influences of family members and family traditions, but also the zeitgeist – the ‘spirit of the times’ – that fits our own place in history (Goddard, 2015). My cultural roots are from my country, Nepal. Nepal is a landlocked country in Asia that lies along the southern slopes of the Himalayan mountain range with world’s most striking mountains. Nepal is a small country with area of 147,181 square kilometers (56826 square miles). The dramatic peaks of the Himalayas occupy about 15 percent of its territory. Nepal has about 26 million inhabitants who belong to dozens of different ethnic groups. Hindu is the main religion which makes about 90 percent of the population and 5 to 7 percent of the population are Buddhist. The main language of Nepal is Nepali. Although Nepal does not have a distinct food culture, the food habits differ depending on the region and the community. Hindus are often known to eat more plain foods (low on salt and spices) where Tharu community prefers highly spiced (including a lot of chilies) in their food. The Nepali food has been significantly influenced by India and Tibetan styles of cooking due to open border and immigration.  

Nepal is a sovereign state, which is rich in culture and tradition. Due to the landlocked location and historical invasions, Nepalese culture and customs are influenced by Indian and Chinese culture. Large-scale migrations from Northern India, Tibet and China has made a diverse ethnic, linguistic pattern in this country (A brief look at the fascinating Nepalis Culture and tradition, Web, April 22, 2018). Nepalese press their hands together and say Namaste with some of the largest most welcoming smiles in the world; which is the gesture indicating respect. It may seem cliché, but Nepal's people are some of the friendliest you will ever encounter.  Namaste the common form of greeting each other in Nepal, means in Sanskrit "the divine in me bows to the divine in you” (Naturally Nepal, April 22, 2018).

Nepal is a diverse country and home to multiple religions, race, tribes, and cultures.  The country with over 100 ethnic groups is latterly a melting pot of many (more then 90) languages and ethnicity. In the big cities of Nepal, modern lifestyle is mixed with ancient traditions mostly visible during festivals, but you will have to walk through the small alleys of Kathmandu or Patan where buyers and sellers of handicrafts, spices and clothes give life to a unique city experience you will only find in Nepal. It also feels like you are thrown back in history. There are only handful places in the world with such a harmonious blend of cultures as Nepal.


Fashion is a reflection of the social, political, economic and artistic forces of any given time (Frings 2008). The cultural heritage item that I choose for this paper is daura-surwal.  Daura-Suruval, also known as Labeda-Surwal, is the traditional dress worn by men. A woollen hat (Topi) is also an essential accessory. Women wear cotton or silk sari, a garment worn with blouse, which is similar to what Indian women wear. More traditional women also wear Gunieu Choli; which is a blouse and saree made of special clothing. According to Goddard (2015), dress among community members can affect the members’ well being, leading to harmony or conflict among the members.

 Daura Suruwal has been national dress of Nepal for many years. Jang Bahadur Rana, the Prime minister of Nepal during the starting of the 19th Century, is known to have added the coat as the cherry on the top, The Queen of England gifted him the coat that later began the tradition. The tradition of wearing Daura with Suruwal alone became Daura Suruwal and Coat after that. Daura Suruwal has several religious beliefs. It’s design has remained the same for centuries. The Daura (the top) has eight strings denoted as Astamatrika-Singini, They represent the eight goddesses; Chamunda, Kaumari, Barahi, Brahmhi, Indrayani, Maheshowri, Byasnabin and Mahalaxmi.  These eight strings serve to tie the Daura around the body. Eight is a number for good luck and fortune according to the Eastern mythology. The Daura has five pleats or kallis that signifies Pancha (five) Buddha or Pancha Ratna (Five Gems). The closed neck signifies the snake that is always around the Lord Shiva’s neck. In the present, Daura Surwal is no longer the everyday dress, however it is still noted as a national treasure and is often used as the groom’s wedding dress.

Families ties and tradition.

   My family’s ties and tradition are very closely related to Nepali heritage. Like most Nepali families, my family has links to Hindu and Buddhist customs. No matter how far away we live now, we seem to embrace those cultures, specifically the festivals and religious norms and values. Greeting each other with Namaste; worshiping Gods before starting your day, loving the youngers and respecting the elders, not harming anyone, believing in Karma, etc. are few of the many cultural norms and values that has been passed from generation to generation. Our family has been living in USA for last 15 years and to this day our cultural celebrations have not changed a bit. We still follow our traditional calendar when it comes to festivals and celebrations. Although Nepal has many festivals, the two main festivals I would like to discuss today are Dashain and Tihar. Both of the festivals are celebrated with pride. These festivals range anywhere from fifteen to thirty days and are known to get family together; get blessings from elders and are often delighted by colors and lights. We worship animals like Cows for providing us milk, one of the purest form of food to dogs for guarding our property and keeping us safe.

 As most of the traditional cultures, our culture is somewhat conservative too. Sexually provocative fashions are avoided and looked down upon. The dress code applies to all men and women who want to be socially accepted. Even with the globalization and Western influences on fashion, I wish to pass this tradition to my kids and future generation to come. Below are some of the dresses I have previously discussed.

  Image 1: – My brothers and me in Nepali Attire.   Image 2: – Nepali Wedding Attire

Cultural Patterns that Reflect My Lifestyle and Cultural Heritage Influences on My Family Today

My constructive attitude, polite manners, respecting elders and loving the younger are some cultural patterns that I have adopted from my parents. I tend to dress simple; within the norms of our culture and my parents and my elders appreciate me doing so. Components such as meditation, yoga, praying and worshipping Gods, not lying to others, doing no harm, etc. are some Hindu and Buddhist values that have passed down from generations. My family has been successful at passing these traditions to my brothers and me and we are planning to pass it to our children. Cultural heritage is not a shameful thing, although they may be different, they make us who we are, they shape our values and influence us to take the right step each time. At last, I am proud of my cultural heritage and I reflect it in my lifestyle each time I can.

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A stupa in Nepal.

Nepal is a sovereign state in South Asia , situated in the Himalayas. This landlocked country has a population of approximately 29 million people in 2020 and borders China and India. The country’s capital and largest city is Kathmandu. The country has a rich, multi-ethnic and multi-dimensional culture based on ancient traditions and social customs. The Nepalese culture is closely related to the culture of the more massive Indian Sub-continent and is influenced by the cultures of India and Tibet.

Ethnicity, Language, And Religion

essay about cultural heritage of nepal

Nepal is a multiethnic and multicultural country that came into existence through the progressive, political merging of smaller kingdoms and principalities such as Videha, Mustang, Limbuwan, and Madhesh. The northern part of the country is inhabited by Limbu, Rai, and Mongolian people while the Sherpa, Magar, Gurung and Lama people inhabit the western and central regions. 

There are approximately 123 languages spoken in Nepal. The major language is Nepali, spoken by 44.6% of the population as mother tongue. Other main languages include Maithili, Tamang, Tharu, and Bhojpuri. There are two main religions in Nepal; Buddhism and Hinduism. However, some Nepalese practice a unique combination of the two religions. The majority of the population, 80%, are Hindu while 11% practice Buddhism. Islam is practiced by about 3.2% of the population. Christians are \bout 1% of the population.

essay about cultural heritage of nepal

Nepalese cuisine is comprised of a variety of cuisines from the different ethnicities of the country and has been influenced by Asian culture. In most instances, a meal is never complete without a sizeable amount of rice. Rice is mainly served with daal, a spiced lentil soup, and vegetable curry called tarkari. 

Meals are eaten twice a day; late morning and early evening. Mostly, the meals also include “achar” which pickled vegetables or fruit. Rice may also be supplemented with flatbread known as “roti.” Traditionally, people eat from their individual plates using their hands and while seated on the floor.

Nepalese Traditional Clothing

essay about cultural heritage of nepal

Each of the ethnic groups in Nepal has its own traditional clothing. However, most of these follow the same pattern. Men’s traditional clothes are referred to as “Daura Suruwal.” Daura is a double-breasted shirt while Suruwal are simple baggy trousers that fit tightly at the ankle. Other items of clothing include jackets and a vest. The combination of a jacket and Daura Suruwal is considered informal traditional wear. A Daura does not have buttons or clasps and is often held in its place by four ties, two close to the waist and two near the shoulders. The national hat is called “Dhaka topi” and is often worn by the men.

The traditional outfit for the women is called “Kurta Suruwal.” It consists of a long blouse, sleeveless or short-sleeved and usually extending below the hips, light baggy pants, and a large scarf. The clothing is loose and usually brightly coloured and with patterns. The scarf is also long and matches with the rest of the outfit. It is draped over the body.

Literature, Art, And Craft

essay about cultural heritage of nepal

Nepalese literature dates back to the 19th century with the adaptation of the Hindu “Ramayan” by the Bhanubhakta Acharya for the Nepali readership. The development of literature in the country has been hampered by the heavy government censorship and control, forcing most authors and poets to seek publication outside the country. Several Nepali authors have been actively writing innovative Nepali literature since the Democratic revolution of 1991. Some of these authors include Khagendra Sangraula, Yuyutsu Sharma, Narayan Wagle, and Toya Gurung.

Much of Nepalese art is considered religious. The Newar people are responsible for most of the examples of the traditional art and architecture of Nepal. They are known for craftsmanship, Paubha painting, and sculpture. The Newari create a caste-bronze statue of Hindu and Buddhist deities.

Performance Arts

essay about cultural heritage of nepal

Performance art also focuses on religious themes drawn from Hindu epics. Political satire is also very common as well as comedic forms. Nepal has a rich musical heritage with several distinctive vocal styles and instruments. Music is popular across all age groups and has become a marker of identity, especially among the younger generation. The older generation prefers folk songs and religious music while the younger generation is attracted to western and experimental film music. Performance art such as music and dancing is a very important part of festivals and celebrations. The end of the plowing season is often marked by songs, shouts, and dances.

essay about cultural heritage of nepal

Several sports are played in Nepal, both at the national and international levels. The most popular sport in the country is football (known in the US and Canada as soccer), followed by cricket. The Nepalese national cricket team has even participated in the World Cup and other international competitions. However, the national sport of Nepal is volleyball. 

The sport with the most tournaments in Nepal is football, and they are held across the country. The Nepal football national team won gold in the 2016 South Asia Games. According to the 2018 FIFA ranking, Nepal holds position 165.

Life In Society

essay about cultural heritage of nepal

Nepal is a multi-ethnic society with a rich culture and religious practices. Visitors are required to embrace native customs while visiting certain places such as temples. Like the locals, they must put on a respectable dress with no leather, remove their shoes, and ask for permission before entering the Hindu temple. Nepalis are generally friendly. However, public display of affection is not appreciated. 

Superstition still rules the country. Interestingly, praising a baby’s appearance or walking on spilled rice brings bad luck. Red chillies are almost everywhere and are believed to drive away the evil spirit. The family is very important in Nepalese culture. Like much of the world, for a very long time, women were honored as mothers and had little access to education and political power. Men were the heads of their respective families and were required to provide for them. While there has been progress for the rights of women in recent decades, this progress has been slow to reach the regions outside of the urban centres.

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Cultural Heritage of Nepal

Cultural Heritage of Nepal

Nepal is a multilingual and multicultural country that preserves hundreds of cultural heritages of historical and cultural importance. This country known throughout the world as the home of Mount Everest and Lord Buddha is an intricate garland of the various ethnicity and caste of people who have inhabited the land for millennia.

The country is ruled by diverse dynasties like the Kirant, Lichchhavis, Mallas, and Shah – all with their own distinct cultures and architectures. And these rulers have left various natural as well as religious, cultural, and architectural heritages.

These historically important patrimonies provide a glimpse into the rich art and culture of the country and have, therefore, many of sites has been placed under the World Heritage list by UNESCO .

A visit to Nepal is incomplete without witnessing at least some of these magnificent sites. Here is a short introduction to those that simply have to be on top of your list of travel destinations .

Out of the ten UNESCO World Heritage sites found in Nepal, seven are situated inside the Kathmandu valley, including temples, palaces, and other architecturally important monuments as listed below.

Boudhanath Stupa

With its massive mandala, Boudha – situated to the northeast of the capital city – is the largest spherical Stupa in Nepal. It is the most important shrine for Tibetan Buddhists who visit the site frequently along with other Hindu pilgrims. And, it is also the single largest Chorten in the world.

Made up of large amounts of gold, every part of the monument’s architecture has an abstract spiritual meaning. Surrounded by Tibetan monasteries, a number of souvenir shops, restaurants, and hotels, Boudhanath Stupa is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Nepal .

Many visitors experience spiritual peace as they do their ritual circumnavigation of the dome beneath the peaceful wisdom eyes of the Buddha that gaze out at them from within the gilded central tower.

Want more information? Send us your query, and our experts will get back to you within 24 hrs.

  Swoyambhunath Stupa

Situated in the western part of Kathmandu, Swoyambhunath is one of the most distinct, ancient, and important Buddhist pilgrim sites in Nepal.

Indeed it is among the most fascinating architectural jewels in the world. The Great Stupa is said to have been built around 250 B.C. Its white dome symbolizes a spotless gemstone of Nirvana which is an epitome of a typical Buddhist architectural style.

A religiously significant place for both the Newari and Tibetan Buddhists, the complex consists of a stupa plus a number of shrines, temples, and statues (that make up the original monuments) and the Tibetan monastery, library, and museums (that make up the new).

Also, known as the ‘monkey temple’ because of the hundreds of monkeys loitering around the hill, the main Stupa is a dome at the base covered by a cube structure covered by a toran, while above that is the Gajur. A number of shrines, statues, and artifacts adorn the stupa, with a series of praying wheels also around the dome.

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square, one of the three Durbar squares in the Kathmandu valley,  is a cluster of ancient temples, palaces, courtyards, and streets. Situated in the heart of the capital, the site is surrounded by monuments showing off the cultural and architectural skills of the Newari craftsmen over the past centuries.

Surrounded by various courtyards, the plaza itself is a complex of various temples and palaces made during the Malla and Shah dynasties. Adopted as the royal palace by the first Shah King after he conquered Kathmandu, the square is still considered important as the location of the coronation ceremony of the king of Nepal.

Visiting the museums is a great way of taking a peek into the former ruling dynasties, their lifestyles, cultures, and many other aspects of bygone eras.

The most fascinating part of the square, however, is the Kumari Chowk, the residence of the living goddess Kumari, a young girl chosen as the reincarnation of the Hindu goddess Durga.

Bhaktapur Durbar square

The plaza in front of the Bhaktapur palace is another site listed as one of the World Heritage sites. The complex consists of the four main squares, namely: Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatraya Square, and Pottery Square. It is the most spacious of all the Durbar squares due to the loss of various monuments during the earthquake of 1934.

The main attractions of the square, however, are more intricate and artistic. These include the 55-windowed palace, the Lion’s Gate, the Golden Gate, the Nyatapola Temple, and the Bhairavnath Temple, along with many more exquisite examples of the artwork and architectural skills of Nepali craftsmen.

Patan Durbar Square

This Durbar square situated in Patan comprises the palace of the Malla kings of Patan. The complex consists of a number of temples along with large bells, idols, and statues facing towards the main palace. The courtyard floor, tiled with red bricks, and the old Newari houses in the surrounding areas, give the complex a very ancient cultural vibe.

The main attraction of the square is Krishna Mandir, a three storey temple with beautiful wooden carvings and twenty-one golden pinnacles, as well as a Bhimsen temple with its three interconnected golden windows, and the Taleju Bhawani temple with its five storey’s and triple roofs.

  Pashupatinath Temple

Pashupatinath is the most sacred of the Hindu temples and is situated on the banks of Bagmati River to the northeastern side of Kathmandu. It consists of temples, ashrams, inscriptions, idols, and images of various deities built over centuries by different rulers and devotees.

Serving as the seat of the national deity Lord Shiva, the temple is visited by over 700,000 devotees during the Mahashivaratri festival in the month of Falgun.  The Pashupatinath temple courtyard houses about 235 small temples and shrines.

The main temple housing the sacred Shiva Linga is located in a fortified complex and is built in Nepalese pagoda style with cubic construction, beautiful wooden carvings, and roofs of copper covered with gold.  The temple has four doors with a golden pinnacle that gives it a glorious look.

One of the main pilgrim sites for Hindus all over the world, the temple complex is a sacred site of Hindu religion and culture.

  Changunarayan Temple

The oldest temple of the Kathmandu valley, Changunarayan is a fine example of the stone, wood and metal craftwork to be found in the valley.

The temple lies atop a hill and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, with the shrines of Lord Shiva, Chhinamasta, Kileshwor, and Krishna located in the courtyard of the main temple. A number of statues and inscriptions are found in the walls and carvings of the complex.

They feature gods, their incarnations, and various other religious symbols.  There are museums in the area that house extremely rare historical, artistic, and cultural objects and photographs.

A true gem from the Lichhavai period (fourth to ninth centuries), Changunaraya Temple is covered in stone, wood, and metal carvings which are found throughout the courtyard surrounding the main temple. This is a living museum that displays the time of 6th century BC.

Out of all the heritages in Nepal, the most famous one would have to be Lumbini since it is, after all, birthplace and the home of the Lord Buddha , the preacher of peace to the whole world.

The site of Lumbini comprises a number of temples, monasteries and museums; some that date back centuries ago, and some that are in the middle of construction. The historic site is 4.8 km in length and 1.6 km in width and contains the ruins of ancient monasteries, a Bodhi tree, an ancient sacred bathing pond , and the Ashoka pillar .

This holy site can be reached by a nine-hour drive from Kathmandu, and here you can enjoy the peaceful and serene ambiance of the area while witnessing the birthplace, first steps, and other life experiences of Lord Buddha.

These few heritages that have settled in the land of Nepal showcase the ancient history, art, culture, and traditions during the time of our forefathers. These heritages are definite to give you a clearer glimpse of the socio-historic condition of Nepal.

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About Author

Madhav started working as a porter in 2001 and then went on to work as a trekking guide. After working in the trekking and tourism industry for 8 years, he co-founded Mosaic Adventure in 2009.

Madhav has trekked to most of the treks in Nepal including Everest Base Camp Trek, Annapurna Base Camp, Annapurna Circuit Trek, Poon Hill Trek, Jomsom Muktinath Trek, Indigenous Peoples Trek, Langtang Valley Trek, Mardi Himal Trek and all of the day hikes around Kathmandu.

He has also extensively traveled to other countries like USA, UK, France, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Philippines, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Behrain, Thailand, Turkey and India. Madhav is the one who answers most of your questions about trekking and tours and helps to plan your trip by giving a personal touch.

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Home » Culture in Nepal, Art, Cuisine, Religion and Tradition

Culture in Nepal, Art, Cuisine, Religion and Tradition

Nepal's culture is greatly influenced by its music , architecture, religion and literature. Your first sight of Nepal may leave you speechless, the great quantities of temples, churches, monasteries and other religious buildings, the hurly-burly in the streets and the number of people and animals socializing on every corner of the narrow cobble-stone lanes.

Nepal has about thirty-six different ethnic groups and multiple religions and languages. Its music is similarly varied, with pop, religious, classical and folk music being popular. Musical genres from Tibet and Hindustan have greatly influenced Nepalese music. Usually, women, even of the musician castes, do not play music except for specific situations, such as at the traditional all-female wedding parties.

The architecture in Nepal is another art that has become an important part of the country’s culture. Nepal’s architecture can be divided into three broad groups: the stupa style, the pagoda style, and the shikhara style.

Nepal is constitutionally a Hindu kingdom with legal provisions of no prejudice against other religions. The Hindu inhabitants in the country has been constantly over 80 percent since the 1950s. The second largest religion of Nepal is Buddhism, it is practiced by about 11 percent, while Islam comprises of about 4.2 percent of the population. The Kirat religion makes up nearly 3.6 percent of the population.

Nepal has many customs and beliefs that might be difficult to understand and not so easy to obey but this is the way of life to them and you should respect it when you are in their territory.

Do not feel offended if any Nepalese hesitates to shake hands with you because it hasn’t been very long since the western traditions were introduced to them. Most Nepalese greet one another by a “Namaste”, a common act done by putting the palms together in a prayer like gesture.

It is customary to eat and deal with food with your right hand. They use their left hand to wash themselves after being to the toilet. Note that most Nepalese eat with their hands, forks and spoons are not very common.

Note that men and woman should always dress appropriately. Men should not walk or trek bare-chested, shorts are acceptable but it’s recommended to rather wear long pants. Women are recommended to wear long skirts that cover the ankles, because exposure of a woman’s legs can draw unnecessary attention.

Showing affection between men and woman in public is not acceptable. So avoid kissing, hugging, cuddling or even holding hands in public.

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Essay on Nepali Art and Culture with Geographical Information

1) Capital – Kathmandu 2) Currency – Nepalese currency 3) Official language – Nepali Language 4) Population – 2 crores and sixty lakh (according to the eleventh census)

Nepal has always been a special place for various people across the world in various ways. For some people it is the religious place where the light of Asia, Gautam Buddha was born, for some people, it is a country of historical art and architecture, for some, it is the country full of divine beauty and for some the country of great Gurkhas.


In every way, it is one of the best destinations for tourist around the world as one can see the perfect compilation of natural beauty, art, culture, and tradition. Nepal is a landlocked country situated in South Asia between China in the North and India in the South, East, and West.

Nepal reflects an extraordinary image of paradise. Although the country is relatively small (i.e. 147,181 square kilometers; 800 Km long and 200 Km wide) it is known as the roof of the world having Mount Everest, the world ’s highest peak in its territory. Almost 80% of  Nepal’s territory is occupied by the majestic Himalayas and has 8 out of the ten highest peaks in the world. Nepal is known for its exquisite natural beauty with the iconic Himalayas running across the Northern and Western part of the country.

Nepali arts and culutre

However, apart from natural beauty wildlife diversity is a notable feature of Nepal. There are eight National Parks, four Wildlife reserves, and two conservation areas protecting and preserving a large variety of plants and animals. Wildlife tourism is one of the major sources of tourism in the country. There are some animal species that are unique to Nepal, such as Spiny Blabber, one-horned rhino, etc.

The Spiny Blabber is a species of bird which belongs to the Leiothrichidae family was first found and introduced in Nepal by Miraj Adhikari. Similarly, there are 400 species of vascular plant which are endemic to Nepal. Of these, two, in particular, are orchids Pleione coronary and Oreorchis prophy ranches. Moreover, the most popular endemic plant in Nepal is rhododendron ( arboretum). It is also regarded as the national plant of the country.

Nepal is equally rich in its art and culture. The cultural heritage of Nepal has evolved over the centuries. The art and culture have been influenced by the religious beliefs, norms, and values of the country. One can find fine pieces of art in various part of the country. The two most typical forms of art is that of painting and sculpture.

Manuscript illustration on the palm leaves is the earliest example of Nepalese art in painting form. The influence that religion has on ancient artwork is assertive in the fact that such manuscripts are usually decorated with figures of divinities. Thanka Painting is another form of painting that is evident in Nepal since ancient times. These were used as icons in worship as they possess primary religious nature. These paintings are known as “Paubha” in Newari and “Thangka” in Tibetan and were originated in Nepal. A good example of Thangka Painting is the “ Mandala of Vishnu” which dates back to 1420 A.D.

gautam buddha Nepal pictures

Nepalese sculpture is a tradition which was derived out of the art of Gupta India and later influenced by Pala India. Furthermore, Nepalese artists created a unique style of their own. While the early sculpture was very simple, but those from the Lichhavi period were remarkably beautiful. These sculptures were composed of copper, stone, and bronze with slanted eyes and depict round face. Some pieces of this art can be still seen in the valley.

Geographically, Nepal is divided into three regions; The Himalaya to the North, The Mid- Hill and The Terai to the South. Himalayan region is the most attractive region of the country which covers 15% of the whole land and is decorated with an iconic range of snow-capped mountains for the entire year. The world’s highest mountain peak along with other numbers of the mountain over 6000 meter lies in this region.

Life is very tough here due to lack of cultivable land for plantation of crops and undeveloped infrastructures. The middle of the people living here is Sherpa, Lhomi, and Lopas. They follow Buddhism and Lhosar is their major festival which falls in Magh. Barter trade is a major occupation. Namche Bazar, Gosain Kunda, Muktikshetra, and Sinja are the most popular and religious places of this region.

Mid- Hill region covers 68% of the total land and is the densely populated region. The capital city of the country, Kathmandu along with the scenic city, Pokhara lies in this region. The region is considered the original heartland of Nepal. This region begins at the Mahabharata range with high hills and forest. The Newar were indigenous to the Kathmandu valley but spread into Pokhara and other towns alongside.

This region comprises of three amazing cities of great historical interest; Kathmandu, Lalitpur (Patan), and Bhaktapur. Newar along with Magar, Rai, Chhetri, Tamang are the inhabitants of this region. Dashain, Tihar, Mahashivratri are the major festivals by Hindu people living here.

Terai lies in the southern part of the country. It covers 17% of the total land. Terai possesses the most fertile land available in the country. The climate is tropical here and life is more comfortable in comparison to others. Most of the national parks and wildlife reserves lie in this region. Farming is the major occupation of people living here.

Terai supplies grains to the other part of the country and known as the granary of Nepal. Chhat, Holi, Eid etc. are major festivals of the people. The majority of the people of the Terai region are Hindus followed by Muslims.

Moreover, Nepal is a secular state having multicast, religion, and culture. There is no discrimination or conflict among people regarding different religion and culture.

Nepal is the perfect example of unity in diversity. There are religious tolerance and the feeling of brotherhood among people. They celebrate their festivals in their own way and live their own lifestyle. They respect each other’s customs, norms, and values. Nepal has a history of people adhering different religion living in harmony. Our own unique and traditional culture define us as Nepali.

Writer: Rashika Shreshta Pahari

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Nepal: Culture and Tradition

Nepal: Culture and Tradition


            Nepal is a small country, with many diverse people and rich in culture and tradition.  There are over forty different races and tribes in Nepal today, over half of these people live in poverty (Library of Congress, 2005).  As a nation they lack education, health services and economic stability (Library of Congress, 2005).  These issues have greatly impacted the Nepalese people.  Recently there has been a shift towards social awareness that is assisting in raising the level of concern paid to the health and personal wellness of the Nepalese.  Women’s health has been one of the areas that the Nepalese have been approving upon.  It is know possible for Nepalese women to seek medical attention on issues such as family planning, home birth attendants and childcare (Knecht, 2001)

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Cultural Review

            Nepal has a complicated mix of ethnic groups (Wikipedia, 2006).  There are three main ethnic categories, those people who migrated from India, those who originated in China, and a few indigenous tribes dating as far back as 9000 years (Maron, Rose, Heyman, 1956).  Most of the tribes follow the Hindu religion (Wikipedia, 2006).  Nepal is the only Hindu declared country; although there are other religions practiced and tolerated through out the kingdom (Library of Congress, 2005).  Buddhism also maintains a presence in the country as does the Muslim faith and the indigenous religion of Kirat (Library of Congress, 2005).

            Due to the caste and tribal system of the Hindu and Buddhist religions, social and family structure is very important to the Nepalese (Maron, Rose, Heyman, 1956).  They tend to form what are called extended joint families (Maron, Rose, Heyman, 1956).  These are families living together that are usually related through the male side, as the Nepalese are patriarchal.  The Nepalese family structure favors males over females (Maron, Rose, Heyman, 1956) Women have the traditional role of home-maker, they are responsible for raising the children and caring for the home (Maron, Rose, Heyman, 1956).    They are also subserviant to their male head of family.  In many cases females are under nourished and often do not even receive status until they have born sons (Wikipedia, 2006).  This practice has had serious repercussions on women’s ability to bare healthy children.  They are seen as only productive while pregnant and thus from the time a young girl marries, usually around fifteen, she bares children as often as she can (Timyan, Gay & Koblinsky, 1993).

            Nutrition is one of the areas in which the Nepalese suffer most (Lassiter, 1995).  Rice is by far the main staple of Nepalese cuisine.  They prepare the rice with other nutrients such as boiled lentils and vegetables to form dal-bhaat (Wikipedia, 2006).  Protein is obtained through fish, eggs and some meat, especially in the mountainous part of the country.  Again most of the protein is given to the males (Lassiter, 1995).

            The head male of the household also determines the level of medical care that their family receives.  Being in the structured social system of the Nepalese all matters are family matters (Gurung, 2001).  Much of Nepal is still only beginning to accept modern medicine in their homes.  The Hindu religion teaches that health comes from a persons ability to control their internal forces (Lassiter, 1995). They have traditional healers who have been a part of their society since its creation who help aid their people. (Library of Congress, 2005).  But recently, especially in cities such as Kathmandu, modern medicine is making its presence known.

            Nursing facilities and training centers are spreading through out the country. When allowed and sometimes even on their own, women can now access modern family planning techniques (Knecht, 2001).  Nepal also has one of the highest abortion rates in East India (Uprety, A. (1998).  Many women chose to abort children, although it is illegal, especially if they had reason to know that the child was a girl.  Now they can go to numerous nursing clinics to receive birth control (Knecht, 2001).  They no longer have to bear children every year, which can be harmful to the mother and child’s health.  One study has shown that 28% of women in Nepal have reported using some modern method of birth control (Knecht, 2001).

Client Assessment

            Nursing is a growing part Nepalese life, especially in America (Lassiter, 1995).  It would not be uncommon in places such as San Francisco to have a patient that described herself as Asian Indian and be Nepalese.  An older woman or her husband would likely accompany her, as they would do in Nepal.  The deference paid to a woman’s husband or her elder should be reflected in the way the nurse approaches them.  The nurse should remember to great the husband or elder as well as the client and to include them in their discussions (Lassiter, 1995).

A common request is birth control or help with a pregnancy.  The Hindu religion stresses that health is a reflection of the body.  This can make it hard for your client to come directly to her request.  A strategy put forth by Lasiter (1995) is to approach them by asking their medical history first.  The nurse should not be surprised if the husband or relative gives most of the history.  If she is an American immigrant you would not worry as much about malnutrition although there are still families who practice favoritism of the males (Lassiter, 1995).  Her diet might be made up of mostly rice and vegetables as she is Hindu and most Hindus are vegetarian (Lassiter, 1995).  But if she comes to you in Nepal through careful questioning and examination find out what her diet has been like. The nurse needs to understand that family obligation is very important.  The client’s family always comes first.  Bearing this in mind the nurse can slowly bring women’s issues to the forefront; from there they can move forward to treatment options.

Gurung, R. (2001). Family Structure and Nurture in Nepal and in the USA. Retrieved

February 28, 2006 from http://stcloudstate.edu/classes/Eniglish191Spring2001/Family_Struct_RajeshGurung.htm

Knecht, S.I. (2001, August 31). Establishing a Nursing Student Learning Center for

Women’s Reproductive Health in Nepal. Online Journal of Nursing, Vol. 6, No 2, Manuscript 6.  Retrieved on February 28th from http://www.nursingworld.org/ojin/topic12/tpc12_10.htm

 Lassiter, S. M. (1995). Multicultural Clients: A Professional Handbook for Health Care Providers and Social Workers. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Retrieved March 2, 2006, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=30406413

Library of Congress (2005). Federal Research Division Country Profile: Nepal, November 2005.  Retrieved February 28, 2006 from http.//lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/nptoc.html

 Maron, S., Rose, L. E., & Heyman, J. (1956). A Survey of Nepal Society. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Retrieved March 2, 2006, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=55041257

 Sanders, G. S. & Suls, J. (Eds.). (1982). Social Psychology of Health and Illness. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Retrieved March 2, 2006, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=9581239

 Timyan, J., Gay, J., & Koblinsky, M. (Eds.). (1993). A Global Perspective A Global Perspective. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Retrieved March 2, 2006, from Questia database: http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=98602237

Uprety, A. (1998).  Abortion Laws in Nepal. Body Politic, May 1998, vol. 8, No 3.

Wikipedia (2006). Nepal.  Retrieved February 28th from


/ojin/ /ojin/Knecht, S.I.(Aug 31, 2001): Establishing a Nursing Student Learning Center for Women’s Reproductive Health in Nepal Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. Vol. 6, No. 2, Manuscript 6. Available http://www.nursingworld.org/ojin/topic12/tpc12_10.htm

© 2001 Online Journal of Issues in Nursing Article published August 31, 2001


Suzanne I. Knecht, BA, BSN, MSN, PhDc

The goal of this paper is to describe the establishment of a self-sustaining Student Learning Center (SLC) employing humanistic anatomical models to aid in the teaching of family planning and reproductive health clinical skills to nursing students in Nepal. In response to a local needs assessment a plan was developed to implement more thorough training of nursing students in family planning clinical skills. Nepalese nursing leaders worked together with a U.S. Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to implement this project. This paper details the need for the SLCs, the content and structure of the SLCs, and the process of establishing an SLC at Tribhuvan University, Maharjgunj Nursing Campus in Kathmandu, the largest of all nursing campuses in Nepal.

Key words: Nepal, nursing, nursing education, international nursing, student nurses, family planning, reproductive health, nursing practice labs, women’s health, clinical simulation, humanistic anatomical models

The Need for Student Learning Centers for Family Planning Education in Nepal

Nurses are key providers of non-permanent family planning methods in Nepal. A needs assessment of family planning training for nursing students in Nepal revealed that more clinical simulation practice was needed to prepare students for family planning service delivery and that humanistic anatomical models were underutilized in lab practice settings. A Nursing Advisory Group comprised of Nepalese Nursing leaders and nursing campus chiefs in conjunction with Johns Hopkins Program for International Education in Gynecology and Obstetrics (JHPIEGO) recommended that preservice training, specifically clinical simulation practice for family planning service delivery, be strengthened. In response to the low use of anatomical models, and the desire for students to be well-skilled prior to entering the clinical setting, an agenda was agreed upon. Based on Social Learning Theory, the development of a special program to implement the creation and use of family planning simulation labs in Nepal’s major nursing schools, to be called Student Learning Centers (SLCs), was developed. Family planning instructors, nursing campus chiefs (a title comparable to dean), Masters prepared Nepalese nurses, staff, and U.S. nurse consultants employed by JHPIEGO worked together on the development and implementation of this project.

The Need for Family Planning in Nepal

Nepal, a mountainous country landlocked between India and Tibet, is home to 24 million people and eight of the world’s ten highest mountains. In 1997, the per capita gross domestic product was $1,090.00, one of the lowest in South Asia, and the total fertility rate (TFR) was 4.5 (Knowles, 2000). In 1995, the proportion of people with income below one dollar per day was 50%, and the adult literacy rate was 28% (Knowles, 2000). Gender inequalities are evidenced by the disparity in the literacy rate among men (51.8%), and women (18%) (Ogilvie, 1998). In 1996, 28% of the people in Nepal reported using some modern contraceptive method, which is a sharp rise from only 3% reporting modern contraceptive use in 1976 (Ministry of Health, Nepal, 1996). Female sterilization is the most common method of contraception in Nepal where permanent methods made up 72% of contraceptive use in 1994 and 1999 (Stash, 1999). However, from 1976 to 1996, the use rates of temporary contraceptive methods for spacing births increased from 1% to 9% among recently married, non-pregnant women (Thapa & Friedman, 1998). Among people using temporary contraceptive methods in 1999, 56% used Depo-Provera, 23% used condoms, 17% used oral contraceptives, 1.7% used the IUD, and 1.5% used Norplant (Ministry of Health, Nepal 1996). Oral contraceptives are perceived by many Nepalese women to carry unacceptable health risks, which could have negative health effects and limit productivity, a factor that appears to limit the use of oral contraceptives (Stash, 1999). Unmet need for contraception among currently married women in Nepal aged 15 to 49 was estimated to be 30% in 1995 (Stash, 1999).

Nursing’s Role in Family Planning

Nurses are key health workers needed to reach Nepali goals of women’s reproductive health and widespread use of contraception to increase the amount of time between births and to contribute to a lowering of the total fertility rate.

More emphasis is recommended on temporary family planning methods which can be used to space the timing of births… More emphasis is recommended on temporary family planning methods which can be used to space the timing of births as contrasted to permanent methods such as female or male sterilization, which are generally employed after a certain family size or number of sons born has been reached. The decision to limit family size is determined by the number of sons, because a preference for sons still exists in Nepal, as in many countries where males command more power within society than females (Stash, 1999, Thapa, 1989). Nurses in Nepal are responsible for family planning counseling and the delivery of temporary methods such as the Depo-Provera contraceptive injectable, oral contraceptives, and condoms.

Nurses also often coordinate family planning services and supervise auxiliary nurse midwives and other community health workers in the dispensation of family planning supplies. (Auxiliary nurse midwives are not nurses, but graduates of a two-year program focused primarily on midwifery, which enables them to assist in maternity wards in hospitals or in rural areas where medical personnel are scarce. The position of auxiliary nurse midwife is not the equivalent of the Certified Nurse Midwife in the West and currently there is not an advanced degree program for Nurse Midwifery in Nepal.) Nurses who have completed special additional training insert Inter-Uterine Devices (IUDs) and Norplant as well as assist physicians in voluntary sterilization procedures. Women are the preferred providers of IUDs and it is predicted that if more female providers, including nurses, were trained in IUD insertion and management, IUDs would be used by more Nepalese women (JHPIEGO, 1993).

Nursing Education in Nepal

The first school of nursing opened in Nepal in 1956, and now there are seven nursing schools (Ogilvie, 1998). Currently, three programs for nursing preparation are available in Nepal. The first is the initial Program for Certificated Licensed Nurses (PCLN), which takes three years and is the practice level of most nurses in Nepal. The PCLN program focuses on basic nursing skills development. Subsequently, a Bachelor of Nursing (BN) program is available to PCLN graduates who have practiced for three years or more. The BN program builds on basic skills to focus on management and teaching skills. There is one Master’s of Nursing program in Nepal at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu. In addition, several master’s prepared Nepali nurses have obtained their advanced degrees from programs outside the country or in affiliation with universities outside Nepal.

The research of Anderson, Nichol, Shrestha, and Singh, conducted in 1988, indicated that Nepalese nursing instructors wanted an increase in clinical practice and training time for students for a full range of nursing activities, including family planning. A more recent needs assessment by the Nursing Advisory Group (JHPIEGO, 1993) found that additional curricular activity was needed to build in preservice education and practice in family planning. The term preservice education refers to training that takes place during nursing school, in contrast to in-service education, which refers to training for nurses when they already have their degrees and are practicing in a healthcare setting. Preservice training is the preferred method of education because it can be tailored to fit in to nationally accepted service guidelines, reaches more people, is less disruptive to the service delivery system, and is less costly than in-service training. Recommendations were made by nursing leaders within Nepal in cooperation with JHPIEGO that family planning and reproductive health training be strengthened in both the nursing classroom and clinical lab setting, both preservice venues (JHPIEGO, 2000).

Nursing students’ state that one of their major sources of stress is being reprimanded by nursing instructors when they are in the clinical setting (Anderson et al., 1988; Mahat, 1996). Student Learning Centers (SLCs) can help students and faculty better prepare for hands-on clinical work through guided instruction and practice, and can potentially alleviate some of the stress of being a new or student nurse as well as prepare both the instructors and students with established goals of clinical practice standards.

The purpose of the SLCs is to provide a sustainable forum for preservice training of student nurses to enhance family planning services delivery over time that will meet local goals of increasing utilization of temporary or birth–spacing methods in concert with the overall strengthening of comprehensive reproductive health services. It is a recognized goal of the Nepal nursing community to have more women trained as expert nurses ready to be the trusted providers of family planning services for birth spacing.

Establishment of a Student Learning Center

The following sections outline the steps followed to establish the SLC at Maharjgunj Nursing Campus at Tribhuvan University. Implementation of a SCL at this particular campus is described because it sits in Kathmandu, the capitol and most cosmopolitan urban center in Nepal, and is a leader for all other nursing campuses in the country. It is also associated with a major teaching hospital and The Institute of Medicine. The author participated in the implementation of the SLC at this site. Nepalese and U.S. nursing experts did thorough groundwork for the project, meeting and planning over a number of months. The physical manifestation of the project took place over a ten-day span in March of 2000.

Meeting with Family Planning Nursing Teachers and Nursing Campus Chief

Family planning education was part of the lecture content of the nursing curriculum but had limited, if any, student practice time associated with the classroom instruction. The existing family planning and reproductive health training equipment and lab facilities at Maharjgunj Nursing Campus in March of 2000 consisted of two humanistic pelvic models, a practice arm for injectables and a smattering of gynecological exam tools such as speculums. However, the equipment was kept locked in cabinets in a supply room housing all the other nursing clinical lab equipment. The room was off limits to students during non-lab hours and there was no system in place to allow or encourage clinical practice with anatomical models without the supervision of an instructor. Instructors were already extremely busy with heavy teaching loads and clinical site supervision responsibilities and therefore not available to supervise additional lab practice in family planning and reproductive health. These factors were recognized as limiting to student’s practice time by the campus chief and the family planning instructors.

The professional nursing faculty was eager to figure out new ways of allowing students access to the equipment and practice time, but as in many other hierarchical systems, power was somewhat entrenched in the status quo. The issue of access to the equipment was of grave concern as historically, whomever held the key to the locked room held power over access and lab practice time. The professional nursing faculty was eager to figure out new ways of allowing students access to the equipment and practice time, but as in many other hierarchical systems, power was somewhat entrenched in the status quo.

Agreement about the shape and purpose of the SLC was reached during preliminary meetings with the family planning instructors, campus chiefs, and JHPIEGO nurses (M. E. Lapp, personal communication, October 18, 2000). The groundwork was set for the establishment of the permanent family planning student learning center (SLC). Social Learning Theory was used to design the teaching protocols for the hands-on practice and explanation of the use of anatomical models. How contraception was theorized and taught in the lecture classroom was not addressed by this project. It was decided that the SLC should be set up in the large area at the back of the main lecture hall used by the family planning instructors. The contribution of humanistic anatomical models by JHPIEGO consisted of:

1.      4 Zoë® realistic pelvic models with changeable cervixes and uteri

2.      2 full chest breast exam models with naturalistic feeling breast tissue and realistic abnormalities

3.      2 realistic penile models and condoms for demonstration and practice

4.      3 practice arms for Depo-Provera injections

5.      1 Norplant practice arm and insertion and removal kit

6.      2 complete IUD practice insertion kits

The practice models are stationed on tables with laminated practice checklists detailing the steps involved in breast exams, pelvic exams, condom use demonstrations, and Depo injections, as well as all the necessary practice equipment.

Modeling Lab Use

The U.S. nursing consultants reviewed with the family planning teachers the concepts of humanistic model usage, learning guide and checklist usage, and positive coaching/teaching skills. Using Social Learning Theory as guide, ideal lab practice techniques were demonstrated for each model. This teaching style, which is practiced in many American nursing schools, involves two people working as a team. One person reads the exam checklist and guides the session as their lab partner actually practices the exam steps on the anatomical model. The students then trade places so each gets to practice both the examination and the coaching. Positive reinforcement for appropriate technique is freely given to the person practicing on the model, as well as gentle non-reprimanding constructive criticism. This teaching style works well to foster confidence and competency in both coaching guidance and clinical practice skills.

The Nepalese family planning instructors quickly adopted this style of demonstration and return demonstration teaching.

Emphasizing the power of positive reinforcement and praise may help to alleviate some stress described by Nepalese nursing students… Soon they were proficient in the use of all the models and incorporated the positive reinforcement techniques into their own presentations. Emphasizing the power of positive reinforcement and praise may help to alleviate some stress described by Nepalese nursing students of fear of being harshly criticized by teachers in clinical settings.

Introduction of the SLC to all Nursing Instructors

To build campus support for the SLC as a permanent fixture in the back of a main lecture hall, a grand opening of the lab was held. Nursing instructors from all disciplines attended a luncheon and official opening of the center. The campus chief as well as JHPIEGO representatives gave support as the family planning instructors gave speeches explaining the importance of the student learning center in their teaching efforts. The main family planning instructors then demonstrated the ideal model usage and taught all the nursing instructors how to use the models and checklists. A roundtable discussion was facilitated to hear from all the instructors and secure support for full student access to the practice area and models. A great deal of status within the school was associated with the successful implementation of this project and with the full support of the campus chief, the family planning teachers were given institutional power to carry out their goals. Cultivating and nurturing such valuable institutional support is considered essential for the implementation and maintenance of projects like this, and we were fortunate to be working with visionary nursing professionals that are devoted to expanding the nursing roles by strengthening the knowledge base.

Introduction of the SLC to Students

After thorough preparation and planning, the SLC was at last introduced to the nursing students. Seventy second year student nurses rotated through the SLC in two groups. Each group was given a didactic presentation co-taught by the Nepalese family planning instructors and the JHPIEGO consultants. As in the previously described demonstrations, each teacher-pair modeled use of the SLC by working as a team with one person reading the examination checklist, and the other practicing the described technique, such as breast or pelvic exam. After demonstration of correct usage of all the models, students paired up and practiced on each and every model. See photographs of the nursing students practicing in the SLC click here. The students were very bright and enthusiastic and reported they enjoyed the lab very much, especially the pelvic exam practice, which was new to them. Teachers were stationed at every table to help with any questions and guide technique; and the students return demonstrated all the positive coaching and learning techniques that work so well to reinforce learning. Students reported that the checklists and guides were helpful for practice as was the team approach. At first there was some concern that the condom models would be too embarrassing for the students or the teachers to work with, but all were able to overcome any discomforts and practiced in a completely professional manner, using gentle humor to dispel anxiety.

Evaluation and Follow-Up

Nine months later, the SLC was still in place, having the models covered with sheets when not in use. Free access is permitted for student practice.

Timely reinforcement of the overall reproductive health initiative will be helpful as it is all too easy to fall back into patterns of practicing only things like Depo injections. In order to fully evaluate the effects of the SLC on family planning service delivery, an evaluation plan is being implemented to assess student usage of the SLC via a log-book sign-up for times the lab is being used. Recommendations have been made to include a lab exam in the family planning curriculum that will check off students on practice skills in the SLC as well as the clinical setting. Timely reinforcement of the overall reproductive health initiative will be helpful as it is all too easy to fall back into patterns of practicing only things like Depo injections.

Periodic refresher visits from JHPIEGO staff can help build regular SLC usage into the curriculum and make it easier for the family planning instructors to do their job. All seven nursing campuses in Nepal are scheduled to participate in the program, which has been implemented thus far at three nursing schools. In the long term it will be necessary to evaluate whether nursing graduates exposed to the SLCs are better prepared and proficient in family planning service delivery. Nursing continues to grow as a profession in Nepal and nursing’s involvement in family planning and reproductive health is vital to improving the health of all people in Nepal.

Suzanne I. Knecht, BA, BSN, MSN, PhDc E-mail: [email protected]

Suzanne Knecht is a doctoral candidate in Women’s Health at the University of Michigan School of Nursing with a special focus on international family planning. Her work as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner at public and low-cost clinics specializing in family planning and STD prevention, combined with a lifetime of travel, has prepared her to practice nursing in international settings. Her involvement in international nursing was generously supported by a new initiative from the School of Nursing’s office of international affairs. Special thanks are offered to Johns Hopkins Program for International Education in Gynecology and Obstetrics (JHPIEGO), and the U.S. and Nepalese nurses working to advance nursing and women’s health in Nepal.

Anderson, S.V., Nichol, M., Shrestha, N.M., & Singh, I. (1988). Clinical supervision of nursing students: a survey in Nepal. International Nursing Review, 35(4), 113-116.

JHPIEGO (1993). Nepal Reproductive Health Training Sector Assessment and Five-Year Action Plan (1993-1998). Baltimore, MD: Author. Retrieved August 7, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.jhpiego.org/pubs/TR/tr302sum.htm

JHPIEGO (Johns Hopkins Program for International Education in Gynecology and Obstetrics), (2000). Needs assessment report Nepal certificate nursing program. Baltimore, MD: Author. Retrieved October 9, 2000, from the World Wide Web: http://www.jhpiego.org/pubs/tr/tr414sum.htm

Knowles, J.EC. (2000). A look at poverty in the developing countries of Asia. Asia-Pacific Population and Policy, 52, 1-4.

Mahat, G. (1996). Stress and coping: first-year Nepalese nursing students in clinical settings. Journal of Nursing Education, 35 (4), 163-169.

Ministry of Health, Nepal. (1996). Family planning. Kathmandu, Nepal: Author. Retrieved August 7, 2001 from the World Wide Web: www address: http://nepalpage.tripod.com/stat/fp.htm

Ogilvie, L. (1998). Issues in nursing education in Nepal. Nursing Education Today, 18 (1), 72-78.

Stash, S. (1999). Explanations of unmet need for contraception in Chitwan, Nepal. Studies in Family Planning, 30 (4), 267-287.

Thapa, S. (1989). A decade of Nepal’s family planning program: achievements and prospects. Studies in Family Planning, 20 (1), 38-52.

Thapa, S. & Friedman, M. (1998). Female sterilization in Nepal: a comparison of two types of service delivery. International Family Planning

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Nepal: A Land of Diversity

Albeit being a small country sandwiched between two larger ones, Nepal has the most colorful divergence as divergence come. With varying land topography all differing from one another to the very differences in the cultures the people follow, Nepal is a hotspot for marvelous visits. The eyes can feast upon various natural sites which are beautiful and soul-inspiring, and then the rest of our body can then proceed to enjoy the vibrant culture and people Nepal has to offer.

Diverse is a term used in this context not only for a limited subject; when calling Nepal “a land of Diversity”, it is applied to almost every aspect the country is bound to. With three regions, all different in climate and vegetation- to the economy and the lifestyle of the people, Nepal has the offerings of being in the stage where one embraces the new modern era of fast paced developmental works on different fields, and yet still not losing the melancholic touch of the rich history the country is founded upon.

“We are a single Garland of a hundred different flowers”, this is one of the verse of our National Anthem, and what’s a better way to describe the ethnicity of all people living within the country in peace and harmony, each with their own unique traditions and customs, their own festivals and their own legends and lore, than to remember our roots and the abode where our hearts lie. With one hundred and twenty five languages spoken in the country, Nepal is no less than any other when it comes to hospitality bestowed to people who visit, where the experience of being filled with brilliant travel places with exciting history and a sundry array of local culture and myriad eminence in diversity.

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