Few Cultural and religious Faux Pas in Nepal

Clockwise circumambulating at Boudhanath
Clockwise circumambulating at Boudhanath

The land of Gautama Buddha is also the land brave Gurkhas. Nepal, a unique destination where every corner contrasts to another is one of the fascinating travel destinations of South Asia. Nepalese can adopt the cultural changes quite easily and regarding the foreign visitors, Nepalese treat them very respectfully. Mostly in the urban areas while greeting, Nepalese are fine with handshakes or hellos but appreciate a Namaste gesture, they do not mind eating with left hands and the most interesting part, they smile for the criticism of Nepalese politics and bureaucracy. However, 21st century Nepal has few areas in which they expect some respect. It is not like that offending a Nepali would put you in the position of facing a Gurkha- Nepalese are also very forgetful people.

Religiously Nepal is the origin of the oldest Religion (Sanatan Dharma) but Nepal respects every other religion unbiased. However, Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism are two prevailing religions in Nepal and hence, the major religious faux pas travelers may experience in Nepal are related with the practices of Hinduism and Buddhism.

Here we have three religious Faux Pas that you would never like to commit while you are traveling in Nepal.

NO to Beef: The most important thing every traveler to Nepal should know is that the restaurants in Nepal do not cook or sell Beef cuisines. In fact, cow is the Nepalese National animal as well as a highly revered religious symbol. Killing of cow is a legal crime in Nepal.

Cow, a scared animal in Nepal is also its National emblem
Cow, a scared animal in Nepal is also its National emblem

Remember Clock-wise: Unless you are circumambulating a Bon Monastery at other occasions when you are walking around any religious shrines in Nepal walk clock-wise. Every Hindu and Tibetan Buddhist shrines in Nepal are circumambulated clock-wise.

Death Ritual: The Hindu death rituals are conducted normally at Riverbanks. The corpses are burnt there. However, mistaking it with pile of woods burning on the riverside and photographing it is a terrible faux pas. Undoubtedly, the mourning relatives of the deceased one could be offensive. Film it but make sure you are not being noticed.

Regarding the faux pas in the rural regions of Nepal, have a look at the list what might put you in awkward situation

Nepalese living in the rural regions prefer “Namaste” while greeting.

How to do Namaste properly: joining two hands at the chest level and pronouncing Na- mas-te with a smile on a face.

Look at the kid in the center of the photograph-its a perfect Namaste

Namaste Tradition in Nepal
Kids greeting with Namaste- A perfect Namaste

Especially, for women trekkers wear the dress that doesn’t reveal much. Go for the long comfortable trousers. Sorry, but the Nepalese in the mountains are not used to seeing women wearing short pants. So, it is better to respect the perception of natives.

While on treks, allow the teahouse you are staying to serve your food. Sounds ridiculous but it is the fact. Teahouses generate profits by serving foods not by providing accommodation. We urge you not to ignore it and put yourself and the guide in awkward position.

Culture of Nepal has huge contrast to the west. Every daily life activity here in Nepal might grab your attention that you would prefer to capture into your camera. Make sure you are at reasonable distance while photographing or take permission, most of the times you won’t be denied.








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