The Newārs (Chapter I): The Genesis

This story has been compiled into two sets of chapters. Chapter I: The Genesis and Chapter II: Continuing the Rich Heritage.

 Chapter I: The Genesis

Newārs or Newār people are one of the indigenous tribes of Nepal. A historically and culturally rich group of people, Newārs are known as the native inhabitants of Kathmandu valley.



The generic term Newār literally translates to “People of Nepal.” Newari or Nepal Bhasa, the local dialect is believed to have been derived from Prakrit language, one of the Middle Indo-Aryan vernacular languages.

Men in typical Newari attire

Men in typical Newari attire (Circa. 1940)

They constitute a linguistic and cultural community derived from the assimilation of Indo-Aryan and Tibeto-Burman ethnicity.

The term Nepal is related to the origin of Newārs.  During medieval period, only the Kathmandu valley was referred as ‘Nepal’ by the inhabitants and the outsiders, therefore, giving the name ‘Nepal Bhasa’ to the Newari dialect. After the conquest of Kathmandu valley by the Gorkha kingdom in 1769, the expanded territories constituting of many larger and smaller states came to be known as ‘Nepal’ as a nation.


The history of the first Newār community correlates with the establishment of Kathmandu valley. They are believed to have originated from the amalgamation of immigrants arriving from Indian subcontinent and Tibeto-Burman regions to Nepal’s hills. Over the time, they formed their own culture, tradition and language, known as a microcosm, “Newa Samaj.”

Painting of Patan Durbar Square

Painting of Patan Durbar Square, former Malla kingdom

The progress of the community came at the end of 3rd century Lichhavi kingdom and the commencement of 12th century Malla Kingdom. Considered a golden period, Mallas brought most social, economic and infrastructural development in Kathmandu valley along with the advancement of lifestyle, politics and administration. The kingdom lasted till 18th century, however, their lifestyle, decorum and philosophies has greatly inspired other tribes of Nepal.

Often considered a dark age by experts and local inhabitants, the conquest of Kathmandu by Gorkha kingdom brought struggle and suppression for the people of the valley. Newari was replaced by Gokha language in the offices.

The Rana regime (1846-1951) supposedly tried to wipe out the Newari language.  In 1906, legal documents written in Newār were declared unenforceable, and any evidence in the language was declared null and void.

Today, most inhabitants live inside the Kathmandu valley. Total of 1,321,933 Newars constitute the graeter population of Nepal2011 census.

According to the 2001 Nepal Census, 84.13% of the Newārs were Hindu and 15.31% were Buddhist, but most of the Newārs practice both Hinduism and Buddhism.

Culture & Lifestyle

A Newari lifestyle is marked by elaborate sets of ceremonies since the birth till death. Hindu Newārs consider daily rituals the preparation for the life after death.

The first ceremony starts from the age of 8 for boys and 5 for girls, known as Macha Janku, a rice feeding ceremony, followed by rite of initiation for puberty or manhood, Kayla Puja or Bara Chhuyegu for boys in some Newari sub-castes and Baray for girls. Janku is another rite performed at later stages of life.

Renowned in trades and crafts, most of their surnames were derived from their native professions.

Chhathariya Srēṣṭha are known as nobles and courtiers, Pāñcthariya Srēṣṭha as tradesmen and merchants, Bajracharya as priests, Banra as Buddhist priests, Jyapu as farmers, Sayami as oil pressers, Chitrakar as artist/painter, Joshi as astrologer, Shahi/Khadgi as butchers, Tamrakar a copper craftsmen, Vaidya as physician etc.


Newari cuisine is defined by its rich taste, aromatic flavor and sharp colors. Savored by locales as well as foreigners, Newari cuisine is considered a major delicacy inside Kathmandu valley. Meals specially prepared during festivals tend to have symbolic significance.

Ethnic Newari cuisine

‘Samay Baji’ Ethnic Newari cuisine

Prepared with enough efforts and expertise, the cuisine consist of many assorted dishes. Some of the most popular cuisines are;

  1. Samaybaji – It is a meal specially prepared during festivals, which consists of many assorted dishes; set of beaten rice, roasted meat, vegetables curry, cowpea, soyabean, ginger and pickles.
  2. Chatānmari – Known as a Nepali crepe, Chatamari is a rice flour crepe eaten mainly as snacks.
  3. Chhoylā – A spicy set of boiled, sliced and marinated buffalo meat. Served mainly as a pickle or snacks, it can be eaten with many other meals.
  4. Momochā – A Newari styled momo, Momochā is same as the Momos found in Nepal added with extra spices and herbs.
  5. Yomari -It is a rice dumpling, larger in size, filled with Chaku (molten molasses) or Khuwa (dairy product)

Art & Architecture

Newari style of architecture is mostly self-invented with more or less inspiration from the South Asian Hindu buildings and Tibetan Buddhist monuments. Originated inside the Kathmandu valley, the craftsmen prefer to add intricate and complex designs into their . The buildings and structures are distinct from other cultures. These styles are marked by striking brick work and unique style of wood carving.

Best examples of Newari architecture can be seen at Hanumandhoka, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Pashupatinath Temple.

Pouba paintings reflect the traditional art of Kathmandu or the Newārs. A rich and delicate craft, it’s equally considered sacred. It’s origin goes back to 7th century. it’s one art form which has been exported north, to Tibet, from Nepal.


Newari women in Haku Patasi

Newari women in Haku Patasi

Newari clothing is classified by traditional attires worn everyday or during special ceremonies. In early times, clothes were made of homespun. Many inhabitants used to own hand looms. Some of these traditional attires are distinguished as such;

  • Tapālan – A common men’s clothing consisting of a long shirt (Tapālan) and fittings trousers (Suruwa)
  • Hāku Patāsi – A women’s clothing made of black cotton sari with a red border. Today, it’s worn mainly during festivities.
  • Sayn kaytā – Men’s attire worn by merchants and courtiers till the 1930s.
  • Parsi – A common women’s clothing made of plain or printed sari.
  • Bhāntānlan – An ankle length tight-fitting gown worn by young girls.


Get Free Advice from Tour Experts

Rara Lake | The Biggest and Deepest Lake in Nepal

A next major destination for tourist to visit, “Rara Lake” is the biggest and the deepest fresh water lake in the Himalayas of Nepal. Located in the Jumla and Mugu Districts the Rara Lake is the main centerpiece of Rara National Park.

Rara National Park

Rara National Park covering 106 sq. km is Nepal’s smallest and most scenic national park. Established in 1976, most of the park remains at the altitude of about 3,000 meters. The park with the country’s biggest lake, also protects and inhabitants’ the most beautiful alpine and sub-alpine ecosystem of the Himalaya. Established for the protection of the unique flora and fauna of the Humla-Jumla region, the park is managed by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.

Rara Lake


Rara lake with Chuchemara Peak on the backdrop

Rara Lake also known as ‘Mahendra Tal,’ lies at the an altitude of 2,990 m above sea level and having water surface of 10.8 square km, with a maximum depth of 167 meters. Oval in shape the Rara Lake is 5.1 km in length and 2.7 km in a width. Chuchemara Peak (4,039 meters) on the southern side and on the northern side, the peaks of Ruma Kand (3,731 m.) and Malika Kand (3,444 m) frame the alpine freshwater Rara lake making it the biggest lake in Nepal.


Due to the altitude factor, the climate is much more pleasant during summers, but becomes very cold during the winter. The best time to visit the lake is in September/ October and April to May. December to March is the cold, where the temperatures go down below freezing point, blocking ways due to heavy snowfall. The Monsoon season which falls from July to October is short, but the period between June to August is regarded as summer where the weather conditions gets hot making the Rara National Park Trek difficult.

Flora and Fauna

Rara comes within the area of the Karnali River, one of the three main river systems of Nepal. The habitat supports unique flora and fauna with rare and vulnerable species. As per the numbers and statics the park consist of 1074 species of flora among which 16 are common in Nepal, whereas the fauna includes 51 species of mammals and 214 species of birds.



Rhododendron, fir, brown oak and birch species are mostly found in the sub-alpine region, whereas Blue Pine,Rhododendron, West Himalayan Spruce, Black Juniper and Himalayan Cypress are mostly found below 3200 meter altitude. 51 species of mammals including animals like the red panda, black bear, yellow-throated martin, ghoral, serow, snow leopard, wolf and musk deer have also been reported sightings.

Himalayan Monal

Himalayan Monal

The lake magnetizes migrant birds like teals, pochards and mallards, other birds seen frequently include the Himalayan Snowcock, Chukar Partridge, Himalayan Monal, Kalij Pheasant and Blood Pheasant.

About Rara Lake Trekking

Starting from a beautiful town in western Nepal named Jumla, the trek trail proceeds following the north bank of the Tila Khola River crossing the Chaudhabise Khola passing and ascent up the Padmara valley. You trek through unrivaled natural beauty to reach Daphne Langa Pass at an altitude of 3,500 m (11,480 ft).

The path then continues climbing gently to Ghurchi Lagna pass 3450m/11316ft which is covered with round stone Buddhist monuments and prayer flags along a range of majestic Himalayan peaks and the daunting terrain of Dolpo region with a complete day exploring the Rara lake before end our adventure in Nepalgunj.

The trek, at times, can be strenuous and requires trekkers to camp in many parts. The sight of culture and landscape on the way is somewhat different from the rest of Nepal.

Get Free Advice from Travel Experts

David Stanfield’s Quest for Annapurna & Food

David Stanfied, an adventurer hailing from the highs of Auckland, New Zealand, completed his trek of Annapurna circuit back in 2013. His quest, as he recalls, was a trip to heaven with some unimaginable scenery and delicious meals.

David’s Quest for Annapurna

He completed his Annapurna Circuit trek in 2013, and came back the next year to complete another round of trek of the Everest. He recalls,

David Stanfield

David Stanfield

It was a two year plan. My original goal was to climb Everest Base Camp with a friend. Three months prior to our planned departure date, my friend pulled out of the trip. I was determined to visit Nepal and to do a trek. I had been in touch with Nepal Vision Treks & Expedition, who I found online. I dealt with Keshav, his quick responses to all my questions were greatly appreciated.

He adds,

Particularly when my original plans changed and I would now be travelling alone. Nothing was too much trouble […] This was my first time in Nepal and my first time trekking. I ended up doing the 21 days Annapurna Circuit trek which I highly recommend, I always felt safe and in good hands. My guide Santosh , who quickly became my friend was the best. […] The whole experience was beyond my expectations, and the trip of a life time. Thank you Keshav, Santosh and Ramesh.

~David’s Quest for Food~

His trip took him to many eateries on the trail, and we’re glad that he cared to bring some of what he ate during his trek. A combination of eastern and western flavors these are! Do Savor!

Get Free Advice from Trek Experts

The Children of the Himalaya Region of Nepal

Children are considered an incarnation of angels. A boon to the family, children manage to bring smile to our faces even during hard times. How could one not love such beautiful creations?

An outlook on the children of Himalaya region of Nepal: The Himalayas are mostly inhabited by indigenous tribes comprising mostly of Mongoloids. Migrated from the northern territories; Tibet and Mongolia, centuries ago, today, it’s mostly occupied by Sherpas, Gurungs, Tibetans, Lepchas and others.


Get Free Advice from Travel Experts

GUIDE PROFILE: Keshar Gurung, A Gurkha

Keshar Gurung is one of the most experienced trekking guides in Nepal today. Shaped by harder situations, he smilingly claim that he will still travel to the end of the world with no complaints.

Keshar Gurung

Keshar Gurung


Full Name: Keshar Gurung
Birth: Prithvi Highway, Gorkha
Career: Trek Guide
Expertise: Trekking, Sightseeing, Culture
Interests: Traveling and Sports

Keshar in Person

Keshar was born in a remote village of Gorkha district. A historic city with equally cultural importance, he grew to be a learned denizen. He tried his luck in British Army at a young age, however, he couldn’t succeed, therefore, he joined his relative as an assistant river guide.

His first experience on trail came at Annapurna Base Camp where he went as a porter. He continued as a porter for 6 months, before leading a trek to Langtang-Gosainkunda.

He shares,

When I first started in this industry, there was no internet. I had to ask experts or consult books to research on trail, altitudes and other information. Now it’s much easier. Trekkers themselves come learned and well prepared.

Till now, he has successfully led countless numbers of treks throughout Nepal.

He claims;

Nepal has mountains. The main reason that attracts tourists to  Nepal is the “Everest.” Its something to be able to tell people that I’ve seen Everest with his own eyes.

On the field

Hire Keshar Gurung for your next trip