Prithvi Narayan Shah वडामहाराजधिरज पृथ्वीनारायण शाह, first King of unified Nepal
|c. 30 million|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Hong Kong, China||15,950c|
|Predominantly Hinduism and Buddhism|
a Total population of Nepal, b Nepali-speaking population, c Nepali diaspora
Nepalis, also referred to as Nepalese (Nepali: नेपाली), are the Indo-Aryan and Sino-Tibetan citizens of Nepal under the provisions of Nepali nationality law. The country is home to people of many different national origins. As a result, people of Nepal do not equate their nationality with ethnicity, but with citizenship and allegiance. Although citizens make up the majority of Nepalese, non-citizen residents, dual citizen, and expatriates may also claim a Nepalese identity. Nepalese are descendants of migrants from parts of India, Tibet, and parts of Burma and Yunnan, and much further traces origin to Central Asia, along with indigenous peoples.
Nepal is a multicultural and multiethnic country. Kathmandu Valley, in the middle hill region, constitutes a small fraction of the nation's area but is the most densely populated, with almost 5 percent of the nation's population.
Local legends say that a Hindu sage named "Ne" established himself in the valley of Kathmandu in prehistoric times and that the word "Nepal" came into existence as the place was protected ("pala" in Pali) by the sage "Ne". It is mentioned in Vedic texts that this region was called Nepal centuries ago. According to the Skanda Purana, a rishi called "Ne" or "Nemuni" used to live in the Himalayas. In the Pashupati Purana, he is mentioned as a saint and a protector. He is said to have practised meditation at the Bagmati and Kesavati rivers and to have taught there.
The name of the country is also identical in origin to the name of the Newar people. The terms "Nepāl", "Newār", "Newāl" and "Nepār" are phonetically different forms of the same word, and instances of the various forms appear in texts in different times in history. Nepal is the learned Sanskrit form and Newar is the colloquial Prakrit form. A Sanskrit inscription dated 512 CE found in Tistung, a valley to the west of Kathmandu, contains the phrase "greetings to the Nepals" indicating that the term "Nepal" was used to refer to both the country and the people.
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