Religious practices are an important part of the lives of the Nepalese people. Mythologies of various Hindu gods and goddesses abound in this country and cultural values are based on the philosophies of holy books like the Gita, Ramayana, etc.
Women and children visit neighbourhood shrines at dawn to offer worship to the gods. Holding plates of rice, flowers, and vermilion powder, they perform puja by lighting incense, ringing the temple bell, and applying ' tika', a red paste, on their foreheads. Passers-by stop at temples and show their reverence to the gods by spending a few minutes praying. Occasionally, groups of' men sit near temples playing music and singing hyms until late night.
In Nepal, Hinduism and Buddhism are the two main religions. The two have co-existed down the ages and many Hindu temples share the same complex as, Buddhist shrines. Hindu and Buddhist worshippers may regard the same god with different names while performing religious rites.
Though Nepal is the only Hindu Kingdom in the world, many other religions like Islam, Christianity, and Bon are practiced here. Some of the earliest inhabitants like the Kirats practice their own kind of religion based on ancestor worship and the Tharus practice animism. Over the years, Hinduism and Buddhism have been influenced by these practices which have been modified to form a synthesis of newer beliefs.
As a result, visitors to this country may often find the religious practices in Nepal difficult to follow and understand. But this does not prevent one from enjoying the -different traditional ceremonies and rituals of Nepalese culture. It is indeed a totally new experience of religious fervour.