One of the various ethnic groups, that built up a considerable reputation as mountaineering pioneers, guides and porters are the Sherpas, well known in the whole world. In the mid-eastern region of Khumbu and around Everest, the Sperpas are dominant, numbering around 120,000. Besides following their traditional agricultural lifestyle, guiding jobs have become a considerable income source.
Most likely, they will be the last group you are going to meet during your stay in Nepal.
Arriving in Kathmandu valley and exploring the historical sites here, will almost inevitably get you in touch with the Newari people. They total about 1,1 mio and inhabit mainly the Kathmandu region. The caste system is applicable for the Newari, who are Hindu by religion. The name-giving is quite complicated, ask your guide to learn more about it.
Heading for the Chitwan National Park or Churia Hills you will get in touch with Terai's indigenous people, the Tharus. Dark-skinned and slightly Mongoloid in their appearance, they are ethnically related to a clan, into which the Buddha, Gautama Siddhartha, was born. Today they number about 1,3 mio and their living source is mainly from agriculture.
By trekking in Mustang Kingdom and the area around Jomsom you might have a guide or porter, who belongs to the Lopas (people of Lo) or the Dolpowas (people of Dolpo). Both groups number just a couple of thousand and follow a Lamaist Buddhism.
There are many more ethnic groups in Nepal. Come here and find out their names, appearance, traditions and occupations with the help of my local guides! Eat their food and reply their smiles!