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Nepal’s Kirat Sunuwars reclaiming their religious identity

1 July 2021

by Bishal Rajbhandari | 2021 | 12 min

Kirat (also known as Kirant, Kirati Mundum or Kiratism) is an indigenous animistic religion of Kirati ethnic groups, including Limbu, Rai, Koits-Sunuwar and Yakkha of Nepal. As per the 2011 census, it is the fourth largest religion in the country, practised by around 3 per cent of the Nepalese population after Hinduism (81.3 per cent), Buddhism (9 per cent) and Islam (4.4 per cent). However, the ethnic organizations of those groups claim the share to be higher in line with the population of the Kirat ethnic groups.

In the context of the 2021 census of Nepal, the video seeks to document the situation of and challenges for practising Kirat religion among Koits-Sunuwar people – the third largest indigenous Kirati ethnic group. They number at least 56,000 as per the 2011 census – 17 per cent of the people follow the Kirat religion.