Spoken mainly in Nepal, Bhutan and
some north eastern parts of India, Nepali is actually the official
language of Nepal. The influence of Nepali language in India is seen in
the state of Sikkim, where Nepali has been declared the official
language. Also known as Nepalese, the language of Nepal has a rich
cultural history. The language is also known as Gorkhali or Gurkhali,
which means "language of Nepali Gorkhas". The oldest term to
describe this language is "Khaskura", which came from the rice
growing Indo-Aryan settlers known as Khas.
It is considered that some 500 years back, the Khas settlers migrated towards the east in the lower valleys of the Gandaki basin. This place was well suited for rice cultivation. Around the year 1700, an army of Gurungs, Magars and other tribesmen came together under Prithvi Narayan. They set out to conquer other petty settlements in the foothills of the Himalayas. The Gorkha replaced the former homeland of the Khas as the military and political headquarters. Thus, the language came to be known as Gorkhali.
Nepali is considered to be the easternmost of the group of Pahari languages (languages spoken in lower Himalayan ranges of northern India). It is spoken in the areas of the Himalayan ranges like Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Sikkim, etc. Nearby countries like Burma and Bhutan are also influenced by this language and it is also spoken there too. The Nepalese language spoken over there is a mixture of Tibeto-Burman languages. This language also resembles Hindi, the official language of India, as it uses many derivations from Sanskrit. Nepali language is written in Devanagari script.
The language of Nepal is quite significant and also has its own collection of literature. During the later half of the 19th century, Sundarananda Bara wrote the Adhyatma Ramayana in Nepali. Another version of Ramayana was written by Bhanubhakta in the Nepali language. A short collection of folk stories, known as Birsikka, was also compiled in the language. In fact, a new version of the Holy Bible was taken out in Nepali. Sanskrit words were translated and this enriched the language to a great extent.