Nepal Country Facts
Nepal is a small, landlocked country situated between India and China. Famous for the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest, and the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Nepal offers amazing and diverse holiday opportunities. With its ancient culture and the Himalayas as a backdrop, it is known as the roof of the world. Read more about Nepal country facts, visit Nepali local media sites or flick through the photo galleries.
Nepal is a small , landlocked country lying between India and Tibet, not known to many people in the world .Often people know Nepal as the country of Everest , a place that offers excellent treks to the Himalayas.But Nepal offers amazing and diverse holiday opportunities for a country of its size.Nepal's medieval capital, Kathmandu, houses seven world heritage sites declared by the UNESCO.Kathmandu is often termed as a open museum of medieval arts and monuments.Mountain Everest , world's highest mountain at 8848 m and eight out of world's ten highest mountains lie in Nepal.Nepal is a top destination for alpine trekkers and mountaineers.Nepal's Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha, is the holiest destination for Buddhists from all over the world.There are more bird species in Nepal than the number in USA and Canada combined, 840 species.We have 300 species of orchids, 600 indigenous plant families and 15 familes (500 species) of butterflies.While we have world's highest mountains in the north but in the south we have famous tropical National park where you can enjoy elephant back safari watching tigers, rhinos and crocodiles.A home of 60 ethnic groups speaking 70 different languages , Nepal is a really alluring place to visit.
Nepal's history dates back to ancient times with several references on ancient Hindu texts. Buddha was born in the city state of Lumbini in 500 BC in Nepal. The recorded history in Nepal starts from fifth crentury , the Changunarayan temple in Kathmandu dates back to the same period. The Lichhavi King Amsuvarma (602 AD)married his daughter Bhrikuti with the Tibetan king Shrong tsong Gompo, with which Buddhism spread from Nepal to Tibet. She brought one Buddha statue from Nepal to Tibet which one can see in Jokhang Temple of Lhasa even today.
Lichhavis were succeeded by the Mallas who made most of the temples and monuments of Kathmandu. The Mallas ruled Kathmandu till 1768. Nepal was divided into several tiny states till then , until the King Prithvinarayan from Gorkha started to unify the country concluded the project in 1768 after conquering Kathmandu.The present King belongs to the same dynasty.
Nepal remained closed to the outer world till 1950.
In 1950 there was a popular revolt to establish democracy , a democratic government was also formed but in a bloodless coup the King again took the power till 1990. No sooner parliamentary democracy was introduced in 1990 , the maoists started the insurgency. After signing peace accord with the maoists in 2006, Nepal is now heading for an election which will elect members for making new constitution.
Roughly the size of England , with an rough average of 800km in length (east to west) and 200km in width (north to south), Nepal is almost rectangular in shape.Nepal borders with India on three sides east,west and south and to the north lies Tibet region of China. From the south to the north, Nepal can be divided into three distinct physical belts, each of which extends east to west across the country.
The Terai Plain
The Terai is an extension of the Gangetic plain of India.It is a fertile land producing most of the food for the country. The world famous Chitwan National Park is located in the Terai region.Terai forests are rich on various tropical flora and fauna and important wetlands.
The mid hills
North to the Terai is the mid hills of Churia and Mahabharat ranges. The Churia range rises to an altitude of more than 1200 metres. The Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys come under Mahabharat range.
Between the Mahabharat range and Himalayas lies another mountain range, about 80 km in width and 2400m -4200m in elevation. The famous Sherpas and Tamangs live on this region.
The Himalaya region
North to the mid hills lies the great Himalaya ranges. Except for scattered settlements in high mountain valleys, this entire region is almost uninhabited.The Himalaya region ranges in elevation from 4200 to 8848 metres and contains many of the world's highest peaks--Everest, Kanchenjunga I, Lhotse I, Makalu I, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri I, Manaslu I, and Annapurna I - all of them above 8000 metres.
The Flora and Fauna
Nepal has alpine , temperate and tropical, all kinds of flora and fauna. Nepal boasts to be the home of Bengal tiger, rhinos, elephants, deers, wild bison and crocodiles just to mention the few.Simillarly the alpine regions of Langtang is the home for endangered species of red panda and snow leopards. The varitiesof flora and fauna found in such a small country is really mind boggling.
World heritage sites
Nepal has altogether 10 world heritage sites declared by the UNESCO , out of which seven are in Kathmandu valley and the rest are outside of Kathmandu.
Climate and clothing
While Nepal can be visited throughout the year, the best times is October through May. Trekking is halted during winter at high altitudes . But at lower altitudes it can be done all throuh the winter. Trekking is not possible during monsoon but trekking tours in rain shodow zones like Mustang and Dolpo can be are better done at this time.
The temperature table above would give you an idea about the clothings you should bring while visiting Nepal.For clothings required for a trekking , visit our Nepal trekking information page.
There are 60 ethnic groups speaking 70 different languages in Nepal.Nepal's population was formed by a large-scale migrations of Mongoloid groups from Tibet and Indo-Aryan people from northern India, along with aboriginal people .This has produced a diverse linguistic, ethnic, and religious pattern in Nepal.The Tibeto-Nepalese groups include the Tamang, Rai, Limbu, Sherpa and Sunwar. They live in the north and east, while the Magar and Gurung inhabit central Nepal.The mid hills are inhabited by Bramhins and Chhertries and miscellaneous groups.Most of the Nepalese live in villages or in small market centres.
It is often joked in Nepal that we have more festivals than days in a year.
Dasain, celebrated nationwide in October, is the most important of all Nepalese festivals. Tihar , the second biggest festivsl fallas on November. Other festivals celebrated nationally include the Holi (March) , Chaitra Daisan (April), Haribodhini Ekadashi (November) ,Maha Shivaratri (March), the Gai Jatra (August) , Krishna Jayanti (August/September) . Among the Buddhist festivals include Mani Rimdu (November) in Solu Khumbu, Buddha Jayanti (May) in Kathmandu, and Losar (Tibetan New Year) (February) in highland communities. These festival dates are determined with Lunar calendar, hence the exact date of festival differs each year.
Nepali is the official language. English is understood by majority of the people in the cities.In the villages different ethnic groups speak their own languages.
Hindus are about 75-80% and Buddhists are about 15% of total population.Some people follow both Hinduism and Buddhism.Rest are Muslims and others. Unlike in India the Hindus in Nepal more open and reasily adopting to new ivalues.Being the birth place of Lord Buddha , Nepalese are greatly influenced by Buddhism.In remote Himalayan regions like Dolpo ,one still finds people practicing pre Buddhist religion of Bonpo.Some of the mountain communities practice Shamanism.