Nepal is an exciting land of contrasts and extremes. This tiny mountain land is packed with diversity of climate, terrain, ethnicity and culture. From humid tropical forests to rugged Himalayan peaks, its rich natural beauty, scenic splendor and cultural heritage entices an increasing number of tourists each year, including climbers, trekkers, wildlife enthusiasts or connoisseurs of ancient cultures. Visitors quickly feel comfortable in this vibrant land as Nepalese people are friendly and hospitable, having been nurtured in a culture where a guest is considered a god. Tourism is the largest industry in Nepal, and is a win-win situation for both the Nepalese and tourists.
AREA: 147,181 sq. kilometers.
ALTITUDE: Varies from 70 meters to 8848 meters.
Language and Ethnicity:
Nepal has more than 60 ethnic groups with their own unique culture and most of them have their own language. Nepali is the national language of Nepal. Most educated people understand and speak English as well since the majority of schools are English-medium schools.
Nepal is a cultural mosaic depicting unity in diversity; while issues of ethnic and regional equity tend to dominate the agenda of the government, the Nepalese are people of tolerance and harmony.
Nepal was a Hindu Kingdom until 2006, when it was declared a secular state. Hinduism and Buddhism are the two main religions and there also Muslims, Christians and worshippers of the ancient Bon religion. Some of the earliest inhabitants like the Kirats practice their own kind of religion based on ancestor worship and the Tharus practice animism.
Religious practices are an important part of the lives of the Nepalese people. Early in the morning the scent of burning incense and sound of temple bells fill the neighborhood as worshippers visit shrines carrying plates of rice, flowers, and vermilion powder. There are nearly 3000 religious shrines in the Kathmandu Valley. History is interwoven with mythology of Hindu gods and goddesses and cultural values are based on the philosophies of holy books like the Swasthani, Gita and Ramayana.
Hindu and Buddhist worshipers have co-existed through the ages. Many Hindu temples are joined to Buddhist shrines and devotees may regard the same god with different names while performing religious rites. Nepal has very important temples and pilgrimage sites including the Pashupathi Nath Temple, the Hindu’s largest and most sacred temple of Lord Shiva dating back to at least 477 A.D. One of the most holy sites of pilgrimage for Buddhists is the place where the Lord Buddha was born in 623 A.D in Lumbini in the Terai. The archeological remains are surrounded by beautiful gardens, Buddhist stupas and monasteries.
Nepal is located between India and China . Its area of 147,181sq.km is 800km in length from east to west and 90-230km in width. Nepal’s elevation range is the most of any country: starting at 60 meters above sea level it rises to 8848 meters, the height of Mt. Everest.
Nepal is geographically divided into three majors regions. The low lying Terai region in the south is made up of farmland and forests. Chitwan National Park is in the Terai and famous for jungle safaris. Royal Bengal Tigers, one horned rhinos, crocodiles, snakes, fresh-water dolphins and around 350 species of birds are some of the wildlife found this region. The middle hilly region which includes the Kathmandu Valley is the trekking region of the country. These rich forests, waterfalls and rivers through terraced farmlands along with the backdrop of beautiful snow capped Himalayas account for some of the most idyllic trekking routes on earth. The mountain region in the north includes eight of the world’s 8000-meter peaks. There are 1300 other peaks above 6000meters in height.