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Nepal, the Himalayan Kingdom

Facts about Nepal

     Like other countries, today's Nepal, the only Hindu kingdom in the world, situated in the Himalayas between India and China, also was not a single political entity in ancient times. There were small small pricipalities in the region. By late 18th century, Gorkha king Prithvi Narayan Shah united the priincipalities in the region into one kingdom. Learning from the experience of India under the British Raj, he banished the European missionaries from the country. Ironically, that isolation of a century retarded the progress of the country into a modern state.

    Topographically, it has the Himalayas in the north and the Terai in the south. Mt Everest is the pride of Nepal (8848 metres). The temperatures range from 40 degrees Celsius in the Terai in summer to minus 40 degrees Celsius in the north, as the altitude also increases. Peaks like Kanchenjunga (8598 metres) and Dhaulagiri (8137 metres) are also located in the Himalayas. Nepal's most beautiful animal and plant life is also found here in the north. Snow leopard is one such. The people here mainly work as porters and guides. In the hilly region below the Himalayas, between the Himalayas in north and the Terai in the south, is located the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. During summer the temperature reaches 32 degrees Celsius. In winter the capital records a low of minus 1 degree Celsius. The eastern Nepal hills get monsoon rains and the west depends on melted snow. The hilly region, across between the north and the south, can boast of harbouring the spotted leopard, barking deer and the black bear. Here also people work as porters and trekking guides. They also sell garments and carpets. Down south, the Terai has farm lands. The Royal Bengal Tiger, one-horned rhino and the gharial crocodile are found here. Industries are coming up. Kolkata in India's east is the nearest access to the sea for all Nepal.

  • Elevation extremes: Lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m; highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m

  • Natural hazards: Severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons

  • Geography: Landlocked; strategic location between China and India, contains eight of world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest - the world's tallest - on the border with China

  • Population: 27,676,547 (July 2005)

  • Ethnic groups: Chhettri 15.5%, Brahman-Hill 12.5%, Magar 7%, Tharu 6.6%, Tamang 5.5%, Newar 5.4%, Muslim 4.2%, Kami 3.9%, Yadav 3.9%, other 32.7%, unspecified 2.8% (2001 census)

  • Economy: Tourism is the main source of economy.

  • Travelling by air: Kathmandu, only international airport. There are direct flights to Amsterdam, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, Munich, Vienna, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Dubai, Karachi, Islamabad, New Delhi, Mumbai, Patna, Varanasi, Kolkata, Paro, Dhaka, Lhasa, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Osaka.

  • Travelling by Road: There are five official entry points to Nepal: Biratnagar (near Raxaul), Kadari (on the Chinese border), Bhairahawa (near Sunauli), Kakarbhitta which connects Nepal with Darjeeling, Sikkim and Siliguri. Birgunj is the most popular enty point for visitors. Entry into Lhasa through Kodari needs a visa for Tibet from Chinese embassy. Vehicles are left-driven. Transport: bus, taxi, hired bike and bicycle, domestic air service

  • Visa Information: Visa is required for all except Indians.Visa can be had at the airport on arrival. Department of Immigration, New Baneshwar, Kathmandu, Ph 494273; 494337 Trekking Permit is required for Kanchenjunga, Manaslu, Humla, Dolpa and Mastang.

  • Tourist Info: Airport Phone: 470537; Birgunj-22083; Pokhara- 2008; Bhairawa-20304; Janakpur-20755; Kakarbhitta-20208

  • Currency: Rupee

  • BEST SEASON to visit: Oct to May is dry season; wet monsoon from June to Sept Best for travel is sept - Nov.

  • Climate: Varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south

  • Languages: Nepali 47.8%, Maithali 12.1%, Bhojpuri 7.4%, Tharu (Dagaura/Rana) 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.6%, Magar 3.3%, Awadhi 2.4%, other 10%, unspecified 2.5% (2001 census). Many in government and business also speak English

  • Religion & People: There are Hinduism, Buddhism and pre-Buddhist Bon as religions, although Nepal is known as the only Hindu kingdom in the world. There are diverse ethnic varieties of population. Coming from the Tibeto-Burman stock, the Sherpa is known for mountaineering skill. The Sherpas join mountain expeditions. The great stupas of Swayambhunath and Bouddhanath are among the oldest and most beautiful worship sites in Kathmandu valley. Hindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9% (2001 census). Nepal in the only official Hindu state in the world


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For Tourist Info: Nepal Tourism Board

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