Where is Nepal?
Nepal is quite simply one of the most spectacular and fascinating destinations on earth, situated between the great civilizations of India and China. It is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of bio-diversity due to its unique geographical position and altitude variation. The elevation of the country ranges from 60 meters above sea level to the highest point on earth, Mt. Everest at 8,848 meters, all within a distance of 150 kilometers resulting in climatic conditions from sub-tropical to arctic.
NEPAL AT A GLANCE
Nepal is a combination of ancient history, vibrant cultures and scenic splendor. Located between China and India, Nepal’s main geographical features include snow-capped peaks, lower mountains, hills and lush Terai plains of tropical jungles. Nearly one- third of the total length of the Himalayas and 8 of the world’s 14 highest peaks are in Nepal. The landlocked country covers an area 147,181 sq. kilometers ranging from 70 meter to the highest point at 8848 meters above sea level. Nepal’s popularity as a tourist destination has increased greatly over the years. While trekking and mountaineering have long been popular, an entire range of other activities are carried out. With the variety of adventure options, the country is a favorite among adventure lovers.
Location: Situated between India and Tibet, an autonomous region of the people’s republic of China.
1. Latitude: 26* 22′ and 30* 27′ North
2. Longitude: 80* 4′ and 88* 12′ East
Area: 147,181 sq.kms
Time Zone: 5 hours 45minutes ahead of GMT.
People: Nepal has more than 100 ethnic groups and over 125 spoken languages
Population: About 26 million
Population growth rate: 2.25 per annum
Currency: Nepali Rupees (approximately US$ 1 equal to 70)
Language: Nepali is the national language however travels trade people understand and speak English as Well.
Political System: Multiparty Democracy System
Topography: From the world’s deepest gorge “kali- Gandaki to highest point on earth” the Everest.
Vegetation: Nepal possesses wide range of vegetation due to its unique topographical variation.
Weather: Climate ranges from tropical in the low lands to arctic in higher altitudes.
Season: Nepal has four major season:-
1) winter (December – February)
2)spring (March – May)
3)summer (June – August)
4)Autumn ( September – November)
Nepal can visited whole year around.
What to wear: Light weight cloth is recommended for May through October, warm garment are required In October – March, An umbrella or raincoat is must for the rainy season.
Monsoon: Mostly rains day and night, making following days crispy clean and fresh. Most of the Northern belt of the trans- Himalayan zone is rain shadowed and ideal for trekking especially such as Upper Mustang, Dolpo, Manaslu, Around Annapurna etc.
Political System: Nepal was declared a Federal Democratic Republic state on May 28, 2008, during the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly. It was previously a multiparty democracy since 1990
National flower: Red Rhododendron (Laligurash)
National Animal: Cow
National Bird: Dafe (Impeyan Pheasant)
World Heritage Site (Cultural): 1, Kathmandu Durbar Square
4, Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple)
6, Patan Durbar Square
7, Bhaktapur Durbar Square
World Heritage site (Natural): 1, Sagarmatha National Park (Everest Region)
2,Royal Chitwan National Park
Important Notice For Visa Application: Tourist Visa Tourist who intends to visit Nepal must hold valid passport and visa.
You’ll need a visa to enter Nepal. You can obtain a visa at the Nepal embassy or consulate in your home country or you can get one on arrival at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International airport or at any road border. If you plan to stay longer than the duration of your initial 60-day visa, you’ll need to apply for a visa extension. The standard Nepali visa is valid for three months from the date of issue, so if you are getting yours before you leave home, don’t apply too early, or it will expire before you want it to! Children under 10 years do not require a visa.
How to Access Nepal?
There are two ways to enter Nepal , by air and by road. The air journey is more easy and comfortable than by road. Almost 90 percent of the tourists enter through the Tribhuvan International Airport which is 5 miles or 8 kilometeres from the heart of Kathmandu.
WHEN TO GO NEPAL
Nepal’s climate varies with its topography and altitude. It ranges from the tropical to the arctic. The low-land Terai region with its maximum altitude to approximately 305m, which lies in the tropical southern part of the country, for instance, has a hot and humid climate that can rise above 45 Degree Celsius (113 Degree Fahrenheit) during summer. The mid-land regions are pleasant almost all the year round, although winter nights are cool. The northern mountain region, around an altitude above 3,300m has an alpine climate with considerably lower temperature in winter as can be expected.
September, October and November (Autumn):
This is the best trekking season in Nepal which offers you excellent weather and wonderful mountain views. The trekking trails will be full of trekkers.
March April and May (Spring):
The second premium trekking season in Nepal. The temperature is quite moderates, especially the rhododendrons (National flower of Nepal) are in complete blossom and the mountain views are excellent.
June, July and August (Summer):
This is the most preferable season to trek in the rain shadow areas like upper Mustang, around Annapurna, Upper Manag, Manaslu and Upper Dolpo etc. these regions are out of reach of the rain clouds because of the huge mountains, and unaffected by the monsoon. This season is also good for forest researchers and botanist, during this time for trek raincoat and insect repellents are strictly required.
December, January and February (Winter):
This is winter in Nepal will be cold for high mountain trekking but still suitable time for trekking and hiking at lower altitudes normally below 3500m.
DOS & DON’T
With its diverse ethnic groups and traditional beliefs, Nepal has numerous cultural practices that may appear unusual to a person on his/her first visit to the country However, to enjoy your stay in the remarkable country of white Himalayas and sparkling rivers it is important to take into consideration the different cultural aspects of the country. Here is a list of things, which may be helpful to you.
The form of greeting in Nepal is Namaste and is performed by joining the palm together
Respect privacy when taking photographs
Before entering a Nepalese home, temple, and stupa remember to remove your shoes.
Cheap charity breeds beggars but does not solve their basic problems therefore do not encourage beggar by being benevolent.
Protect the natural environment.
Develop a genuine interest to meet and talk to Nepalese people and respect their local customs.
Take photographs only after receiving permission for the object or person being photographed.
Keep local water clean and avoid using pollutants.
Burn dry paper and packets in a safe place.
Never touch anything with your feet. This is considered an offence among Nepalese.
Respect local traditions, customs, values and sentiments to help them protect local culture and maintain local pride.
Plants should be left to flourish in their natural environment.
It is better not to touch the persons when they are on the way to temple.
Nepal has seen many rulers and ruling dynasties. The earliest rulers were the Kirantis who ruled from 9th century B.C. to 1st century A.D. Legends and chronicles mention that the Indian Emperor Ashoka had come to Nepal and visited Lumbini, the place where the Buddha was born, and where he erected a huge stone pillar to commemorate his visit to that spot. The Kirants were replaced by Licchavis who, according to the earliest evidences in inscriptions of the 5th century A.D. found in the courtyard of Changunarayan temple which is about 15 km north east of Kathmandu, ruled this country from 1st century to 9th century A.D. This period is noted for the many temples and fine sculptures built around the Kathmandu valley.
The Licchavis were followed by the Thakuris, then came the Malla dynasty. The Mallas ruled focusing mainly on the Kathmandu Valley which has been the residence for most Nepali rulers from time immemorial. No other part of Nepal is as rich in cultural heritage as Kathmandu . Thanks to the exceptionally talented crafts-men, who dedicated themselves to construct the many temples and statues, we have seven world heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley itself. In the 14th century A.D. King Jayasthiti Malla established a rigid social order. His grandson tried in every way to protect his country from suspected enemy states. Unfortunately, all his efforts were fruitless, everything went beyond his control and the country eventually divided up into 50 small feudal states including the three major ones in the valley
Then came the Shah dynasty. King Prithvi Narayan Shah who annexed small principalities including three states in the Kathmandy Valley and unified Nepal in a single kingdom. Recognizing the threat of the British Raj in India , he dismissed European missionaries from the country and for more than a century, Nepal remained in isolation. During the mid-19th century Jung Bahadur Rana became Nepal ‘s first prime minister to wield absolute power. The Ranas were overthrown in a democracy movement of the early 1950s. In 1768 A.D. the Shah dynasty ascended the throne of the unified kingdom. His Majesty King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev is eleventh King & Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev in the Shah dynasty.
The new democratic constitution of the kingdom was promulgated on November 9, 1990 . Nepal is one of the founder members of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation SAARC of which the third summit was held in Kathmandu in Nov. 1987.
Today, Nepal enjoys a multiparty democratic system
Religion and Culture:
Hinduism and Buddhism constitute two major religions of Nepal . A remarkable feature of Nepal is the religious homogeneity that exists, particularly between the Hindu and Buddhist communities. Apart from the Hindus and Buddhists, Muslim from the third largest religious group. The exquisite medieval Art & Architecture of the Kathmandu Valley vividly reflect the artistic ingenuity and the religious tradition of the people.
The major international airlines that operate scheduled services to Nepal are Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation(RNAC), Aeroflot Russian Airlines, British Airways, Biman Bangladesh, China South West Airlines, Druk Air Bhutan, Gulf Air, Indian Airlines, Lufthansa, Pakistan International Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International, Transavia Airlines and Qatar Airlines.
Passengers departing from the Tribhuvan International Airport are not required to pay an airport tax.
There are several entry points by land route. Among many entry points, Birganj, Belahia and Kakarvita are popular entry points at India-Nepal border, while Kodari entry point is at Tibet ( China )- Nepal border.
Tourist entry visa can be obtained for the following duration from Royal Nepalese Embassy or Consulate or other mission offices or at the following immigration offices in Nepal.
1. Immigration Office, Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu
2. Immigration Office, Kakarvitta, Jhapa (Eastern Nepal)
3. Immigration Office, Birganj, Parsa (Central Nepal)
4. Immigration Office, Kodari, Sindhupalchowk (Northern Border)
5. Immigration Office, Belahia, Bhairahawa (Rupandehi, Western Nepal)
6. Immigration Office, Jamunaha, Nepalgunj (Banke, Mid Western Nepal)
7. Immigration Office, Mohana, Dhangadhi (Kailali, Far Western Nepal)
8. Immigration Office, Gadda Chauki, Mahendranagar (Kanchanpur, Far Western Nepal)
I) Visa fee for visitors who enter Nepal for the first time in a visa year (Jan-Dec): Duration Fee
II) Single entry 60 days from the date of entry US$ 30 or equivalent convertible foreign currency.
III) Multiple entry facility can be obtained paying additional US$ 50 or equivalent convertible foreign currency. The facility will be valid for a visa year (Jan-Dec) if the visa period is valid
Toruist visa extension
A tourist visa can be extended up to 120 days from the Department of Immigration in Kathmandu and Pokhara Immigration Office on request. Thereafter an additional 30 days can be extended from Department of Immigration ensuring that tourist visa cannot be extended more than 150 days.
Nepal, a sovereign independent kingdom, (between 80° 4′ and 88° 12′ East longitude and 26° 22′ and 30° 27′ North latitude) is bounded on the North by the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, the East-South and West by India. The length of the Kingdom is 885 kilometers east-west, and it’s breadth varies from 145-241 kilometers north-south. The country can be divided into three main geographical regions. From the world’s deepest gorge Kali-Gandaki to Highest point on earth The Mt. Everest.
Himalayan Region: The altitude of this region ranges between 4877 m. – 8848 m. m. It includes 8 of the higest 14 summits in the world, which exceed altitude of 8000 meters including, Annapurna , Dhaulagiri and others.
Mountain Region: This region accounts for about 64 percent of total land area. The Mahabharat range that soars up to 4877 meter and the lower Churia range from it.
Terai Region: The low-land Terai occupies about 17 percent of the total land area of the country. There is no seasonal constraint on traveling in and through Nepal . Even in December and January, when the winter is at its severest, there are compensating bright sun and brilliant views.
The Caste System :
The caste system is still intact today but the rules are not as rigid as they were in the past. Because of western education, contact with foreigners, media, and modern communications, people are progressive in many aspects. In 1962, a law was passed making it illegal to discriminate against the untouchable castes. Hence all castes are equally treated by the law. Education is free and open to all castes
Nepali, like Hindi, is written in the Dev-nagari script. It is Nepal ‘s national language, apart from being the lingua franca of the country’s divergent communities that speak mutually unintelligible language and dialects. English is also widely spoken and understood in urban areas. In Tourism sector people speaks English, Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and other foreign languages.
Vegetation and Wildlife
Nepal possesses some of the most outstanding bio-diversity in the world, ranging from sub-tropical Rain forests to Alpine deserts. There are more than 6000 flowering plant species in Nepal . There are several native plants which are originated in Nepal . Himalayan Rhododendron is the most famous one.
Wildlife: Nepal has 30 species of large wild animals and approximately 180 species of mammal’s .The one horned rhinoceros, Royal Bengal tiger, crocodile, snow leopard, red panda, Himalayan black bear, and many other wild animals are found in the forests of Nepal . Nepal has 840 different species of wet-land, migratory and residential birds.
People of Nepal
Nepal is a melting pot of many races and tribes. With the population of twenty-two million, Nepal is an assortment of races and tribes, living in different regions, following different costumes and speaking different languages. Nepalese live under diverse environmental conditions from the low, nearly sea level plains at the border of India, northward through the middle hills and up to the flanks of the great Himalayan range where there are settlements at altitude of up to 4,800m. Farming practices are therefore equally diverse along with life styles and social customs
The early settlement of Nepal was accomplished by large-scale emigrations of Mongoloid groups from Tibet and of Indo-Aryan peoples from northern India. Nepalese of Indo-Aryan ancestry constitutes the great majority of the total population. Tibeto-Nepalese peoples form a significant minority of the country’s population. Nepali, a derivative of Sanskrit, is the official language; Newari, a language of the Tibeto-Burman family, and numerous other languages are spoken. About 90% of the population is Hindu, and the remaining Buddhist.
The best known of the high mountain people are the Sherpas who inhabit the central and eastern regions of Nepal. The Sherpas have easy access to Bhot (Tibet) for trade and social intercourse and therefore Tibetan influence on their culture and civilization remains distinct.
Tibetan speaking people
The high Himalayan settlements of Tibetan speaking people are found perched precariously on mountain ledges and slopes. Life here is delicate balance of hard work and social merrymaking, tempered by a culture deeply steeped in ancient religious traditions.
Tibeto-Burman and Indo-Aryan
The midlands are inhabited by various Tibeto-Burman and Indo-Aryan speaking hill and valley people, for example the Brahmins, Chettris, and Newars. While the Brahmins and Chettris are widely distribute throughout the country, the Newars are mainly concentrated in the Katmandu Valley and other towns.
The Rais, Limbus, Tamangs, Magars, Sunwars, Jirels, Gurungs, Thakalis, and Chepangs are other Tibeto-Burman speaking Mongoloid people found living in the middle hills. Each have their own distinct social and cultural patterns.
Lowland Terai People
The Dun valleys and the lowland Terai are inhabited by people such as the Brahmins, Rajputs, Tharus, Danwars, Majhis, Darais, Rajbansis, Statars, Dhimals and Dhangars. Though Nepal is a veritable mosaic of dozens of ethnic groups, they are bound together by their loyalty to the institution of monarchy, and by the ideas of peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance to form one unified nation.
Festivity is synonym to the Nepalese Culture. For the Nepalese, festivals are not merely the annual spectacles, but also are a living part of their rich cultural heritage. Festivals effectively bind together the Nepalese people of diverse cultural backgrounds and beliefs into one nation. Most Nepalese festivals are related to different Hindu and Buddhist deities. They are celebrated on days consecrated for them by religion and tradition
March-April April-May July-August August-Sept Sept-Oct Oct-Nov Nov-Dec
Ghode Jatra Biska Jatra
New Year’s Day
Red Machhendranath Jatra
Buddha Jayanti Gunla
Janai Purnima Gai Jatra
Tee Indra Jatra
Dasain or Durga Puja Mani Rimdu
Tihar or Deepali Balachaturdarsi
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