Nepal is a landlocked country under sovereignty located in the South Asia. It lies in the Southern region of the Asian continent comprising an area of 147,181 square kilometers (56,827 sq km) of the earth. The People’s Republic of China borders it to the North and to the south, east, and west there is the Republic of India.
For such small a nation, the country has rather diverse cultures and traditions, languages and remarkable geographic diversity and topographical sub divisions ranging from the humid Terai in the south to the sky-high Himalayas in the north. From being closer to nature, to enjoying the upbeat night life in the urban areas, from devouring ethnic Nepali food to learning the ancient history of the country, from stupas and shrines to temples and monuments, Nepal’s amazingly diverse culture has something for everyone.
The moment you arrive in Nepal, you start believing how contagious a smile can be. You smile and everyone smiles back. The sense of friendship is just too conquering and the liveliness with which people float about is a sight to be delighted for. Frankness and honesty of the Nepalese people will set you back and the feeling of self discovery and spiritual peace is sure to over exceed your presentiment of blissfulness. The most spectacular and dazzling Himalayan country in the world, Nepal is a Shangri-La of nature and an enthralling feat; a magnum opus etched by the hands of mother nature. Idyllically beautiful, the nature looks as if it were crafted with the sole intention of endowing remedy to the sore eyes, furnishing you with glorified beauty more than your eyes can behold. With flora and fauna of such vast variety and a mosaic of scriptures and monuments, you will know you will have the time of your life while you are here.
Topography of Nepal
The Himalayan Region or Parbat has the altitude that ranges between 4877 meters and 8848 meters with the now line running around 488848 meters. Unlike other two regions which have lush and plentiful vegetation, Himalayan region has meager. Although scanty, the snow leopard and Danphes can be found here.
The Himalayan range cover approximately 15% of Nepal’s total area. Nine of the world’s fourteen highest mountain peaks are found in this region making it the main tourist attraction. Year round, this place sees visitors coming from abroad and from inside Nepal to enjoy the majestic view of the lofty mountains, Mt. Everest and Annapurna Base Camp being the most desired sight. Besides Everest, Mt. Kanchenjunga(8586 m), Mt. Lhotse(8516 m), Makalu (8463 m), Cho Oyo (8201 m), Dhaulagiri (8167 m), Manaslu (8163 m), and Annapurna (8091 m) and villages like Humla, Jumla, Dolpo, Mustang, Manang and Khumbu make it the most loved himalayan destination.
Due to cold climate and unavailability of land for plantation of crops, population is much fewer in this region although potato, oats and corns are grown enough here.
The lowland Terai region has a width of about 26 to 32 kilometers and an altitude maximum of 305 meters. Stretching from the international border with India in the Far-Western region to the Easter region and extending through the entire southern part of the country, and paralleling the Hill Region, the Terai region covers up 17% of the total area of Nepal. It is a tropical and subtropical belt of flat, alluvial land which is excellent for farming. The region is called Terai meaning the low-lying land.
Marshy grasslands and thick dense forests make the sub-tropical Terai zone rich in flora and fauna. The region is home to many rare wildlife species like the Bengal tiger, Gharial crocodile and one-horned rhino.
Easy access to the Indian border has made Terai a center to enhance trade with India. Maximum of the manufacturing industries of Nepal are based in Terai. Important cities are Mahendra Nagar, Dhangadi, Nepalgunj, Butwal, Bhairahawa, Birgunj and Biratnagar which are host to numerous factories and production houses.
The Terai ends and the Hills begin at a higher range of foothills called the Mahabharat Range.
The Hill Region or “Pahadi Bheg” in Nepali is extends mostly between 700 and 4,000 meters altitude. It comprises of mainly the Mahabharat, Siwalik and Chure range, this region covers up 68% of the country’s topography. Favourable climate, abundance of flora and faunas, this region is home to many exotic animals like leopard, barking deer, Himalayan black bear, over 400 species of birds and as many varieties of butterflies.
Equally desired and loathed because of the sweeping development and the dense population respectively, urbanization has been felt at its extreme in this region, leading to people to migrate from the Himalaya and Terai in search of better opportunities. Kathmandu, the capital and major city Nepal itself holds the largest amount of population. Another important city is Pokhara which is famous among Nepalese and foreigners alike for its scenic beauty. It includes fertile valleys such as Kathmandu and Pokhara which are also the major cities of Nepal itself. Excessive population has led to the deterioration of the region bringing pollution and hazardous climate change in the region.
The official unit of currency in Nepal is Rupee or in Nepali. The currency code for Rupees is NPR and the commonly used symbol for it is Rs. Rupee is divided into 100 smaller units of Paisa (p), which is the smallest unit of Nepali currency.
Nepal Rastra Bank, the central bank Nepal controls the issue and discharge of the currency. Notes in denominations of Rs 1, Rs 2, Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 are produced. Coins in denominatons of 25p, 50p, Rs 1, Rs 2 and Rs 5. Rs 1 and Rs 2 coins are most circulated.
Dialects and language
The official language and the mother tongue of Nepal is Nepali or Nepalese which nearly 50% of the total population use for everyday communication Nepali language is the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. Devanagari script, like in Hindi and Sanskrit, is the only script used in writing Nepali language.
Outside of Nepal, the language is spoken parts of Bhutan, India and Myanmar, Nepali is still a lingua franca in India’s Sikkim and Darjeeling and also influencing Bhutan and Myanmar.
Since Nepal is a multi-cultural and multi-linguistic country, every ethnicity or caste group has their own language. Besides Nepali, there are other languages there are other languages which that are widely spoken by members of particular groups. All the languages have their own significance in household level.
Maithili language (12.3%), Bhojpuri (7.53%), Tharu (5.6%), Tamang (5.19%), Newari/Nepal Bhasa (3.92%), Magar (3.39%), Awadhi (2.47%), Limbu (1.47%), Bantawa (1.4%), Gurung (1.3%), Bajjika (1.05%).
Environment and Climate
Ranging from tropic to the arctic, Nepal has a tremendous variation in climate which differ according to topography and altitude. Terai region is humid and can be scorching hot with temperature that can rise to 45 Degree Celsius (113 Degree Fahrenheit) during summer. The otherwise cool and mild Hill region has had drastic change of climate over the years. Global warming and green house effect have seen to have taken its toll on the region. The Himalayas can get to sub-zero temperatures but sun’s warmth can be felt during the day. This ice cold region has also become victim the hazardous climate change lately.
The year can be divided into four seasons: Autumn (between September – November), Winter (between December – February), Spring (between March – May), and Summer (between June – August).