Nepal is a mountainous kingdom draped along highest peaks of the southern Himalayan slopes. It is a landlocked country tucked away in the Himalayas sharing its borders with Tibet (now China) and India. It occupies an area of 147,000 sq km and has a population of approximately 27 million. The greater part of the country lies on the southern slopes of the Himalayas, extending down from the highest mountain peaks through hill country to the upper edge of the Ganges Plains. The hilly central area is crossed by the Lower Himalayas, where eight of the world’s highest mountains, including Mount Everest can be found.
Cultural Diversity and the People
Nepal is mystical kingdom. It is the land of yaks and yetis, Sherpa’s, stupas and festivals. A festival is celebrated in some part of the kingdom everyday of the year. It is where the ice-cold temperatures from the Himalayan Mountains meet the steamy heat of the fertile Indian plains.The Nepalese people are the descendants of three major migrations from India, Tibet, and central Asia. Wildlife in Nepal includes tigers, leopards, gaur, elephants, buffalo, deer and rhinos.
Nepal’s cities also are an extraordinary sensory overload. The streets of Kathmandu are clogged with traffic and studded with ancient palaces and temples where every morning and afternoon people serenely make offerings, ring temple bells and light incense. Nepal is the birthplace of Buddha. The historic centre of Nepal lies in the Kathmandu Valley where two of the world’s great religions, Buddhism and Hinduism, intermingle in ancient temples and shrines.
Hindu Temples and Buddhist shrines are scattered throughout the kingdom. Nepal is rich in both culture and religion. Hinduism is practiced by a greater majority of people. Tibetan Buddhism is also a prominent religion in Nepal. Traditional Tibetan monasteries are visible on hill tops across the region. The majority of monasteries are homes to Tibetan lamas (advanced spiritual teachers) and monks of all ages.
Exquisite woodcarvings dating back for centuries embellish ancient buildings across the Kathmandu valley. Kathmandu is the nation’s capital and the country’s largest metropolitan city.
Nepal is also one of the poorest countries on earth and its economy depends on international aid and tourism.
Many visitors are drawn to Nepal by the promise of adventure and leave equally enchanted by the friendliness and openness of the Nepali people.
Many visitors are deeply moved by the poverty, strength, and indomitable spirit of the people. They also see the beauty in the children and many return home agreeing with the claim, "Visit Nepal and your life will be changed."
The streets of Nepal are a hive of activity and the place where a large portion of daily life and business takes place.
Craftsman creating works of art, open air markets, stalls, festivals and small family shops are visible throughout the narrow streets of Kathmandu.
The Kathmandu Valley possesses many historical monuments. Old palaces, palace squares, shrines and temples can be seen everywhere. The ageless traditions and legends make it a living museum.
The valley is also home to the some of the world’s oldest and largest stupas, Swayambhunath and Boudanath.
Swayambhunath, also known as the monkey temple It is an ancient stupa and a pilgrimage site for tourists, Hindu and Buddhist traditions. Both temples are over 2000 years old and regarded as sacred sites. The temple is high on a hill and home to a small number of Nepalese families and 2 large families of monkeys. The monkeys can be seen mischievously swinging from high prayer flags and intermingling with the visitors. They are fed daily by the local Nepalese residents.
Boudanath is home to a large Tibetan community and highly rich in Tibetan culture and Buddhism. The world’s largest stupa is located in the centre of the community. A constant flow of people march around the stupa amidst the aroma of burning incense and Himalayan juniper.
Nepal is the also the land of Lord Pashupatinath, known as the holiest Hindu temple in the world Please visit our image gallery.
The Himalayas most complex civilisations were formed here hundreds of years ago and were ruled by a dynasty of kings. The three great mini kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley are Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. Each kingdom is a home to a world class artistic and architectural heritage. It is believed that the design of the Chinese’s pagoda originated from the architectural designs of Patan and Bhaktapur. The buildings are hundreds of years old and still in use today.
Nepal has been a monarchy throughout most of its history. Prithvi Narayan Shah, a Shah Dynasty king, unified the many small kingdoms in 1768. Since then, the country has been ruled by a dynasty of kings. However, a recent decade long revolution by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) resulted in a peace accord. Nepal became a republic in May 2008 after a specially elected assembly abolished the 239 year-old monarchy. Nepal’s kings were traditionally considered incarnations of the god Vishnu, one of the trinity of Hindu gods.
Nepal is an amazingly diverse country that offers something for everyone. One journey through this mystical land is rarely enough. The first thing many people do after a visit is start planning the next one.