Nepal is a small and beautiful, developing landlocked nation. It has a border with China in the North and India in the west, east and south. It is about 800 kilometers in length and 200 kilometers in width with an area of 1,47,181 square kilometers.
When people think of Nepal, they automatically think of the Himalayan peaks that have made this country famous around the globe. Some people even consider Nepal to be a part of the World Heritage List, due to the many natural wonders that are present in this country. The most famous tourist spot in Nepal is Everest, and the surrounding areas of Mount Everest and nearby regions. Trekking to reach the top of the mountain is possible throughout the year, but the winter period is the prime time for climbing.
There are many popular trekking routes throughout Nepal. However, most of the popular trekking routes are usually found in the South, west and the central areas of the country.
Nepal is also famous among trekkers and mountaineerings due to some of its superb tracks. The most prominent trekking destination in Nepal is the Himalayan Region and it is famous for its high peaks including Kanchenjunga, Manaslu, Dolpo and others.
Weather and Climate
The climate of Nepal is tropical in the Southern part (Terai), Temperate in the Hilly region and Artic in the High Altitude Area (Mountain Region). There are five seasons: Summer (March-May), Monsoon (June-August), Autumn (September-November) and Winter (December-February). Winter in the mountains is cold and snowy, with temperatures below freezing.
The Highest Mountains
Eight of the top ten mountains in the world are located in Heavenly country, Nepal. The world’s highest mountain, 8848-meter high Mt. Everest is located in Nepal. The country is divided into three topographical regions which are the Mountain Region and the Hilly Region ( in Northern part) and the Terai region which is located in the southern part of country.
Mount Everest is the highest peak in the Himalayan Mountain Range. It lies within China’s autonomous region, i.e. Nepal and Tibet. With an elevation of 8,850 meters (29,035 feet), it is considered the highest point on Earth.
The mountain was named Everest after the former Surveyor General of India in the nineteenth century, George Everest. Climbing Mount Everest has become a successful and popular mountain climbing adventure. It is, however, a risky endeavour.
Nepali is the mother tongue of the 48% of the population in Nepal. Millions of Nepalese more regularly talk it as a second language. Nepali is the national language which is widely used in administration in the country. People also speak Nepali of various ethnic groups as a second language.
Nepali is spoken in India too which is among the 23 official languages and is widely spoken in Bhutan. Different ethnic groups speak other languages in Nepal. However, Nepali is spoken in cities and taught in schools. The total population of the country, according to 2068 census, is 26494504.
The main religion in Nepal is Hinduism. Hinduism is followed by almost 80% of the population. Buddhism is another religion officially practised by only about 10 % of the population, an important follow-up since Nepal is the birthplace of Buddha.
In Nepal, other religion practised include Christianity and Islam. It is a nation that is ethnically diverse, with different races, castes, tribes and rituals. In peace and unity, 102 ethnic groups, 92 spoken and religious languages coexist.
There is a variety of popular Nepali music which comprises of both traditional and modern. Each of 36 ethnic groups in Nepal has traditional folk songs in their language. Still prevalent for all ages, these songs are iconic. Many songs are about the hardships of the life of the country.
Nepal is divided administratively into five development regions, 14 zones, 77 districts, 7 provinces, 6 metropolitan cities, 11 sub-metropolitan cities, 460 rural municipalities, and 276 municipalities (Gaunpalika). Administrations commonly follow the calendar of Bikram Sambat calendar and this year is 2078 B.S. Vikram sambat calendar is 57 years ahead of the Gregorian calendar.
National animal, National bird, National color, National flora
Nepali national animal is the cow. The cow is a sacred animal of Hindu. Nepali national flora is Rhododendron, and Nepali national bird is Lophophorus (Danfe). The national color is Simrik.
The traditional men’s clothing is Daura suruwal. Daura is a full sleeves shirt, and the Suruwal is suruwal. The male wears shoes named Docha along with Daura Surwal. To keep warm, men may wear a coat or jacket over the suruwal to keep warm. The traditional clothing for women is the gunyo cholo.
Nepali flag is the only one national flag in the world which has a different shape, i.e. two triangles joining. The red in the flag signifies the Rhododendron (the national flower), which covers the Himalayan lower slopes.
The jagged edges of the Himalayas mimic the blue-edged triangles. The blue border symbolizes the country’s peaceful existence and hopes for sustained unity between Hinduism and Buddhism, the two major religions.
Recipes and Food
The main dish eaten in most parts of Nepal is Dal, Bhat and tarkari (rice, lentils, and vegetable curry). Tibetan cuisine is common in mountain areas and town areas. Maize, millet, Buckwheat, Jute, Tea, rice, wheat, sugar cane and tobacco are crops mainly produced in the country.
When you are in Nepal, participate in the momo mania! Apart from other beverages and delicacies such as Thupka, Dindho, Sel Roti, Everest beer, etc., it is a must-try.
Though Nepal is not a very strict conservative country and is accustomed to visiting the nation by an enormous number of visitors, there are a few things to keep in mind. For starters, avoid eating beef in public places and never offer your plate with food.
The most famous sports among Nepalese People are Football and Cricket.
Economy of Nepal
Nepal was an improvised rural society until 1951 when no school, hospitals or electricity facilities existed. Since that time, the infrastructure has been developed but in a simple way. International funding comprises 50%of Nepal’s development budget.
Nepal is an agricultural nation that still accounts for eighty percent of the population. A significant source of income is tourism in hiking areas and large cities.
The Nepal currency is Rupees. 1 Rupee equals 100 Paisa.
In particular regions and by certain castes, several religious holidays and festivals are observed. In the country, holiday dates can vary by year and place as well.
The difference is due to the various calendars in use, which includes two solar and three lunar calendars, and different astrological calculations from religious authorities. Holidays should not be respected if religious authorities do not consider the date is not conducive to a specific year.
Usually, in October the biggest festival Dashain takes place. The largest festival, Dashain, is usually held in October. This is a Hindu festival that worships the goddess Durga and celebrates throughout the nation by all Nepalese. Lasting 15 days, families get together for special meals.
Shortly after Dashain, families enjoy the Tihar by worshipping Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. Tihar usually coincides with rice harvesting time. The children go from house to house, singing traditional songs and dancing. The children hope to get some money and fruits and Rotis.
On the last day of Tihar, all the men and boys receive a tika of seven colors (a mark on their forehead made of flour and seven colors) from their sisters. In return, brothers give money or present to their sisters.
Teej is the sacred festival and ritual, particularly for Hindu women. Teej is celebrated on the third day after Aushi in the Bhadra Sukla Trayodasi (August). Teej usually begins at Bhadra Dwadashi (second day after the new moon). To celebrate Teej, Married daughters and sisters are invited to parents home, called maitighar in Nepali to celebrate Teej festival.
Janai Purnima or Raksha Bandhan Festial
Janai Purnima or Raksha Bandhan (festival of the sacred thread) is celebrated in the day of the full moon (Purnima) in Shrawan. Rakshya Bandhan is a famous Hindu festival in which the sisters tie a sacred thread or rakhi on their brother’s wrist to reaffirm the bond of care, love and protection and exchange of gifts and sweets.
Maha Shivratri festival
Maha Shivaratri or ‘Night of Shiva’ which is a sign of the union of Shiva (yin or male energy) and Shakti (yang or female energy) falls on the 14th day of the month of Magha (according to the Hindu lunar calendar) on Krishna. Paksha (the dark phase of the month when the moon is waning).
Bisket Jatra (or Navavarsha, literally meaning ‘new year’) is celebrated on Bhaktapur Durbar Square with great pomp and splendour, though it is celebrated in smaller towns with a minor difference in the rituals.
Buddha Jayanti / Purnima / Birthday
Buddha Jayanti (Swanya Punhi or Buddha Purnima) is a celebration of the Buddha’s three most important events of life; his birth, his death and the day in which he achieved nirvana (enlightenment), all falling on the same day. Buddha was born on a full-moon day (Purnima of the month of Baisakh (as per the Hindu calendar) in Lumbini, Nepal in 543 B.C.
Indra Jatra (Yanya Punhi) is Nepali biggest and most important festivals, as many festivals have been rolled up into one. The 8-day spectacle is held to propitiate Indra, the god of rain and heaven, and Bhairab Lord shiva’s another form, as well as to hail Kumari, the living goddess.
To propitiate Surya, the Sun God, Chhath Parva, is celebrated. Devotees offer prayers of thanksgiving for being the harbinger of life and prosperity, for longevity and well-being. On the 4th day after Tihar (on Kartik Shukla Chaturthi as per the Hindu calendar), the 4- day long celebration start and are marked by elaborate rituals.
Holi, colorful festival
Holi, which is traditionally celebrated in April, is another colourful festival. People get together and throw powders of color at each other. Nepal follows a calendar which is different from the Roman calendar.
Nepali New Year
The New Year falls in 1st of Baisakh month is a national holiday in Nepal. Lhosar is Tibetans and Sherpas celebrate a Tibetan New Year with colorful dances in February.
In Nepal, Christmas is celebrated no only by Christians, but by people of all religions. In this festival, families meet and reunite, Christmas trees are decorated and lit up, and presents are exchanged, in keeping with the season’s spirit of warmth and cheer the world over.
In specific regions and specific religions, various holidays and religious festivals are observed. Holidays cannot be kept when religious authorities consider the date to be inauspicious for a given year.
Nepal is mainly a patrilineal and patrilocal society. Arranged marriages are normal and compulsory in Nepalese culture. In Nepal, the elders in the family are responsible for finding a suitable partner.
The parents choose the partner in the base of the appropriate caste, education level, and social stratum when a child reaches marriageable age. In general, cross-cousin marriage is accepted by the few Mongolian ethnic groups, and Hindu castes do not accept such marriage.
The traditional greeting is to press one’s palms together before the chest and say namaste (“I greet the god inside you”). In urban areas, men followed the custom of shaking hands. In public, physical interaction between male and female is not acceptable.
In public, women can be affectionate with women and men with men. But even married couples are not allowed to show physical affection such as kissing or hugging in public.
Culture and Tradition
Guest hospitality is the best thing in Nepal. Guests are not permitted to help the members with food preparation or cleaning dishes after a meal. It is polite eating with only the right hand.
But it would be best if you once washed the hands. As saliva is considered as Defiling by which the hand used to eat food must not touch something else.
People do not touch the edge of their mouth when drinking water from the water vessel. In Nepalese culture, it is offensive to strike someone with a shoe or sandal, to point someone or something with the finger, and to step over a person is disrespectful.
National Parks, Hunting Reserve, Wildlife Reserve, Conservation Areas and Buffer Zones
There are 12 National Parks, 1 Hunting Reserve, 1 Wildlife Reserve, 6 Conservation Areas, and 13 Buffer Zones in Nepal. These conservation sites range from lowlands of Terai to high mountains, covering 23.39 % of the total land of the country. They are contributing to in-situ conservation of habitats and biodiversity throughout the country.
Nepal’s government conservation efforts are prominent around the world and are highly recognized by international societies.
Chitwan National Park
The Chitwan National Park (CNP), with its typical sub-tropical vegetation and oriental fauna. The national park lies on the southern border of the country with India. It was gazetted in 1973 as the first national park in the country, but more land was added to the east and west in 1977, with an area of 932 sq. km.
The United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) designated the CNP as a World Heritage Site on behalf of the world community in 1984, in recognition of its importance, not only to Nepal but also to the entire world and all humanity. The headquarters of the park are in Kasara.
The CNP possesses an ecological diversity, including rivers Rapti, Reu, and Narayani. From 150 m the hills of Churia rise steadily to the East to over 800 m. The lower but more rough Someshowor hills make up the western part of the Park. With the Parsa wildlife reserve, the Park shares its eastern boundary. The CNP is composed of tropical and subtropical forests.
The center of tourism in Nepal is mountain-related tourism activities, and about 43 percent of all foreign arrivals engage in trekking. This reality alone suggests that managing this sector with a delicate economic, social, and environmental balance in mind is of paramount importance.
In recent years, Nepal has become the world’s most popular hiking destination. You will enjoy the mild walks to breathtaking treks in the same nation.
Annapurna base camp (ABC), Poonhill, Langtang valley trek (Rasuwa), Mardi Himal trek, Everest base camp trek, Manaslu circuit trek, Kanchanjunga circuit trek, Manang trek, Nagarkot Trek, Dhampus village trek, Gokyo valley trek, Upper Dolpo trek, Khaptad, Panchase trek, Shikhles trek are the various trekking spots in the country.
Some of the exotic camping sites are Balthali village, lele village, Kakani, Gurjebhanjyang-Suryachaur, Nagarkot, Chitlang-Markhu-Kulekhani village, Lapsiphedi, Shivapuri National park, Pokhara, Illam. We do not suggest solo trekking for an inexperienced hiker unless you know what you’re doing. If you’re on a solo walk then at least hire a guide.
Generally, the best time to trek in Nepal is from March to May and from September to mid-December. December, January and February are the best months for those who want to hike the famous trek quietly and don’t mind the cold. For treks to the Upper Mustang and Upper Dolpo, the rainy season (June to August) is perfect.
Nepal is a reasonably safe place to fly. In the Himalayas, if you’re trekking/walking. Stuff on the mountain is unpredictable. The best way to enjoy unprecedented eye-level views of those magnificent mountain peaks is a Himalayan panoramic mountain flight tour, watching real Himalayan beauty unfold right in front of your eyes.
Mount Everest. Mt. Makalu, Mt. Gosaithan, Mt. Dorje Lhakpa, Mt. Gauri-Shanker, Mt. Pumori which are some of the most famous peaks that can be seen from a panoramic flight.
Places To visit in Nepal
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Eight World Cultural Heritage Sites are enlisted by UNESCO which are Bhaktapur, Patan and Kathmandu Durbar Squares; Swyambhunath; Baudhanath; Pashupatinath; Changunarayan and Lumbini (the birthplace of Lord Buddha), Sagarmatha and Chitwan National Parks.
These natural and cultural heritage sites are distributed throughout the country’s various geographical regions, so visitors visiting these areas may be the key attractions.
Lumbini, The Birthplace of Lord Buddha
Situated in the Terai area of south-western Nepal, Lumbini is world-renowned as the birthplace of the Apostle of Peace, Lord Gautam Buddha. On Vaisakha Full Moon Day, 623 B.C., the future Buddha, Prince Siddhartha Gautama, was born there when his mother Mahamaya was on her way to her native home, Devadaha.
As the sacred sanctuary, Lumbini attracted not only local scholars and pilgrims but also religious and scholarly people and tourists. In the southern plains of western Nepal, the Greater Lumbini Area includes the Kapilbastu, Rupandehi, and West Nawalparasi districts. Lumbini is home to many archaeological and religious sites relevant to the life of Lord Buddha.
Two of these sites are on the Tentative World Heritage list: Tilaurakot, which is the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Shakya. In the capital, Lord Buddha lived until the age of 29 as a prince; and Ramagrama, which is believed to have a stupa containing one of the eight relics of Gautam Buddha.
Janakpurdham, the birthplace of Goddess Sita
During the Treta Yug or period, almost 12,000 years ago, Janakpurdham, currently the headquarters of both the Janakpur zone and Dhanusha district, was the capital of King Janak’s ancient Mithila Kingdom. In the Devnagari script, the name Janakpurdham is made up of three words, i.e.,’ Janak’,’ Pur’ and ‘Dham’, meaning ‘father’,’ village’ and ‘renowned pilgrimage place’ respectively.
However, named after the sage king, Janak, Janakpurdham encompasses Mithilanchal or the region of Mithila. Janakpurdham is the only town in the world to have more than 115 ancient historical and mythological ponds. The region of Mithila prides itself on having the largest number of ponds in the nation.
There are almost 2,000 villages in Mithila, each of which has no less than four ponds. The Janakpurdham mango orchards might be a great attraction for visitors. At least half a dozen major festivals are celebrated in Janakpurdham with great fervour, such as Jhoola, Durga Pooja (Dashain), Chaath, Mithila Madhya Parikrama, Vivah Panchami and Ram Navami.
Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal
And, the most important things to do in Nepal is to Roam around Kathmandu capital city. The town is renowned for its medieval mosques, monuments, public areas, and monasteries. One of the most common things to do in Kathmandu is to take a half day or full day excursion in this capital city.
One of the recreational things to do in Nepal is to visit the cities of Bhaktapur and Patan. Bhaktapur is renowned for Nepal’s ancient charms. The temples & monuments’ wood carvings are breathtaking.
Pokhara, a Paradise of Nature lover
Pokhara is a paradise for nature-lovers and adventure freaks. Paragliding, camping, and mountain biking are some of the adventurous activities that you can do in Pokhara lakeside. Kathmandu is famous for its cycling routes and trails.
Filled with ondulating roads, lesser-known trails, trees, and valleys, Nepal’s capital is a paradise for biking enthusiasts for adventure. Mountain bikes on loan are readily available for exploring this enchanting landscape.
A wildlife safari via Chitwan National Park is undeniably one of the most exciting things to do in Nepal. For tourists, Elephant Safari and Jeep Safari are the choices.
One of the most exciting things to do in Nepal is to view Mount Everest from Gokyo Lake. In the Dudh Koshi valley, the picturesque & serene lake overlooks the lofty Everest will surely make you mesmerized.
A helicopter journey over Mount Everest and flights over the peaks and ranges of the Himalayas should be on the bucket list if you are planning a vacation in Nepal. The 3.5-hour helicopter trip experience will include an hour surprising and mesmerizing view of Everest and panoramic flight over other significant peaks.
The country surprises all adventure fanatics with the choices it provides; among them, bungee jumping is one. This is probably going to boost your adrenaline and give you goosebumps.
Ultra-flight will undoubtedly leave you breathless, one of the distinctive things to do in Nepal and the most famous one. The sensation in the stomach is what adventure enthusiasts search for when ground sweeps under your feet.
Fewa Lake is full of freshwater and is designated as one of most visited sites of Nepal.
A boat ride in this lake isn’t something you would want to skip on your tour around the country. As one of the largest caves in Nepal, Siddha Gufa is popularly located in Pokhara. The caves are approximately 437 meters deep and about 50 meters high. The trek can be done within a 90 minute time frame.
Rafting and Kayaking
Various rivers such as Lower Seti, Bhote Koshi, Sun Koshi, Trishuli, Kali Gandaki, Kamali and Marshyangdi rivers are known for the sports such as rafting, kayaking and canoeing.
In Nepal, these are three fun-filled and exciting events. Considered the Best White Water Rafting and Kayaking Destination in the World, the country offers an unforgettable experience of an electrifying rafting adventure with beautiful hills in the background and terraced paddy fields and quaint villages running alongside them.
Things to Buy
Singing bowls, Khukri, rice paper items, Thangka paintings, handicrafts, and more are some of the souvenirs that one must select from Nepalese markets.
In Nepal, there are various adventure sports, such as paragliding, bungee jumping, river rafting, hiking and much more.
Foreign diplomatic relation with other country
In the year 1948, Nepal and the USA established diplomatic relations. Bilateral relations are pleasant, and US policy aims to help country develop a society that is stable, healthy, resilient and democratic. On June 13, 1947, and August 1 1955, respectively, Nepal formed a diplomatic relationship with India and China.
Since the existence of China and India, Nepal has had diplomatic relations with these neighbouring countries. The foreign relations of Nepal with China and India have developed through various stages, events and periods in history.
Nepal has now established diplomatic relations with 155 nations, but with unique characteristics, foreign relations with China and India are much broader, stronger, critical, and complex. Nepal and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia established diplomatic ties on March 15 1977.
Nepal immediately opened its Embassy in Saudi Arabia at the Charge d’Affaires level in 1978. On January 18, 1965, Nepal and Canada established diplomatic relations. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the long-standing relations between Nepal and Canada have been based on mutual respect, sovereign equality, and goodwill towards each other.
While there are longstanding bilateral ties between Canada and Nepal, trade between the two countries remains modest. Germany and Nepal retained diplomatic ties as of 1958.
Since the beginning of the peace and democratization process in 2016, Germany has backed Nepal’s efforts to create democratic institutions. Nepal formed diplomatic ties with the UK in 1816. Between Nepal and Great Britain, the Friendship Treaty was signed in 1923, which further formalized relations between the two countries.
A visa can be obtained for Nepal upon arrival at the international airport of Tribhuvan, Kathmandu and at the points of entry at the border in Kakadvitta, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Gaddachowki on the border between Nepal and India, and Kodari on the border between Nepal and China.
From the nearest Nepalese Embassy or Diplomatic mission, you can obtain a visa for outside of Nepal. You can go to the department of immigration located in Kalikasthan, Kathmandu if you want to renew a visa.
Nepal Travel Guide