3. The Terai Region
The southernmost strip of land is flat plain known as the Terai region covering 17% of the _ total land area of Nepal. Its altitude ranges up to 600 m from the sea level. The climate, here, is hot. The fertile and arable soil of the Terai Region has given its identity as ‘granary (breadbasket) of Nepal’ yielding high amount of food crops. The region mainly supports the sub-tropical forest with hard stem, broad leaves, and evergreen tall trees.
It constitutes a broad stretch of level land extending from beyond the Mahakali Rivers on the west to the Mechi River on the east of Nepal. Because of the occurrence of hills and mountains on the north, the general gradient of this level region runs towards the south. On the basis of structure and surface relief, the terai region is relatively far more homogeneous than any other topographic units of the country. This terai region including inner terai basins encompasses approximately 25% of the total land surface of Nepal. It has been formed out of the age-long deposition of sediments carried by various rivers and streams debouching from the northern hilly and mountainous parts of the country.
The Terai Region is more developed than others in terms of infrastructural development. It supports to more population since it is fertile, plain and gets abundant rainfall. For instance, The Terai accommodates 50.3 % of 2,64,94,504 total people of Nepal while population density is 392 persons per sqr km.
Like the northern hills and mountains, even the terai region on the basis of location is popularly divided into three sub-units as (a) Eastern Terai (b) Central Terai and (c) Western Terai. But more significant from the geographic point of view are the three north-south sub-units introduced below:
(a) Terai (Outer or Open Terai) —
It is the vital part of the terai region and represents some 13 % of the total area of Nepal. Its elevation from sea level rises from below 100 m. in the eastern section to the maximum of 300m. in the western one and attains the maximum width of 56 km. It is not quite continuous; for it disappears at places where the Churia Ranges extend up to the border. Its eastern section is relatively much broader than the western one. Though limited in size and extent, this terai section, being composed of fertile alluvium, is of substantial significance from the viewpoint of agricultural production.
(b) Inner Terai —
There exist several synclinal valleys bounded by the Mahabharat Range on the north and the Churia Range on the south. These are of tectonic origin and are known as Inner Terai or Doons. In point of dimension, their east-west length varies from 32 km. to 64 km. Though their average width is reckoned to be 16 km, they are much broader in central and western parts where the Churia Ranges extend up to the border. Their elevation from sea level runs from about 200 m. on the east to 400 m. on the west.
These inner terai basins altogether represent some 8 % of the total area of Nepal. These are basically composed of alluvial soil which grows coarser towards the marginal parts close to the Mahabharat and Churia Ranges. The most widely known inner terai basins from west to east are Dang, Deokhuri, Chitwan, Makawanpur, Sindhuli, and Udaypur. In several physical aspects, they nearly resemble the outer terai plain and prove, therefore, to be potential agricultural areas of Nepal.
(c) Bhabar Tract —
It constitutes a narrow stretch of level land which gradually merges with the outer terai plain on the south and happens to be on the southern foot of the Churia Ranges. It is roughly 200m. high from sea level and represents about 4 % of the total area of the country. This tract is formed of coarser materials like sand, pebbles, conglomerates and rock detritus carried and deposited by the rivers and streams debouching from the Churia Ranges. Since its surface is in this way capped with such loose and coarse materials, water rapidly disappears from the surface; and hence this part of the terai region is of little significance from the standpoint of agricultural production. Almost all parts of this tract are covered since long with sub-tropical evergreen forest.
Facts About Geography Of Nepal
Nepal is a country situated on the Asia Continent. It is between India and China. There is giant China located in the north and India in the three directions West, East and south. The country covers 1,47,181 sq. km area with many geographical diversities. The term “Geography” refers to the science that describes the surface of the earth or specific area and its inhabitants. Similarly, the geography of Nepal refers to the science which deals with distribution, description, and interaction of the diverse physical, biological and cultural feature of the areas of Nepal. On the basis of economic condition, Nepal is a poor country but geographically we can count it as one of the richest countries. Here are some of the amazing geographical facts of Nepal:
- Out of its total area which is 1, 47, 181 sq. km, 92.94% in land and 7.06% of its area are covered with water. It is ranked in 93rd place in terms of area.
- Nepal has been geographically divided into three physical regions: Himalayan region, Hilly region, and Terai Terai is in the south, hilly is in the middle and Himalayan is in the northern part of Nepal and all of these regions have its own unique characteristics.
- The Himalayan region, the northern part of Nepal rises steeply from the north of the hilly region to altitude ranging from about 4000 meters to 8,848 meters from the sea level. The pride of the world “Sagarmatha” (Mt. Everest) which is also known as the highest peak in the world is located in this region.
- Hilly region which is located in the middle of other two regions is situated at the height of 610 to 3300 meters. Churiya and Mahabharata both of these ranges are the part of this region. Churiya range is located in between the height of 610 to 1872m whereas Mahabharat range is located in between the height of 1500 to 3660 meters.
- Terai region which is on the southern border of the country is at the height in between 60 to 610 meters. This region is extended from the Chure range in the north to the border of India in the south. It is also named as the most fertile region of Nepal.
- The geographic coordinate of Nepal is similar to that of Florida. With the height ranging from less than 10 meters to 8000 meters and the rainfall 160 millimeters to 5000 millimeters, Nepal has eight climatic zones.
- Tropical zone which is below 1000 meters experiences frost less than once per decade, subtropical climate zone from 1000 to 2000 meters experience frost up to 53 days per year, temperate climate zone which is from 2000 to 3000 meters has up to 153 annual days of frost, subalpine zone from 3000 to 4000 meters experiences up to 229 days of frost here, alpine zone which is from 4000 to 5000 meters and above 5000 meters the climate becomes nival where there is no human habitation or even seasonal use.
- Talking about the season of Nepal, the period is split into the rainy season from June to September which is due to the moist air from Indian ocean whereas the period from October to June is divided into a dry season due to the cold temperature causing dry air to flow outward.
- Nepal has sensational variation in altitude along this crosscut conclusion in a variety of biomes, from tropical savannas to subtropical broadleaf and coniferous forest in the hill, to temperate broadleaf and coniferous forest in the slope of Himalaya, to montane grassland and shrublands and finally rock and ice at the highest altitude.
- A few years ago, there was a saying among the people that ”green forest are the assets of Nepal” but in this situation, the greenery of Nepal is all gone. Deforestation (excessive use of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives), contaminated water and the huge earthquake of past year has hugely affected the geographical condition of Nepal.
- Nepal has three division of rivers i.e. largest system which flows from east to west and the rivers like Koshi, Mahakali, Gandaki/Narayani comes under this system. The second category rivers rise in the middle hills and Mahabharat range from east to west the Mechi, Kankai, Bagmati that drains the Kathmandu valley and the third category rivers rise in the outermost Siwalik foothills and are mostly seasonal.
- The rivers like Koshi which is also called Sapta Koshi and Gandaki/Narayani has seven Himalaya tributaries. Indrawati, sunn Koshi, Tama Koshi, Dudh Koshi,Liku, Arun, and Tamor the tributaries whereas Daraudi, Seti Gandak, Madi, Kali, Marsyandi, Budhi, and Trisuli are the seven tributaries of Gandaki/Narayani.
- The Gorge of Kali Gandaki located in Himalaya of Nepal named Kali Gandaki gorge is the deepest canyon in the world by measure. It is 5,571 meters or 18,278 feet lower than Annapurna I.
- The lowest point of Nepal is Musaharniya which is in Changsha district at 59-meter height whereas its highest point is Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) which is at the height of 8848 meters.
- The Landsat TM data of 2010 shows that the forest in Nepal has covered 57,538 sq.km of land which is about 39.09% of the total geographical area of Nepal.
- The broadleaved closed and open forest covers 21,200 sq. km of land which is about 14.4% of geographical area size and the needle-leaved open forest covers 8,267 sq. km land which is about 5.62% of the total geographical area of Nepal.
- Nepal comes in number 2nd in terms of water resources as it has a lost of fast flowing rivers which are being used for rafting and some of the rivers are being used also for generating electricity. Nepal has the capability of operating 53,000 MW of electricity which can enlight the whole Asia.
- Besides Sagarmatha, the highest peak in the world there are many are high mountains in Nepal like Kanchenjunga, Lotse, Makalu, Dhaulagiri, Makalu… and so on. All of these mountains are above 8000 meters and mostly covered with snow.
- Karnali is the longest river in Nepal which is about 507 kilometers. It lies in the north in the rainshadow of the Himalayas. Karnali has its origin endlessly Himalayan mountains.
- Nepal is a country with full of lakes and rivers as it is rich in water resources. The lakes like Rara, she-Phoksundo, Fewa, Tilicho, Indra Sarowar… are some of the biggest lakes in Nepal. Among these, Rara lake is the largest and deepest lake in Nepal which is located in Karnali zone, Jumla and Mugu district. It has a length of 5.2 km breadth of 2 km and depth of 167 meters.
So These are some Facts About Geography Of Nepal
This is the guest post by S.H. Shrestha.