Nepal - The Himalayan Republic

Nepal is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia with an area of 147,181 square kilometers and a population of approximately 27 million. Nepal is the world's 93rd largest country by land mass and the 41st most populous country. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and largest metropolis.

Local legends say that a Hindu sage named "Ne" or "Nemuni" used to live in Himalaya and established the valley of Kathmandu in prehistoric times and that the word "Nepal" came into existence as the place protected ("pala" in Sanskrit) by the sage "Ne". This folk etymology of the name Nepal means, "the country looked after by Ne".

Nepal has a rich geography. Nepal is commonly divided into three physiographic areas: Mountain, Hill and Terai. These ecological belts run east-west and are vertically intersected by Nepal's major, north to south flowing river systems.

The Great Himalayan Range makes up the northern part of Nepal having eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest. It contains more than 240 peaks over 6,096 m above sea level.

The Hill Region abuts the mountains and varies from 800 to 4,000m in altitude with progression from subtropical climates below 1,200m to alpine climates above 3,600 meters. The Mahabharat Range reaching 1,500 to 3,000m is the southern limit of this region, with subtropical river valleys and "hills" alternating to the north of this range. Population density is high in valleys but notably less above 2,000m and very low above 2,500m where snow occasionally falls in winter.

The southern lowland plains or Terai bordering India are part of the northern rim of the Indo-Gangetic plains. They were formed and are fed by three major Himalayan rivers: the Kosi, the Narayani, and the Karnali as well as smaller rivers rising below the permanent snowline. This region has a subtropical to tropical climate. The fertile and humid south is heavily urbanized.

Nepal experiences five seasons: summer, monsoon, autumn, winter and spring. The Himalaya blocks cold winds from Central Asia in the winter and forms the northern limit of the monsoon wind patterns. In a land once thickly forested, deforestation is a major problem in all regions, with resulting erosion and degradation of ecosystems.

Nepal is popular for trekking, hiking, adventure tour, mountaineering, containing some of the highest and most challenging mountains in the world, including Mount Everest. Nepal is birth place of Lord Buddha and there are several holy sites for both Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims. The Himalayan country is also mostly popular for Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage tours.

Nepal at Glance

Capital: Kathmandu
Official Language: Nepali
Population: 22 Million
Unification: December 21, 1768
Area: 147,181 km²
Currency: Rupaiya (NRs.)
Time Zone: NPT (UTC+5:45)
Calling Code: +977