Location of Nepal
Geographical Location of Nepal
Most of the people wonder about the actual location of Nepal? Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal is a landlocked country in Southern Asia. It is a sovereign country mainly in the Himalayas but includes some parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Nepal borders Tibet, (an autonomous China) in the north and India in the south, east and west. Bangladesh is just 27km from the southeastern tip from Nepal.
Nepal is popular as the land of the Himalayas where the Himalayan range lies on the northern borderline between Nepal and China. Nepal lies The main latitude of Nepal is 28° North and its latitude is 84° East. This small country falls within the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle where the latitudes of Nepal prove its vicinity to the Tropic of Cancer. The climatic Pattern of Nepal is not a temperate one as the country is located at the foothills of the Himalayas.
With the total area of 1,47,181 sq. km, this small country holds a population of 28 million. Nepal is the 93rd largest country by area and 49th largest country by population. It is a small country occupying only 0.1% of the earth surface. Nepal has three geographical belts, the Himalayan, Hilly and Terai Belt. The elevation ranges from less than 100m above the sea level in the Terai region to the highest point of 8848.86m in the summit of Mount Everest.
Belts of Nepal
Himalayan Belt in Nepal
The Himalayan and its foothills lie in the northern border of the country. The Himalayan region occupies 15% of the total land area with 8% of the population living there. This region has some of the renowned Himalayan ranges. 8 out of the 10 highest peaks in the world falls in this region. Human settlement is very less in this region. Sherpas, Bhotes and Tamang are the major descendants of this region. Most people are engaged in climbing, expedition, mountaineering as well as a guide for the tourist. The highest altitude range is 8848m but human settlement is at less than 4000m altitudes, although summer settlement can be as high up to 5000m.
Hilly Belt in Nepal
The middle hill is the largest region among the three covering 68% of total land area. The Hilly region is the mountain region without snow. the hilly region lies south of the Himal, beginning at Mahabharat Range. This area is the home of the ancient ethnic people of Nepal and 45% of the total population resides in this region. The climate is very suitable in this region with a warm summer and moderate winter. The areas in the eastern hills receive most rain falls because of monsoon clouds from the Bay of Bengal. Beside human settlement, the middle hill is home to various habitats such as leopard, deer, bear, monkeys, butterflies and over 400 species of birds.
Terai Belt in Nepal
The Terai region is the lowland region covering a total land of 17% of the total land of Nepal. The flat region of Terai begins at the Indian border and includes the southernmost part of the flat named as Outer Terai. Terai is regarded as the cultivation land of Nepal as most of the people are highly active in farming and trading. Besides, Terai is the region with the different large industrial area. The human settlement in Terai is higher than that of Hilly and Himalayan with 48% of the total population. Terai is an area of heavily material sub-tropical forest inhabited by the Royal Bengal Tiger, leopard, one-horned Rhino, several species of deer with 450 species of rare birds.
Capital of Nepal
Nepal being a small country in southern Asia, there are cities which are popular all around the world. Kathmandu is the capital and largest city of Nepal which lies in the central part of Nepal. with around 1 million of the total population. Kathmandu is also popular as the city of temples where 7 out of 10 UNESCO listed heritage sites are inside the Valley. The city stands at an elevation of approximately, 1400m above the sea level. Kathmandu was the Royal Capital of the Kingdom of Nepal covering a total area of 49.45 sq. km. Besides, the city is also home to the headquarters of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) since 1985.
Kathmandu is the centre of Nepal’s history, art, culture and economy. It has a multi-ethnic population with the majority of the Newar community. Besides, the majority of the population follow Hinduism and Buddhism.
While the location of Nepal is in southern Asia, the capital city Kathmandu is the gateway to the Nepali Himalayas. Tourism is one of the major parts of the economy in Kathmandu as it was ranked third among the top ten upcoming travel destinations in the world and first in Asia by TripAdvisor. With its diverse culture and heritage, Kathmandu attracts lots of visitors every year. The famous heritage sites in Kathmandu valley are Pashupatinath, Swyambhunath, Boudhanath, Changunarayan and Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur Durbar Square. The city generally has a moderate climate with warm summer and mild winter. Climate is another factor that attracts visitors to this city. Kathmandu is home to a number of museums and art galleries as well as Nepal’s art and architecture is the combination of two ancient religions, Hinduism and Buddhism. Kathmandu, in particular, is an ancient city popular for its fine art and crafts.
Major Cities of Nepal
The location of Nepal is in southern Asia with the capital Kathmandu. Besides Kathmandu, the other major cities of Nepal are Pokhara, Narayangarh, Biratnagar, Birjung, Janakpur, Butwal and Nepaljung. Narayangarg and Pokhara are the best tours of tourist destinations in Nepal. Pokhara offers visitors with the natural scenario whereas Chitwan lets one explore the wildlife in Nepal. Pokhara is a valley like Kathmandu which is 200 kilometres west of Kathmandu. It is also the Gateway to Annapurna Circuit and popular for Paragliding and sunrise views over the peak of Himalayas from Sarangkot. Likewise, Narayangarg, Chitwan lies in the Terai region which is particularly rich in flora and fauna. Chitwan National Park in Sauraha is UNESCO listed world heritage site of Nepal inhabited by rare species including, Bengal Tiger, One-horned Rhino, Marsh crocodile, leopards with 450 species of Birds.
On the other hand, Biratnagar, Janakpur, Birgunj, Butwal and Nepaljung are the major industrial cities in the Terai region of Nepal. Birgunj is a city in Parsa district which is 135km south of the capital Kathmandu. Besides, Biratnagar is another metropolitan city that serves as the capital of Province No. 1 and the headquarter of Morang District. Janakpur is another tourism city in Nepal famous for Janaki temple. Butwal is mostly a commercial and trading city with upcoming link city for the nearby tourism. It is a connecting city between the nearby tourist town of Kapilvastu Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Nepaljung is another commercial and trading city in the Terai region of Nepal. Therefore, these are the major cities of the small country that lies in the lap of the Himalayas.
Climate of Nepal
As the location of Nepal lies in Subtropical range and few degrees north to the equatorial line. The climate varies with its topography ranging from sub-tropical to arctic depending upon the altitude. However, the presence of Himalayas varies the climate to a larger extent. The Terai region has a hot and humid climate whereas the midland region is pleasant almost all the year-round, although winter nights are cool. The northern mountain region, at an altitude above 3,353m has an alpine climate because of which the temperature is considerably lower all around the year.
Nepal monsoon of Nepal has made two clear wet and dry seasons where wet days of summer are Monsoon days. Most of the rainfalls in Nepal are during Monsoon in summer and the remaining are dry days. The Monsoon of Nepal is the major rainy time of the year in between mid-June and September. However, the months of seasons vary with slope and altitude of the mountain. Likewise, the northern slopes and higher altitudes are less warm whereas on the southern slopes and lower altitude there is regular rainfall with mild temperature. The rains mostly occur at night with occasional thunderstorms, making the next days crispy clean and fresh. However, the length of summer and autumn also depend on the Monsoon. Most of the northern belt of the Himalayan zone is ideal for trekking during monsoon.
Nepal summer is the hottest season of Nepal from May-August. In summer, the climate of northern Nepal is cool and severe, the mid-hill has a hot climate, whereas the temperature is extremely hot in the plains region. During the summer month, the average temperature is around 28-degree celsius. However, the temperature in mid-hill and Terai are higher than those of the Himalayas.
Nepal autumn begins with the end of Monsoon and ends with the beginning of winter from September to November. Autumn is the festival season in Nepal with major festivals such as Dashain, Tihar and chats. The days are warmer and the nights are cool and fresh. Autumn is the best season in Nepal for outdoor activities like trekking, rafting, and wildlife jungle safari.
Nepal winter months are from November to February. Winter days are also dry days with a few or no rainfalls. The days of Kathmandu valley in the winter season is 20 degree Celsius on sunny days but night temperature falls below freezing. The little rains in winter are due to Mediterranean activities and it predicts the starting and end of winter. Therefore, the winter rainfall in western Nepal has more rain than those of eastern Nepal.
Nepal spring begins from February to May with occasional showers and rains. The days are mild days whereas the nights can be a little cooler. It is the best time for the exploration of Nepal. This season is even best for the trekking enthusiasts.
Economy of Nepal
The economy of Nepal is dependent upon Agriculture and tourism. With the annual GDP of Nepal was $29 billion in 2018, Agriculture is the largest source of income in Nepal. Agriculture in Nepal reports 40% of the country’s GDP which employs about 65% of the total workforce in the country. Majority of people of Nepal practices Agriculture all over the country and they produce the crops accordingly. Like Terai is plain and wheat, paddy, millet farming are highly suitable in the land of Terai. On the other hand, the mid-hill is suitable for fruits and vegetable farming whereas the Mountain is famous for potato and apple farming. Overall, the most common crops are rice, millet, barley wheat, fruits and vegetables and potato farming. Beside Agriculture, animal rearing is another source of Nepalese economy.
Tourism in Nepal
On the other hand, Tourism solely is the second largest industry in Nepal. Nepal being a naturally, culturally and historically rich country, we welcome thousands of visitors yearly. Over 8% of the national GDP is from the Tourism industry and is the largest source of generating foreign revenue in Nepal. Trekking and expeditions are highly popular in the Himalayas of Nepal as Nepal is the home to world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest. Similarly, Nepal is also a birthplace of Lord Buddha who is considered as the Light of Asia. As well as the city Kathmandu is highly rich in art and architecture. So, this is the major source of attraction of Nepal for foreign visitors. Despite being a small nation, Nepal has a lot to offer to visitors.
Other major income sources in Nepal are foreign employment, manufacturing, services sector, etc. However, Nepal relies much on foreign aid and donation. In recent days, the economy has some signs of improvements where the annual growth rate of the national economy is 6.5%
A Brief History of Nepal
There are many legends and myths about how the country Nepal came into existence. Nepal’s history extends back to centuries ago when the Gopalas and Mahishapalas are said to be the earliest rulers of the valley. They were expelled by the Kirantis around the 7th or 8th Century B.C. Kirantis ruled the valley for many centuries. Later, around 300 A.D. The Lichhavis from northern India overthrew the Kirantis and began to rule over the kingdom. Lichhavis King Amshuvarma married off his daughter Bhrikuti to the Tibetan King Tsong Tsen Gampo in the early 7th Century. This marriage established a good relation between Nepal and Tibet. The Lichhavis first brought art and architecture to the valley. However, the golden age of creativity started after the Mallas conquered Licchavis in 1200 A.D.
The Malla ruled for 500 years. They built remarkable temples and artistically designed palaces with wood carvings and metal works. Malla even introduced spectacular religious festivals, literature, music, art and drama during their ruling period. The valley was divided into three kingdoms: Kantipur, Bhadgaon and Patan after the death of King Yaksha Malla. The whole Nepal was divided into 46 independent principalities and one of these was the kingdom of Gorkha ruled by a Shah king. Gorkha King Prithvi Narayan Shah conquered the three kingdoms in the valley and made Kathmandu the capital city. India was ruled by the British that time so Prithvi Narayan Shah banished European missionaries from the country, Nepal remained closed to the outside world for more than a century.
Jung Bahadur Rana
Then, First Rana Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana rose to power during the mid-19th Century. He started a hereditary reign of the Rana Prime Ministers. Rana ruled for 104 years in Nepal. Later, in 1950, the Ranas were overthrown with strong support from King Tribhuvan to bring democracy. The Panchayat system lasted until 1990, and King Birendra accepted constitutional reforms and established a multiparty parliament with him being the Head of State. Nepal held its first parliamentary elections in May 1991. Then on 1st June 2001, a Royal Massacre took place and the entire Royal family of King Birendra was Killed. His only brother Gynandra rose to power but was dethroned by another People’s Movement in 2006.
Then various democratic parties were established and the Constituent Assembly election was held on 10th April 2008. Therefore, the newly elected Constituent Assembly declared Nepal the Federal Democratic Republic, Nepal today has a President as Head of State and a constitutionally elected Prime Minister heading the Government
People of Nepal
Nepal is a multicultural, multiethnic and multilingual country. A small country where people of various castes speaking a different language with their own culture and tradition reside here. Nepal is a secular country with freedom in religion, culture and tradition. The most widely spoken language is Nepali, Newari, Maithali, Bhojpuri, Tharu, Nepal Bhasa, Tamang Bhasa, Urdu, Hindi and English. The earliest settlers of Nepal are Kirats, Newars, Tharus and Khas Pahadis. The kirats were the indigenous settlers of the eastern part whereas the Newars were the indigenous settlers of the western parts. The tharus were the prehistoric tribes who were the descendants of the plains. On the other hand, Khas Pahadi were the major settlers of the western part of Nepal during the ancient period.
Divided into three geographical belts, the settlement in Nepal is according to the geographical region. The upper region or the Himalayan region has the majority of Sherpas, Tamang and Bhotes who are highly influenced by Buddhism. The region is close to Tibet which is why the culture and tradition are similar to that of Tibet. On the other hand, the Hilly region of Nepal has a multiethnic group. Mostly the settlement of Hilly region is Newars, Brahmins, Chhetris, Magars, Gurungs, Rai, sunar, bishowkarma, etc. Most of the people are Hindu with the remaining one as Buddhist, Christians, Muslims. People are mostly active in Agriculture in the Village area whereas, in Cities area industries, business and banking are the major sources of economy.
Similarly, the major descendants of Terai regions are Tharu. The Terai belt is close to India so the culture and tradition are similar to that of India. An industrial centre, trading and agriculture are the major occupations of the people living in the Terai region of Nepal.
Mountains of Nepal
Nepal is widely famous as “the land of Himalayas’ ‘. Mountains are the jewels of Nepal. It is like an identity that represents us all over the world. The Himalayas in Nepal is the highest part of the Himalayan range in the location of Nepal, South Asia. The Himalayan range stretches over some 3,500 km and covers about 1,000,000 sq km of surface area between Afghanistan and South China where 800 km of the Himalayas is in Nepal. The Himalayan ranges occupy most of northern Nepal and spread into Tibet, an autonomous region of China and Sikkim in India. The Nepal-Tibet border follows the line of the wide Himalayan range including eight of the world’s 14 highest peaks, with Mt. Everest (8,848.86 m) being the highest in the world. Over 1,300 peaks of the Nepal Himalayas are 6,000 m high.
Higher Peaks of Nepal
Besides Everest, Nepal boasts seven other mountains which are above 8000m which are Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Manaslu, Lhotse, and Annapurna. This mountain range including Langtang, Dhaulagiri, Machhepuchre has attracted the attention of a lot of visitors as well as climbers. The Mountains in Nepal are popular for trekking and open for the summit. Yearly, thousands of trekkers and mountaineers visit Nepal for the exploration of the highest peak. There are several ways to explore the peak. One can either go for the base camp trek or view the majestic Himalayas through Mountain flight. However, those who are into extreme adventure and want to reach the top, climbing and summit are completely for them. As Nepal has several peaks for the summit, summit to the highest one, Mount Everest is what every mountaineer is aiming for.
Therefore, the mountains in Nepal offer you the panoramic scenery, the success to the summit, the adventure as well as the recreation.
Religion in Nepal
After the declaration of the secular country on 18th May 2006, people start practising several religion including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, Bon etc. However, the majority of Nepalis follow either Hinduism or Buddhism. As the location of Nepal is in South Asia, Hinduism is the oldest religion whereas Buddhism was started from Nepal itself with the birth of Lord Buddha in Lumbini, Nepal. Later people start following Christianity, Islam, Jainism, Sikhism, Bon with the declaration of a secular country. Despite the difference in their religion, people have co-existed in harmony through centuries.
Nepal being a small country in the lap of Himalayas is rich in Diverse vegetation, culture, art, architecture along with the natural scenario. Famous for being the home to High Himalayas, Nepal is a secular country where people’s choices and freedom matters. The location of Nepal is in the Himalayas. The warm hospitality of Nepalese people, their culture and tradition, ancient art and architecture makes Nepal a famous place for exploration. Cultural exploration, ethnic groups, their festivals and religion, adventure in the Himalayas create another sort of entertainment to your journey in Nepal. Besides, the Himalayan region of Nepal is highly influenced by Tibetan culture whereas the mid-hill has its own preserved culture whereas the terai being close to India gives the vibes of Indian culture.