Facts About Nepal
Land-locked country in the Indian subcontinent, bordered by India along South, East and West while People’s Republic of China to the North
Location: Latitudes 26° and 31°N
Longitudes 80° and 89°E
Area: 1,47,181 sq.kms
Political System: Federal Democratic Republic
Currency: Nepalese Rupees ($1=NPR.87)
Time Zone: 5hrs and 45 min ahead of GMT
International Calling Code: 977+city code
Geography: Roughly trapezoidal and strategically sandwiched between India and Chinaoccupied Tibet. Indian states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim on the Indian side while across the Himalayas lies the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The stretch of around 800kms length and 200km width displays a dramatic diversity in elevation from 60mts above sea level to world’s highest point 8848mts. The three ecological belts Mountain, Hill and Terai run east-west.Terai, the southern lowland plains, almost at the sea level, are the most fertile area enriched with tropical forests while the northern border stands high with the great Himalayan range with coniferous forests on the slopes. The mid region has lush green beautiful valleys with short hills.
People: Nepalese, known for their rich culture, honesty, artistic skills and bravery are as diverse as their land. More than 101 ethnic groups enhance the colorful mosaic with their unique traditions, festivals and rituals. The Sherpas and Bhotias live in the high Himalayas and are tough mountain climbers. The hills
and valleys are inhabited predominantly by Brahmins and Chhetris making up almost 80% of the population. The mid hills are occupied by Gurungs, Magars, Tamangs in the west, Limbus, Rais, and Gurungs in the east, better known as the brave Gurkha soldiers. Newars, the earliest inhabitant of Kathmandu valley are famous for their artistry. The fertile southern plain is heavily urbanized with ethnic groups such as Maithali, Bhojpuri and Tharus.
Language: Nepali, written in the Devanagari script, is the national language as well as the lingua franca for Nepalese. Over 92 languages and numerous dialects are spoken by the diverse ethnic groups in the country. Tibetan dialects are widely in use among the communities living in the higher Himalayas along the northern border. Nepali, derived from Sanskrit is well spoken in the hills along with the regional dialects of the locals. People in the southern Terai speak Awathi, Maithali, Bhojpuri and rarely Hindi apart from a lot of their local dialects which are mostly unwritten. English is also widely spoken among the people involved in business and tourism sector.
Culture: Bikram Sambat(B.S) is the official calendar of Nepal. This system is 57 years ahead of the Gregorian calendar. New Year begins in mid-April with the Baisakh Sankranti(the first day of the first month). The 12-month schedule is based upon the mythological lunar calendar.Festivals are year around with Dashain(Sept-October) and Tihar(October) as major ones among the Hindu communities. Each ethnic group has its own culture, traditions, cuisine and dressings.
A typical Nepali meal is Dal Bhat( spicy lentil soup with boiled rice) and Tarkari( mostly steamed vegetables) served with Achar(Pickels) for everyday meal. Host of spices such as cumin, coriander, black pepper, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, chillies, mustard seed are a must to a traditional Nepali kitchen. 84 Benjan- an eighty four course meal consisting of delicious vegetarian and non-vegetarian items makes the best cuisine served during festivals. Nepalese believe in a Sanskrit proverb ‘Athiti Debo Bhava’ meaning ‘Guests are God’. So never forget to embrace the warm welcome with Namaste. Namaste, a humble greeting to guests, is done with joining two hands and bowing down the head.
Climate: The variation in altitude parallels with the variety of climatic condition in this country. The Terai plains experience subtropical summers while the Himalayas have alpine climate with cool summers and freezing winters. The mid hills with the valleys are pleasant with warm summer and cool winter. Basically the year around has four seasons
1. Winter: December to February
2. Spring: March to May
3. Summer: June to August
4. Autumn: September to November
The rainy monsoons begin from June and last till mid-September; even though the country can
be visited all year round.
Nepal is one of the richest countries in the world for bio-diversity due to the unique geographical
location and topography. The extreme variation in elevation brings about a consequent diversity
in wild flora and fauna. This country occupying only 0.1% of the total landmass of the earth is
-2% of all flowering plants in the world 180 species of mammals
-Over 850 species of birds
-650 species of butterflies
-600 indigenous plant families
-319 species of exotic orchids
-6000 species of moths