The country most famous for its mountain ranges and peaceful lifestyle, Nepal contains the 8 out of 10 highest peaks in the world, including Mount Everest. They have very diverse terrains, from snow-capped mountains to tropical plains. It is the number one destination for mountaineers and climbers who wish to conquer the highest and most dangerous mountain, Mount Everest. More than a hundred thousand have trekked and visited Nepal in the year 2007. Several establishments have been built to cater to these trekkers and tourists, including tea houses, restaurants, and spas. There is also an opportunity to learn about a new culture and lifestyle through their Ethno-Tourism. Other activities include biking, kayaking, and jungle tours.
Important and Interesting Facts about Nepal
- 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.
- The mountainous north of Nepal has eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest, called Sagarmatha (सगरमाथा) in the Nepali language.
- The southern Terai region is fertile and humid. Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Gautama Buddha, is located in this region. Lumbini is one of the holiest places of the Buddhist religion; it contains important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimages dating from as early as the 3rd century BCE.
- 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.
- Visitors dream of trekking to the foot of the world’s highest peak Mt. Everest, called Sagarmatha in Nepali language, located in the Khumbu region of east Nepal. The region includes upper catchments area of the Dudha Koshi and Bhote Koshi rivers. The area is largely composed of the rugged terrain and gorges of the high Himalayas ranging from 5,800m to the top of the world Mt. Everest (8,848m).
- Starting point to the most astonishing treks to Annapurna Base Camp, Annapurna Range is rightly called the ‘Range of the Gods’. A blissful site, the Range is a natural amphitheater ringed by giant, heavenly treks like Annapurna 1, Glacier Dome, Gangapurna, Fang and the fishtail peak of Machhapuchhare. With several peaks ranging above 7000 meters, the experience is indeed thrilling.
- The magnificent temple of Lord Pashupatinath, about 5 kms north-east of Kathmandu, is situated amidst many other temples on the right bank of the river Bagmati. Pashupatinath Temple is considered to be the holiest Hindu Pilgrimage site in Nepal. Dedicated to Hindu Lord Shiva, the shrines and temples of Pashupatinath attract thousands of visitors from within and outside the country every year. This wooded ravine near the golf course and airport is considered to be one of the abodes of Lord Shiva.
- Royal Chitwan National Park (RCNP) has long been one of the country’s treasures of natural wonders. The park is situated in south central Nepal, covering 932 sq. km. in the subtropical lowlands of the inner Terai. The area comprising the Tikauli forest – from Rapti river to the foothills of the Mahabharat (place) – extends over an area of 175 sq. km. The area was gazetted as the country’s first national park in 1973. Recognizing its unique ecosystems of international significance, UNESCO declared RCNP a World Heritage Site in 1984.
- Listed as one of the eight Cultural World Heritage site by UNESCO, Kathmandu Durbar Square is a cluster of ancient temples, palaces, courtyards and streets that date back to the 12th and 18th centuries. The square is known to be the social, religious and urban focal point of the Capital City.
- The strikingly beautiful Golden Gate is Nepal’s pride. The gate is embellished with precious stones and is of great religious ands historical importance. The door is royal in built and structure and surmounted by the figure of Kali and Garuda. It is believed that the golden gate is two heavenly nymphs. The architecture and unsurpassable beauty of the gate enamors the tourists.
- Hanuman Dhoka is the former Royal Palace of the Malla kings and sequentially of the Shah dynasty. Several complexes, taking up about five acres, are connected together. Outside the palace is a stone inscription stationed by the late King Pratap Malla. The inscription has matter written on it in 15 different languages. It is said that if someone reads the inscription, then milk would gush out from the middle of it. Hanuman’s statue, dressed in a red cloak, placed outside the darbar, is an object of devotion.
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts about Nepal
- Nepal is home to one of the few places on earth where you can see both the Bengal tiger and the one-horned rhinoceros.
- Bob Seger wrote a song called Kathmandu in 1975. He wrote it at a time when he wanted to disappear from the record business, media and touring. Kathmandu represented a far way land where no one would be able to find you.
- The Nepali flag is the only nation with non-quadrilateral flag.The two triangles symbolize the Himalaya Mountains and represent the two major religions, Hinduism and Buddhism.
- In June 2001, a massacre of the royal family was carried out by the heir to the throne, who then turned the gun on himself! In all, nine members of the family were killed including the king, the queen and other relatives. The murderer survived for a few days, during which time he was declared king! Many Nepalis don’t believe the son could have committed such an atrocity, despite surviving eye-witness accounts.
- Spitting seems to have become something of a national past-time.
- Used bookstores are still alive and well on the tourist trail. Goosebumps is often the most available series for children.
- Saturday is the only official weekend day, but sometimes people are off for a half day on Fridays. Sunday is a normal work day.
- One of the most popular games in Nepal is called Carrom. It’s sort of like pool but with checker-type pieces that you need to knock into the corners.
- There are a lot of counterfeit goods here, especially The North Face and other companies that make outdoor gear.
- New Years in Nepal is on April 13. For them, this is the start of the year 2070!
- Shaking your head does not mean ‘NO’. Actually, in Nepal, nodding your head means ‘NO’ and bobbing your head side-to-side (as if bringing each ear closer to your shoulder) means ‘YES’. A very practical thing to know!
Historical and Cultural Facts about Nepal
- The first civilizations in Nepal, which flourished around the 6th century B.C. , were confined to the fertile Kathmandu Valley where the present-day capital of the same name is located. It was in this region that Prince Siddhartha Gautama was born c. 563 B.C. Gautama achieved enlightenment as Buddha and spawned Buddhism.
- Nepali rulers’ early patronage of Buddhism largely gave way to Hinduism, reflecting the increased influence of India, around the 12th century. Though the successive dynasties of the Gopalas, the Kiratis, and the Licchavis expanded their rule, it was not until the reign of the Malla kings from 1200–1769 that Nepal assumed the approximate dimensions of the modern state.
- The kingdom of Nepal was unified in 1768 by King Prithvi Narayan Shah, who had fled India following the Moghul conquests of the subcontinent. Under Shah and his successors, Nepal’s borders expanded as far west as Kashmir and as far east as Sikkim (now part of India). A commercial treaty was signed with Britain in 1792 and again in 1816 after more than a year of hostilities with the British East India Company.
- In 1923, Britain recognized the absolute independence of Nepal. Between 1846 and 1951, the country was ruled by the Rana family, which always held the office of prime minister. In 1951, however, the king took over all power and proclaimed a constitutional monarchy. Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah became king in 1955. After Mahendra died of a heart attack in 1972, Prince Birendra, at 26, succeeded to the throne.
- People in Nepal do not greet one another with a handshake, but rather put their palms together and bow their forehead and say Namaste (directly translated as ‘I salute the God in youˇ). This is the same greeting used throughout India.
- A popular and cheap ‘fast food’ is the Momo. Delicious dumplings made from flour and water filled with different fillings like chicken, meat or vegetables either fried or steamed and served with a dipping sauce.
- The Sherpas are an ethnic group from mostly the eastern mountainous part of Nepal. Many are employed as porters for mountain expeditions as they do not suffer the effect of altitude and due to their genetics and upbringing. Many groups refer to their porters as Sherpas.
- There is a strong animistic and shamanic tradition. Belief in ghosts, spirits, and witchcraft is widespread, especially in rural areas. Spiteful witches, hungry ghosts, and angry spirits are thought to inflict illness and misfortune. Shamans mediate between the human and supernatural realms to discover the cause of illness and recommend treatment.
- Only men plow, while fetching water is generally considered women’s work. Women cook, care for children, wash clothes, and collect firewood and fodder. Men perform the heavier agricultural tasks and often engage in trade, portering, and other work outside the village. Both men and women perform physically demanding labor, but women tend to work longer hours, have less free time, and die younger.
- Nepal’s literary tradition dates only to the nineteenth century with Bhanubhakta Acharya’s adaptation of the Hindu epic, Ramayana, for a Nepali readership. The development of literature in Nepal has been hindered by heavy government control and censorship, which led Nepali authors and poets to seek publication outside of Nepal until the 1930s, when Nepal’s first literary journal,Sharada, created a more open venue for literary expression.
- Dramatic productions often focus on religious themes drawn from Hindu epics, although political satire and other comedic forms are also popular. There is a rich musical heritage, with a number of distinctive instruments and vocal styles, and music has become an marker of identity for the younger generation.
- Daura Suruwal is considered as the National Dress of Nepal which consists of a knee-length sleeved shirt that ties closed at the side, pants and shoes called docha. This dress is normally worn by the Nepalese men and it may also subsist a coat or jacket over for warmth. Several aspects of the Daura Suruwal have religious implications for the Buddhist and Hindu practitioners in Nepal.