What makes Nepal so unique?
Nepal is the only country in the world with such large variations in landscape and climate so close together! The distance between the giant Himalayas in the north and the tropical lowland Terai in the south is less than 200 km. The biodiversity is therefore extremely great.
From kingdom to republic
Nepal was a closed kingdom for centuries. The national borders were opened about 60 years ago. Much of the ancient culture remains unchanged. Nepal was the world’s only Hindu kingdom until 2008 when the country became a republic. However, an agreement on the government has not yet been reached.
Nepal is one of the smaller countries in Asia, and is slightly larger than the U.S. state of Arkansas. It is approximately 800 km wide from east to west, and approximately 200 km long from north to south. The country shares borders with China (Tibet) to the north and India to the south. Large portions or Nepal are only accessible by foot.
The name Himal Alaya comes from Sanskrit and means “Abode of Snow”. The highest mountains in the Nepali area of the Himalayas are:
- Mount Everest – 8,848 m
- Kangchenjunga – 8,586 m
- Lhotse –8,516 m
- Makalu – 8,481 m
- Dhaulagiri – 8,172 m
- Manaslu – 8,161 m
- Annapurna – 8,091
- Ganesh Himal –7,249 m
People and culture
Nepal has approximately 28 million inhabitants. The majority of the population lives in the south and in the larger cities and towns. About 75% of the population is from Indo-Nepali and Indian descent. The other 25% belong to the Old Nepali groups of predominately Tibetan origin, including the mountain peoples. All of the various groups in Nepal have their own cultures and languages.
The official language is Nepali. Many Nepali people can understand and speak Nepali. English is also generally spoken in the more densely populated areas. Additionally, Nepal has dozens of local languages and dialects.
The most common religions are Hinduism, mainly in the south; and Buddhism, mainly in the north. There is great tolerance for other religions. Mixed types of religions are also common.
Life and work
Agriculture, trade and tourism are the main sources of income in Nepal. The climate is favorable for the cultivation of cotton, tea, rice, vegetables and fruit. Traditionally there is trade with Tibet. Illiteracy is still common in Nepal, as is child labor.
Hundreds of bird species, large and small wild animals, butterflies and other insects can all be found in Nepal; from the snow leopard and the tiger to the mountain marmot and the rhino. Hundreds of types of trees and shrubs, exclusive mountain plants and tropical orchids also call Nepal home. The biodiversity in Nepal is unimaginable thanks to the large differences in altitude and the difficult living regions. You can read more about Nepal by visiting diyonepal.nl