Nepal is a Kingdom of high Himalayan mountains, artistic monuments, exotic wildlife and diverse cultures. It is the land where Lord Buddha was born over 2,500 years ago. Roughly rectangular in shape, the Kingdom of Nepal is situated between China to the north and India to the south. The land extends approximately 885 km east to west, and 193 km north to south. Nepal is primarily an agricultural country. Tourism, carpets and garments are the major industries.
The terrain rises from the Terai, the southern plains covered with tropical jungles and fertile farmland at almost sea level, to the high Himalaya mountains in the north – with valleys and lush hills in between – within a distance of less than 200 km. Eight of the 10 highest peaks in the world lie in Nepal.
Nepal contains a variety of climatic conditions ranging from the tropical heat of the Terai plains to the freezing cold of the high Himalaya. The mid-hills, particularly the Kathmandu Valley, are pleasant with warm summers and cool winters. Temperatures range between a maximum of 37 and a minimum of 8 degrees Celsius in the plains, 28 and 2 degrees Celsius in the Kathmandu Valley, and between -6 and 16 degrees Celsius in the mountains. The rainy season lasts from June to August.
WHAT TO WEAR
Medium-weight and easy-to-wash cottons can be a good choice year-round in the Kathmandu Valley. From October to February, woolen sweaters, jackets or similar other warm outfits are necessary. Short or long-sleeved shirts are good March through May. From June to September, light and loose garments are advisable.
Nepal provides shelter to over 30 species of large wild animals and approximately 180 species of mammals. The rhinoceros, tiger, crocodile, snow leopard, red panda, Himalayan black bear and many other beasts are found in Nepals jungles. Nepal is also a haven for birds and over 800 species, representing approximately 10% of the worlds population, are found here. There are more than 650 species of butterflies and over 6,000 species of moths.
Nepals many ethnic groups are as varied as its land with their own languages and cultures. In the Kathmandu Valley are the Newars, whose culture and artistry have earned them an international reputation. The Sherpas of the Himalaya are known as tough mountain climbers. Brahmins and Chhetris are scattered over the hills and valleys, and Tamangs are found in the districts around the Kathmandu Valley. The Rais, Limbus, Magars and Gurungs of the mid-hills have earned fame as Gurkha soldiers. Lowland ethnic groups such as the Maithili, Bhojpuri and Tharu enhance the colorful mosaic. The population of Nepal is about 23 million.
Nepali, written in the Devanagari script, is the national language as well as the lingua franca for Nepals diverse communities. Many languages and dialects are spoken in the Kingdom, however, only six (Nepali, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Tharu, Tamang and Nepalbhasa) are spoken by more than half a million people. English and Hindi are widely understood in the urban centers and places frequented by tourists.
Nepalese currency is the rupee (abbrev. Rs.) which is divided into 100 paisa. Bank notes come in denominations of 1000, 500, 250, 100, 50, 25, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 rupees. Approximate exchange rate at time of going to press US$ 1 = Rs. 77.
(in degrees Celsius;*rainy season)
Other places: Bhairahawa (max 43-min 6); Gorkha (36-7); Janakpur (40-8); Jiri (28-minus 6)