About Nepal

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Geography

Nepal is a country in Southern Asia and is located between India and China. Bordered by China 1,236 km and India 1,690 km Nepal covers total area of 143,351 sq km and its boundary is 2,926 km long in total. Nepal is a country which is surrounded by land from all sides.


The climate and weather of Nepal varies from hot summers to severe winters. Like variety of people and weather Nepal has varieties of lands. The land of Nepal starts from Kanchan Kalan which is 70m from sea level in Terai and passes through hilly region to the world's highest point Mount Everest at 8,850 m.


Nepal because of its natural beauty and its cultures is known worldwide. In Nepal more than 70 tribal groups survive and more than 60 different languages are spoken in different parts of Nepal. The national language of Nepal is the Nepali. The people of Nepal practice several religions. At present Nepal has the largest population of Hindu and Buddhist.


The capital of Nepal is Kathmandu and Nepal has a population of 30 million people.


History

Records mention the Gopalas and Mahishapalas believed to have been the earliest rulers with their capital at Matatirtha, the south-west corner of the Kathmandu Valley. From the 7th or 8th Century B.C. the Kirantis are said to have ruled the valley. Their famous King Yalumber is even mentioned in the epic, ‘Mahabharat’. Around 300 A.D. the Lichhavis arrived from northern India and overthrew the Kirantis. One of the legacies of the Lichhavis is the Changu Narayan Temple near Bhaktapur, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Culture), which dates back to the 5th Century. In the early 7th Century, Amshuvarma, the first Thakuri king took over the throne from his father-in-law who was a Lichhavi. He married off his daughter Bhrikuti to the famous Tibetan King Tsong Tsen Gampo thus establishing good relations with Tibet. The Lichhavis brought art and architecture to the valley but the golden age of creativity arrived in 1200 A.D with the Mallas.


During the mid-19th Century Jung Bahadur Rana became Nepal’s first prime minister to wield absolute power relegating the Shah King to mere figureheads.


Then on 1st June 2001, a horrific tragedy wiped out the entire royal family including King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya with many of their closest relatives. With only King Birendra’s brother, Gyanendra and his family surviving, he was crowned the king. King Gyanendra abided by the elected government for some time and then dismissed the elected Parliament to wield absolute power. In April 2006; another People’s Movement was launched jointly by the democratic parties focusing most energy in Kathmandu which led to a 19-day curfew. Eventually, King Gyanendra relinquished his power and reinstated the Parliament. On November 21, 2006, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Maoist chairman Prachanda signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) 2006, committing to democracy and peace for the progress of the country and people. A Constituent Assembly election was held on April 10, 2008. On May 28, 2008, the newly elected Constituent Assembly declared Nepal a Federal Democratic Republic, abolishing the 240 year-old monarchy. Nepal today has a President as Head of State and a Prime Minister heading the Government.


Climate

Climatic conditions of Nepal vary from one place to another in accordance with the geographical features. In the north summers are cool and winters severe, while in south summers are tropical and winters are mild. Nepal has namely five major seasons: spring, summer, monsoon, autumn and winter. An average temperature drop of 6°C occurs for every 1,000 m gain in altitude. In the Terai, summer temperatures exceed 37° C and higher in some areas, winter temperatures range from 7°C to 23°C in the Terai. In mountainous regions, hills and valleys summers are temperate while winter temperatures can plummet under sub zero. The valley of Kathmandu has a pleasant climate with average summer and winter temperatures of 19°C – 35°C and 2°C – 12°C respectively.


The Himalayas act as a barrier to the cold winds blowing from Central Asia in winter, and forms the northern boundary of the monsoon wind patterns. Eighty percent of the precipitation is received during the monsoon (June-September). Winter rains are more pronounced in the western hills. The average annual rainfall is 1,600 mm, but it varies by eco-climatic zones, such as 3,345 mm in Pokhara and below 300 mm in Mustang. An interesting fact is that there is no seasonal constraint on traveling in and through Nepal. Even in December and January, when winter is at its severest, there are compensating bright sun and brilliant views. As with most of the trekking areas in Nepal, the best time to visit are during spring and autumn. Spring is the time for rhododendrons while the clearest skies are found after the monsoon in October and November. However, Nepal can be visited the whole year round.


Here’s a brief view of the average temperatures and rainfall during peak summer & winter in 3 most popular tourist areas:

Place Summer (May, June, July)Winter (Dec, Jan, Feb)
Max (°C)Min (°C) Rain (mm) Max (°C) Min (°C) Rain (mm)
Kathmandu 28.119.5 312 19.3 3.0 15.4
Pokhara 29.721.3 829.7 20.3 7.7 26.3
Chitwan 33.025.3 404.0 24.1 8.3 13.8

Nature

Nepal’s 20 protected areas cover 23.23 percent of its land. Its 10 national parks, three wildlife reserves, six conservations areas and one hunting reserve cover various geographical locations from the sub-tropical Terai jungles to the arctic Himalayan region. Two of Nepal’s natural areas are listed by UNESCO as Natural World Heritage Sites. They are: Chitwan National Park and Sagarmatha National Park. Comprising only 0.1 percent of the total land area on a global scale; Nepal possesses a disproportionately rich biodiversity. Of the total number of species found globally, Nepal possesses 2.80 percent plants, 3.96 percent mammals, 3.72 percent butterflies and 8.9 percent of birds. Of 6,391 species of flowering plants recorded in Nepal, 399 are endemic. Among the 399 endemic flowering plants in Nepal, 63 percent are from the high mountains, 38 percent from the mid hills, and 5 percent from the Terai and Siwaliks. Similarly, the central region contains 66 percent of the total endemic species followed by western (32 percent) and eastern regions (29 percent).


Nepal’s wildlife belongs to the Pala arctic and Indo-Malayan realms. The 136 ecosystems is confined to 11 bio-climatic zones and 9 eco-regions that are defined by ecological features, climate and plant and animal communities. The endemic fauna are: Himalayan field mouse, spiny babbler, Nepali kalij, 14 herpeto fauna, and six types of fishes. Wildlife also include like endangered animals like the Royal Bengal tiger and the one-horned rhinoceros. Nepal is home 850 species of birds and more than half of these are found in the Kathmandu Valley. The natural resources of Nepal are water, hydropower, scenic beauty, quartz, timber, lignite, copper, and cobalt and iron ore. Vast expanse of land in the country is used for agriculture with about 16 percent of total arable land.

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