Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is located mainly in the Himalayas, but also includes parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. With an estimated population of 26.4 million, it is 48th largest country by population and 93rd largest country by area. It borders China in the north and India in the south. Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city. Nepal is a multiethnic country with Nepali as the official language. There are two main religions in Nepal; Buddhism and Hinduism.
History and Government
Nepal was known to the Ancient Indians. It was mentioned in classical Indian literature. In the 3rd century BC the great Indian Emperor introduced Buddhism into Nepal. Nepal was also in contact with China. About 200 AD a people called the Lichavis took power in Nepal. Under them, Nepal flourished and great temples both Hindu and Buddhist were built. Nepal is a republic with a multi-party system. The President is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of the executive body of the government.
Despite being such a small country, Nepal is extensively diverse in terms of topography. Mountains and rugged hills cover almost 75% of Nepal's land area.On the basis of the geographical structure, Nepal can be divided mainly into three regions: The Himalayan region, the Middle Hill region and the Terairegion. The highest elevation of Nepal is the summit of Mount Everest.
The country has a rich, multi-ethnic and multi-dimensional culture based on ancient traditions and social customs. The Nepalese culture is intertwined and closely related to the culture of the more massive Indian Sub-continent and is influenced by the Indian and Tibetan cultures. The culture has evolved over the years and is expressed through religion and philosophy, art and craft, music and dance, festivals and food, and languages and literature.Visitors are required to embrace native customers while visiting certain places such as temples. Like the locals, they must put on decent dresses, remove their shoes, and ask for permission before entering the Hindu temple.
Nepalese cuisine comprises of a variety of cuisines from the different ethnicities and has been influenced by Asian culture. In most instances, a meal is never complete without a sizeable amount of rice. Rice is mainly served with dal, spiced lentil soup, and a cooked vegetable known as tarkari. The meal is taken twice a day; late morning and early evening. Mostly, the meals also include a pickle “achar” which is made of vegetable or fruit. Rice may also be supplemented with flatbread known as “roti.” In regions where there is no plenty of rice, the main food is “dhiro” which is a thick mush made of millet or corn. Traditionally, people eat from their individual plates using their hands and while seated on the floor.
Best Time to Visit Nepal
Between October and December is the best time to visit Nepal as the skies are generally clear and the views spectacular. The weather remains dry until about April. January and February can be very cold, especially at night, but will reward you with incredible panoramas and quieter trekking trails as there are fewer visitors. Late spring is a beautiful time to travel as the rhododendrons burst into bloom.
While Nepal is mostly associated with mountains and hiking, there are plenty of other cultural and natural attractions to visit. Located in the old royal palace at Patan Durbar Square, the Patan Museum has been voted as one of the finest museums in South Asia. As soon as you step inside, you can see why. The interior has been beautifully restored (with the help of Austrian funding) and the displays on the Hindu and Buddhist heritage of the Kathmandu Valley are as attractive as they are informative. Asan (also spelled Ason) is an old bazaar in central Kathmandu that’s as famous for its amazing old temples and buildings as the trinkets, spices and clothing available here. The Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu is the most sacred Hindu place in Nepal. Lots of devout Nepali Hindus come here to die.