Nepal is a small country, about 140 miles by 500 miles, located north of India and south of Tibet. (About the size and latitude of Cuba.) Closed to westerners until the 1950s, it is an ancient country of pilgrimage sites and trade routes dating back more than 3,000 years.
Nepal is best known as the home of the Himalayas. These mountains captivate the attention of people worldwide and motivate most visitors to Nepal. The peaks worshipped locally as the abodes of Gods challenge human perspective and remain forever in the memory. Mountains so immense that they dwarf anything created by the hand of man, some covered in ice and others naked spikes of black rock, soar seemingly above even the snow.
Were it not for the most spectacular mountains on the planet, Nepal might be known for history, art and architecture. For Kathmandu was a cultural center in the time of the Buddha (500 BC), and pilgrims' trails from India are literally worn into the rock in places. Nepal and the Kathmandu valley in particular are rich in religious art and architecture, and there are three ancient cities, Kathmandu, Bhaktipur (the City of Devotees) and Patan, to explore.
Nepal's southern border area is jungle forest, full of elephants, rhinos, tigers, monkeys, deer, water buffalo, crocodiles, and innumerable species of birds. The Chitwan National Park has several fine jungle camps located on the edge or just inside of the park, which are well worth a visit for anyone interested in animal life.
And with more than 25,000 feet of altitude change in 140 miles, Nepal's white water rafting is wonderful. Day trips and whitewater overnights are readily available, and longer rafting expeditions can be arranged.
Facts and Figures
Location: Between India & the Tibetan Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China
Area: 147,181 Sq. Kms
Latitude: 26D 4' to 30D 27' North Longitude: 80D 4' to 88D 12' East
People: 40 Ethnic Groups & 70 Spoken Languages
Political-System: Federal Republic; Multiparty Democracy
Topography: From the world's deepest gorge 'Kali-Gandaki' to the highest point on earth, Mt. Everest
Vegetation: As per the size of the country, Nepal possesses the most outstanding bio-diversity in the world, ranging from sub-tropical Rain-forests to Alpine deserts Weather: Climate ranges from Tropical in the low lands to Arctic at higher altitudes
Seasons: Winter (December-February) Summer (March-August) Monsoon (June-August) Autumn (September-November) Monsoon: Mostly rains at night, making the following days crispy clean and fresh. Most of the northern belt of the Trans-Himalayan zone is rain-shadowed and ideal for trekking during the rainy season.
National Bird: Impean Pheasant (Danfe)
National Flower: Rhododendron-Arboreum ( Lali Gurans)
World Heritage Sites (Cultural): 1. Swayambhu 2. Boudha 3. Bhaktapur 4. Changunrayan 5. Pashupatinath 6. Kathmandu Durbar Square 7. Patan Durbar Square The only country in the world where Seven World Heritage Sites are situated within 20 kms. of radius.
World Heritage (Natural): 1. Everest National Park (1148 sq.kms.) 2. Royal Chitwan National Park (932 sq. kms) National Parks: 1. Royal Bardia National Park (968 sq.kms.) 2. Langtang National Park (1710 sq. kms.) 3. Shey - Phoksundo National Park (3555sq. kms.) 4. Rara National Park (106 sq. kms.) 5. Khaptad National Park (225sq. kms.) 6. Makalu - Barun National Park (2330 sq. kms.)
Wildlife Reserves: 1. Sukla Phanta Reserve (305sq. kms.) 2. Parsa Reserve (499sq. kms.) 3. Koshi-Tapu Reserve (175sq. kms.) Conservation Areas: 1. Annapurna (2600sq.kms) 2. Makalu-Barun (2330sq kms.) 3.Dhorpatan (1325 sq. kms.)
Endangered Species: Tiger, Rhino, Snow leopard, Clouded leopard, Red panda, Brown bear, Asamese macaque, Gangetic dolphin, Wolf, Wild elephant, Giant horn-bill, Swamp deer, Wild yak, Nayan, Tibetan antelope, Black buck, Four horned antelope, Musk deer pigmy hog, Haspid hare, Pangolin, Gharial, Indian bustard Saras crane, Impean pheasant Python.
Wildlife: This country harbours one of the world's best habitat for One horned rhino, Royal Bengal tiger, Snow-leopard, Clouded - leopard, Red panda, Blue -sheep and long snouted fish eating Gharial. Other wildlife includes wild elephant, buffaloes, bisons, blue bull, brown bear, sloth bear, leopard, crocodiles and many varieties of cat, dog, deer and antelope families. And 840 different species of wetland, migratory and residential birds.
A Living Cultural Heritage: Our heritage is alive and dynamic. Shamanism, Pananimism & Witch craft are still practiced in remote regions. Temples, shrines, monuments and monasteries are extremely active with devotees burning butter-lamps, singing hymns, chiming temple bells and playing drums.
Visa: Available at Nepals Embassies and Consulates abroad or on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.
Currency: One US$=92 Nepali Rupees (summer 2013)
Time: Nepal Time is 5 Hours 45 Minutes abead of GMT.