Nepal is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of bio-diversity due to its unique geographical position and latitudinal variation. The elevation of the country ranges from 60 meters above the sea level to the highest point on earth — Mt Everest at 8,848 meters. This wild variation fosters an incredible variety of ecosystems, the greatest mountain range on earth, thick tropical jungles teeming with a wealth of wildlife, thundering rivers, forested hills and frozen valleys. This spectacular geography has also produced one of the richest cultural landscapes anywhere. The country is a living museum of 59 registered ethnic groups and sub-groups with over 70 languages and dialects. Nepal offers an astonishing diversity of sightseeing attractions and adventure opportunities found nowhere else on earth. Besides, one can experience numerous local festivals round the year, observed by different ethnic communities highlighting age-old customs, beliefs and traditions.
Nepal, the last Hindu Kingdom
Extension: 147,181 sq. km.
Border: Tibet (China) to the North and rest with India.
Region: Terai, Siwalik, Mahabharat, Pahar and Himalayas
Religion: Buddhism, Hinduism, Kirat, Bon, Muslims, Christians etc.
Currency: Nepali Rupee.
Language: Nepali & various proper dialects. General English.
Time difference: + 5h 45'.
Altitude: It varies from 70 m to 8848 m, the highest in the world - Mt. Everest
Climate: Nepal has four major seasons
8 of the world's 10 tallest mountains
2% of all world's flowering plants
8% or 848 species of the world's birds
4%of the world's mammals
11 of the 15 families of the earth's butterflies
6,000 of the plant species known to the world
319 species of the world's enchanting orchids
Access to Nepal
By Air The Royal Nepal Airlines (RA) is the national flag carrier of Nepal with flight to/from: Kathmandu (RA): Bangkok, Bangalore, Delhi, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Osaka, Paris, London, Shanghai, Singapore. Other International Airlines operating from/to Kathmandu are: Aeroflot Russian Airlines, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Druk Air, Gulf Air, Indian Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Thai International, Transavia.
Domestic Airlines: The Royal Nepal Airlines operates an extensive network of air service in the interior parts of Nepal. It has scheduled connection flights from Kathmandu to Taplejung, Bhadrapur, Bhojpur, Phaplu, Lamidanda, Tumlingtar, Rumjatar, Biratnagar, Simra, Janakpur, Ramechhap, Bharatpur, Meghauli, Pokhara, Jomsom, Manang, Baglung, Bhairahawa Nepalgunj, Surkhet, Dang, Dolpa, Jumla, Bajura, Baitadi, Dipayal, Darchula, Mahendranagar, Dhangadi, Tikapur and Sanfebagar. Other domestic airlines such as Necon Air, Buddha Air, Cosmic Air, Yeti Airlines, Skyline Airlines, Gorkha Airlines, Shangrila Air also operate regular and charter services to different popular destinations.
By Land The entry points at Nepal-India border are: Kakarbhitta, Birgunj, Belahiya (Bhairahawa), Nepalgunj, Dhangadi, and Mahendra Nagar. The only entry point at Nepal-China border is Kodari.
Road Transport Kathmandu is connected with India through the fertile plains of the Terai by means of picturesque highways. Visitors are permitted to drive their own vehicles, provided they possess an international carnet. There are regular bus services to Kathmandu from all the border points. The interior parts of the country are also linked with a number of roads. Buses plying to different parts of the country are available at the Gongabu bus terminal, located near Balaju.
People Nepal is a unique country inhabited by some 23 million people comprising of multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural diversity. Many of them have their own languages and customs. The Sherpas, Limbus, Rais, Newars, Gurungs, Bahuns, Chhetris, Tharus and other people of different castes live together cooperatively and peacefully in Nepal. There are 70 spoken languages and 40 ethnic groups in the Kingdom of Nepal. Nepali is the country's official language and English is spoken and understood by almost all the people living in the major cities. Religion
Nepal is the only Hindu state in the world. Hindus (80.62%) comprise the majority of the population, though Buddhists make 10.74% of the total population. Other religions include Muslims 4.2%, Kirats 3.4% Christians 0.45%, Jain 0.02%, Sikhs 0.02%, Bahai 0.01% and others 0.34%.
Hinduism: The Constitution of the only Hindu state requires the King to be a Hindu. Among the holies Hindu sties Pashupatinath is the most sacred temple for Hindus around the world. People from all over Nepal and India come to worship Lord Shiva during main festivals like Shiva Ratri & Bala Chaturdashi. Pashupatinath, the "golden-roof temple" is located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River, tributary of the Ganges. Cremations take place here and ashes are scattered in the river. The richly ornamented pagoda temple houses the sacred "linga", the phallic symbol, of lord Shiva. The chronicles indicate that the temple dates back to the 5th or 6th century (400 AD). Janakpur, in the Eastern part of Nepal, is another important pilgrimage site for the Hindus. It is the birthplace of lord Sita, the wife of lord Rama. Thousands of pilgrims assemble here throughout the year to pay homage at the Janaki Mandir, Ram Sita Bibah Mandap and Hanuman temple. Muktinath is one of the sacred "5 dhams" of Hindu religion. It is believed that all miseries and sorrows are relieved once a person visits the temple. Mukti means "Nirvana" or emancipation, "Nath" means God. The holy temple of Lord Muktinath is in the District of Mustang. Both the Buddhists and Hindus hold the temple in high esteem. There are several pilgrimage sites bearing cultural and religious values.
Buddhism: Buddhism started being a philosophical assumption, as a rule of ethnic conduct in the Western world and not as a religion. In fact, it was the fruit of meditation of a personality named Gautam Siddhartha, and much later, the Buddha. Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal. It is the ultimate Buddhist pilgrimage destination for the world's millions of devotees who believe in the faith. Buddha was born on this spot around 544BC. The Indian Emperor Ashoka erected "Ashoka Pillar" in recognition of the site. Another, holy pilgrimage for Buddhists is Swayambhunath which means "the place of the self-born". It is also known as the "Monkey Temple". This is the oldest stupa in the country and one of the oldest in the world. Its foundations are said to date back to over 2000 years. Painted on the four sides of the spire's base are the all-seeing eyes of lord Buddha. This Stupa was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Monument List in 1979.
We can divide tourism in Nepal into 4 major groups: 1.Adventure Tourism 2.Cultural Tourism 3.Village Tourism 4. MICE
1. Adventure Tourism: Nepal is considered to be one of the best adventure destinations in the world. The immense contrast in altitude and climate here supports a mixture of spectacular lifestyles, vegetation and wildlife. Nepal is the only country in the world where you can climb the highest peak, trek in the scenic landscape with the icy pinnacles in the backdrop as well as jungle safari in lush tropical forests. The varied landscape also offers raging rivers to raft, clear blue skies to glide, fine lakes and rivers to boat and fish.
2. Cultural Tourism: Cultural tourism, reflecting authentic ethnicity of the country, plays a vital role in Nepal's tourism. Nepal has 64 different ethnic groups each with their own customs, traditions and different language. These varieties in traditions and practices have enriched the cultural diversity of Nepal. Besides, it is said, "There are as many temples as there are houses and as many Gods as there are people." Nepal is a country of Days and Deities. Great religious days and religious deities run in the everyday life and blood of the people here. Not a single month passes without the observance of a great religious day of one or other sort. Festivals in Nepal means faith in God, feeling for family and friends.
3. Village Tourism: Nepal is fast emerging as a destination for various kinds of village tourism with many award winning concepts and development in Sirubari, Gorkha and other places. Village tours give visitors the opportunity to observe the rich and traditional cultures of rural Nepal from close quarters, and intermingle with the local populace. More, importantly, village tourism generates income at the local level and benefits those at the grassroots. Therefore, Nepalese village tourism, with its direct trickle effect, gives the spending tourists a great sense of satisfaction.
4. MICE: Nepal is one of the most happening incentive travel destinations in the world. Nepal is a land where you can revitalise your mind, body and spirits amidst the scenic and sensational backdrop.