Southern Asia, between China and India
Total: 147,181 sq km
28 00 N, 84 00 E
0 km (landlocked)
Lowest Point : Kanchan Kalan 70 m
Highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m
Landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of world’s 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga – the world’s tallest and third tallest – on the borders with China and India respectively
Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People’s Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. Draped along the greatest heights of the Himalaya, Nepal is where the ice-cold of the mountains meets the steamy heat of the Indian plains. It’s a land of yaks and yetis, stupas and Sherpas and some of the best trekking on earth. The Himalaya’s most sophisticated urban cultures took shape here, in the three great minikingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley – Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur – home to a world-class artistic and architectural heritage.
Nepal has a rich geography. With an area of 147,181 square kilometres (56,827 sq mi) and a population of approximately 30 million, Nepal is the world’s 93rd largest country by land mass and the 41st most populous country. Kathmandu is the nation’s capital and the country’s largest metropolis.The mountainous north has eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest, called Sagarmatha in Nepali. It contains more than 240 peaks over 20,000 ft (6,096 m) above sea level. The fertile and humid south is heavily urbanized.
By some measures, Hinduism is practised by a larger majority of people in Nepal than in any other nation. Buddhism, though a minority faith in the country, is linked historically with Nepal as the birthplace of the Buddha. Many Nepali do not distinguish between Hinduism and Buddhism and follow both religious traditions. There are 3 different buddhist traditions: Himalayan Buddhism, Buddhism of Kathmandu Valley (mostly Mahayana and Vajrayana), and also the Theravada Buddhism.
A monarchy throughout most of its history, Nepal was ruled by the Shah dynasty of kings from 1768, when Prithvi Narayan Shah unified its many small kingdoms. In 2006, however, a decade-long People’s Revolution by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) along with several weeks of mass protests by all major political parties of Nepal culminated in a peace accord, and the ensuing elections for the constituent assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of the abdication of the last Nepali monarch Gyanendra Shah and the establishment of a federal democratic republic in 28 May 2008. The first President of Nepal, Ram Baran Yadav, was sworn in on 23 July 2008.
When to Come
Nepal has a typical monsoonal, two-season year. The dry season runs from October to May and there’s the wet (monsoon) season from June to September. Autumn (September to November) and spring (March to May) bring almost perfect weather and are definitely the best times to come to Nepal.
October to November, the start of the dry season, is in many ways the absolute best time. With the monsoon only recently finished, the countryside is green and lush, the air is sparkling clean and the Himalayan views are near perfect. Furthermore, the weather is still balmy. There are some important and colourful festivals to enjoy, though the Dasain festival in October can be disruptive if you are on a tight schedule.