For some its home to the mother of universe; Mount Everest and the great mountaineers, for others it’s the land of brave Gurkha soldiers. Some love it as the only Hindu kingdom or the birthplace of Lord Buddha. For whatever reason one love the country, Nepal is the land of tremendous beauty and diversity.
Nepal at a Glance
Nepali art has been deeply influenced by religion since very early times. Early art of Nepal can be seen as stone sculpture and temple architecture. Other art include Newari Paubha and Tibetan Thanka paintings, wood and metal crafts, ceramics and clay pots, textiles, paper, Tibetan carpet, music and literature. Contemporary Nepali art represents two distinct segments, traditional idealistic paintings and the contemporary western style works. The contemporary painting is specially noted for either nature based compositions or compositions based on Tantric elements or social themes. Nepali painters have also earned international reputation for abstract works based on these themes.
Kathmandu Valley houses a number of museums and art galleries displaying art work of the past and present. Some are: The National Museum at Chhauni, Museums at Kathmandu Durbar Square, Museum of Natural History at Swayambhu, National Library at Puchowk, Kaiser Library at Thamel, National Birendra Art Gallery at Naxal, Asa Archives at Tangal, National Art Gallery at Bhaktapur Durbar Square, National Woodworking Museum at Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Bronze and Brass Museum at Bhaktapur, Nepal National Ehnographic Museum at Bhrikuti Mandap. Museums outside the Kathmandu Valley are such: Dhakuta Museum, Hattisar Museum in Bhimphedi, Mustang Eco Museum in Jomsom, Tharu Cultural Museum in Thakurdwara and International Mountain Museum in Pokhara.
Commerce has been a major occupation in Nepal since early times. Being situated at the crossroads of the ancient trans-Himalayan trade route, trading is second nature to the Nepali people. Foreign trade is characterized mainly by import of manufactured products and export of agricultural raw materials. Nepal imports manufactured goods and petroleum products worth about US$ 1 billion annually. The value of exports is about US$ 315 million. Carpets are Nepal's largest export, earning the country over US$ 135 million per year. Garment exports account for more than US$ 74 million and handicraft goods bring in about US$ 1 million. Other important exports are pulses, hides and skins, jute and medicinal herbs.
Manufacturing is still at the developmental stage and it represents less than 10 percent of the GDP. Major industries are carpets, garments, textiles, leather products, paper and cement. Other products made in Nepal are steel utensils, cigarettes, beverages and sugar. There are many modern large-scale factories but the majority are cottage or small scale operations. Most of Nepal's industries are based in the Kathmandu Valley and a string of small towns in the southern Terai plains.
Eight out of 10 Nepalese are engaged in farming and it accounts for more than 40 percent of the GDP. Rolling fields and neat terraces can be seen all over the Terai flatlands and the hills of Nepal. Even in the highly urbanized Kathmandu Valley, large tracts of land outside the city areas are devoted to farming. Rice is the staple diet in Nepal and around three million tons are produced annually. Other major crops are maize, wheat, millet and barley. Besides food grains, cash crops like sugarcane, oil seeds, tobacco, jute and tea are also cultivated in large quantities.
Nepal is a developing country with an agricultural economy. In recent years, the country's efforts to expand into manufacturing industries and other technological sectors have achieved much progress. Farming is the main economic activity followed by manufacturing, trade and tourism. The chief sources of foreign currency earnings are merchandise export, services, tourism and Gurkha remittances. The annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is about US$ 4.3 billion.
Do And Do Nots
You are requested to respect the local culture, their norms and values. Do not act or conduct or exhibit any behavior, which can be normal to you but contrary to local culture and tradition. Try to change yourself rather than the local values and norms.
• Do not enter anyone's house or temple without permission. Always, leave off your shoes outside, if you are permitted. The host may not want you inside the kitchen or near the cooking corner and praying room.
• Revealing clothes are frowned upon. Do not changes dress in open. Hugging or kissing or any other sexual displays in public is criticized.
• Do not take photos of locals without permission. They may expect a small baksheesh for being photographed. But it is advisable not to encourage such acts.
• Do not pamper the village children with sweets, money or pencils. You may end up with empty wallet but you will encourage them to begging.
• Village women do not like shaking hands. Join your hands and say "Namaste" if you want to greet. Namaste almost means "Hello".
• While visiting temples, stupas or shrines you have to take left to right.
• Never leave your belongings unattended.