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Nepal Introduction
Nepal

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. 

This small Himalayan Kingdom Nepal, which occupies just 0.1% of the earth is very rich in terms of bio-diversity. Its home to 2% of all flowering plants in the world, 8% (848 species) of the total birds in the world, 4% of mammals on earth, 11 of 15 butterfly families found in the world (500 species), 600 indigenous plant families and 319 exotic species of orchids.

The elevation ranges from 70m above sea level; Kanchan Kanan to 8848m above sea level; the world’s highest point – Mount Everest. The unique variation has given Nepal a varied ecosystem, thick tropical and alpine forests swarmed with diverse wildlife, great peaks of the world, frozen valleys, deep gorges, mysterious canyons, fast and furious rivers, running hills and cool and calm lakes. 

Nepal has a population of 23 million people, with more than 40 different ethnic groupsspeaking 70 different languages. Nepal bags a colorful array of vibrant cultures, exotic traditions, feasts and festivals lined up every month, unique and wonderful art and architecture and the warm hospitality that people share with each other. 
All these have made Nepal a living museum that people cannot resist to explore. 
Namaste! & Welcome to Nepal…………………..,

 

Nepal at a Glance 

General Information 

Nepal is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of bio-diversity due to its unique geographical position and altitude variation. The elevation of the country ranges from 60 meters above sea level to the highest point on earth, Mt. Everest at 8,848 meters, all within a distance of 150 kilometers resulting in climatic conditions from Sub-tropical to Arctic. 

Nepal – occupying only 0.1% of the earth – is home to: 
- 2% of all the flowering plants in the world 
- 8% of the world's population of birds (more than 848 species) 
- 4% of mammals on earth 
- 11 of the world's 15 families of butterflies (more than 500 species) 
- 600 indigenous plant families 
- 319 species of exotic orchids 

Area: 147,181 sq. kilometers 
Geography: Situated between China in the north and India in the south 
Capital: Kathmandu 
Population: 22 million 
Language: Nepali is the national language. However, travel-trade people understand and speak English as well. 
Currency: Nepali Rupee (approximately US$ 1 equals Rs. 74.65 ) 
Political System: Multi-party democracy with constitutional monarchy 
Religion: Nepal enjoys the distinction of being the only Hindu Kingdom in the world. However, there is a harmonious blending of Hinduism and Buddhism. 
Climate: Nepal has four major seasons, namely, 

(1) Winter: December-February 
(2) Spring: March-May 
(3) Summer: June-August 
(4) Autumn: September-November 
Nepal can be visited the whole year round. 

People: Nepal has more than 61 ethnic groups and 70 spoken languages. 

What to Wear: Lightweight clothing is recommended for May through October. Warm garments are required in October through March. An umbrella or raincoat is a must for the rainy season. 

People

ETHNIC DISTRIBUTION 

The Northern Himalayan People 
In the northern region of the Himalayas are the Tibetan-speaking groups namely Sherpas, Dolpas, Lopas, Baragaonlis, Manangis. The Sherpas are mainly found in the east in the Solu and Khumbu region; the Baragaonlis and Lopas live in the semi-deserted areas of Upper and Lower Mustang in the Tibetan rain-shadow area; the Managis live in Manang district area; while the Dolpas live in Dolpa district of West Nepal, one of the highest settlements on earth at 4,000 meters. 

The Middle Hills and Valley People 
Several ethnic groups live together in harmony in the middle hills and valleys. Among them are the Magars, Gurungs, Tamangs, Sunuwars, Newars, Thakalis, Chepangs and majority of Brahmans and Chhetris. The Brahmans and Chhetris have long dominance in all pervading social, religious and political realms. There are also some occupational castes namely: Damai (tailor), Sarki (cobbler), Kami (blacksmith) and Sunar (goldsmiths). Though, there exist numerous dialects, the language of unification is the national language, Nepali.

Ethnic Diversity in the Kathmandu Valley 
Kathmandu Valley represents a cultural cauldron of the country, where, people from varied backgrounds have come together to present a melting pot. The natives of the Kathmandu Valley are the Newars. Newari culture is an integration of both Hinduism and Buddhism. The Newars of Kathmandu Valley were traders or farmers by occupation in the old days. 

The Terai People 
The main ethnic groups in Terai are Tharus, Darai, Kumhal, Majhi and other groups that have roots in India. They speak north Indian dialects like Maithili, Bhojpuri. Owing to the fertile plains of Terai, most inhabitants live on agriculture. There are, however, some occupational castes like Majhi (fisherman), Kumhal (potter) and Danuwar (cart driver).

POPULATION OF MAJOR ETHNIC GROUPS

ETH. GROUP

POPULATION

BRAHMAN

2388455

CHHETRI

2968082

CHEPANG

36656

GURUNG

449189

LIMBU

297186

MUSLIM

653055

MAGAR

1339308

NEWAR

1041090

RAI

525551

RAUTE

2878

SHERPA

110358

THARU

1194224

THAKURI

299473

THAKALI

13731

TAMANG

1018252


Art 

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. 

Trade 

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 

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. 

Agriculture 

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. 

Economy 

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.