The history of Nepal is characterized by its isolated position in the Himalayas and its two neighbors, India and China. Due to the arrival of disparate settler groups from outside through the ages, it is now a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual country. Its population is predominantly Hindu with significant presence of Buddhists, who were in majority at one time in the past. Central Nepal was split in three kingdoms from the 15th to 18th century, when it was unified under the Gorkha monarchy. The national language of Nepal is called ‘Nepali’, a name given – long after unification of Nepal – to the language called Khas Kura. Nepal experienced a failed struggle for democracy in the 20th century. During the 1990s and until 2008, the country was in civil strife. A peace treaty was signed in 2008 and elections were held in the same year. Many of the ills of Nepal have been blamed on the royal family of Nepal. In a historical vote for the election of the constituent assembly, members of constituent assembly voted to oust the monarchy in Nepal. In June 2008, Parliament ousted the royal household. Nepal was formally renamed the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal when it became a federal republic.
Nepal is divided into three principal physiographic belts known as Himal-Pahad-Terai. Himal is the mountain region containing snow and situated in the Great Himalayan Range; it makes up the northern part of Nepal. It contains the highest elevations in the world including 8,848 metres height Mount Everest on the border with China. Seven other of the world’s “eight-thousanders” are in Nepal or on its border with China: Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Kangchenjunga, Dhaulagiri, Annapurna and Manaslu. Pahad is the mountain region that does not generally contain snow. The mountains vary from 800 to 4,000 metres (2,600 to 13,100 ft) in altitude, with progression from subtropical climates below 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) to alpine climates above 3,600 metres (11,800 ft). The Lower Himalayan Range, reaching 1,500 to 3,000 metres (4,900 to 9,800 ft), is the southern limit of this region, with subtropical river valleys and “hills” alternating to the north of this range. Population density is high in valleys but notably less above 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) and very low above 2,500 metres (8,200 ft), where snow occasionally falls in winter. The southern lowland plains or Terai bordering India are part of the northern rim of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Terai is the lowland region containing some hill ranges. The plains were formed and are fed by three major Himalayan rivers: the Koshi, the Narayani, and the Karnali as well as smaller rivers rising below the permanent snowline. This region has subtropical to tropical climate. The outermost range of the foothills called Sivalik Hills or Churia Range, cresting at 700 to 1,000 metres (2,300 to 3,280 ft), marks the limits of the Gangetic Plain; however broad, low valleys called Inner Terai Valleys (Bhitri Tarai Upatyaka) lie north of these foothills in several places.
Nepal – Country Quick-facts
Area: 1,47,181 sq km (56, 827 sq miles)
Population: 28, 850, 717 (US Estimate 2016)
Population Density: 214.4 per sq km.
Time: UTC + 5:45 (9 hours and 45 minutes ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time)
Country Phone Code: +977
Capital City: Kathmandu (population: around 1 million people per 2011 census)
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Currency: Nepalese rupee
Drives on: Right
Location: Nepal, country of Asia, lying along the southern slopes of the Himalayan mountain ranges. It is a landlocked country located between India to the east, south, and west and the Tibet Autonomous Region of China to the north
0fficial Language: Nepali
Getting a Visa for Nepal
If you are visiting Nepal as a tourist, you can get a 15, 30 or 90-day visa on arrival at Tribhuwan International Airport. You will need to fill in an application form on arrival and provide a passport photograph. Multiple-entry visas are useful if you are planning to travel to Tibet, Bhutan or India. You can change your single-entry visa to a multiple-entry visa at Kathmandu’s Central Immigration Office for US$20. You can extend your visa upto 30 days by applying to the Nepali Department of Immigration at Kalikasthan, Kathmandu.
Currency of Nepal
The official currency of Nepal is the Nepalese rupee, but Indian rupees and even U.S. dollars are widely accepted. When paying with dollars, the default rate is often rounded down to US $1 = 100 Rs. That makes the math easier, but you’ll lose a little on larger transactions.
International-networked ATMs can be found in larger towns and cities. You will need to keep your ATM and currency exchange receipts if you intend to exchange Nepalese rupees on your way out of the country; this is to prove that you did not earn local currency while in the country.
The Best Time to Travel to Nepal
Nepal gets the most adventure seekers in spring and fall when conditions are good for long treks on the Annapurna circuit or to Everest Base Camp.
Between April and June, the Himalayan flowers are in bloom, and temperatures can even reach 104 F in some places before the monsoon rains come. Humidity ruins distant mountain views. You can avoid haze and leeches by visiting when temperatures are a bit lower. Obviously, temperatures at high elevations remain cold throughout the year.
The months of October to December offer the best visibility for mountain expeditions but also the busiest trails.
Nepal receives the most rain between June and September, however, the mud makes outdoor excursions much more difficult. Leeches are a nuisance. The distant mountain peaks are rarely visible during monsoon season.
Trekking in Nepal
Most visitors to Nepal come to enjoy the biodiversity and literally breathtaking mountain scenery. Eight of the ten tallest peaks in the world, known collectively as the eight-thousanders, are located in Nepal. Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on earth, stands at 29,029 feet between Nepal and Tibet.
Never trek alone. Use a reputable agency, remain on established routes, and walk with at least one other person. Always observe national park regulations and follow your guide’s instructions.
Altitude sickness is a risk, including on the Annapurna, Langtang, and Everest Base Camp treks. Accidents happens due to insufficient information, anappropriate equipment or over-estimation of your own capabilities. Follow the advice given by local authorities and guides. Ignoring such advice could put yourselves and other mountain users in danger.
The following hazards exist throughout the year, especially above 3000m:
Sudden weather change
Avalanches and snow drifts
Landlside and flooding
Glacial crevasses and hollows
Thunder storms and lightning
Take note of weather forecasts and conditions
Make sure you are physically fit and have the necessary experience
Be in a team of at least 2
Inform someone of your plans
Take warm clothes and wet weather gear
Use sun block (SPF20 or higher), sun glasses
Make sure your insurance covers you for your intended activity, including travel above 3000m, mountains rescue services and helicopter costs.