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About Nepal

  • Siddartha Mishra
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  • January 24, 2015
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About Nepal History

According to Hindu myth, the history of Nepalese culture and civilization can be traced back to age of King Manu, who is believed to be the first king of the world. He ruled Nepal during the Age of Truth (Satyayug). At that time, Nepal was known as the land of truth. In the Sliver Age (Tretayug),Nepal was known as the land of solitary and penance. In the Copper Age (Dwaparyug), Nepal was known as the ladder of salvation (Muktisopan). After that came the Iron Age in Nepal.Today, the present age of science and technology is called Kaliyug.

 

The word Nepal holds great significance as the name of our country. According to history, the kings of the Gopal dynasty ruled over the land, and they named it Nepal. It is also said that a sage called ‘Ne’ lived in penance on the confluence of the holy BagmatiRiver. He was the sole advisor for theKing,hence the name “Nepal” was derived from his name. Similarly, in the Limbu dialect, ‘Ne’ means plain area, which describes the Kathmandu Valley.

 

It is believed that many sages, like Bishwamitra, Agastya, Valmiki, Kanwa, Yagyavalkya and others, used to meditate in the forests of Nepal.

 

Nepal is the region where Prince Siddhartha was born, who later became the god GautamBudhha.

Besides myths, it is said that the first civilization flourished around the 6th century.The successive dynasties of Gopal, Kiranti, and Lichhavi expanded their rule, but the Malla dynasty, from 1200 to 1769, was the first modern stage in Nepal’s history.

 

The kingdom of Nepal was unified in 1786 by Prithivi Narayan Shah of Shah Dynasty. King Gyanendra was the last king to rule Nepal before the royal dynasty was dismissed. In earlier times the king was the most valuable aspect of Nepalese politics but later on Nepalese people, with the support of major eight political parties, decided to restore loktantra, or democracy. After a continuous 19 days of people’s mass movement, King Gyanendra dismissed his government and asked to reform anew parliament and referendum and redraft the constitution. Later the election for the constitution assembly was held and we the Nepalese are now in a constitution drafting process. Officially speaking Nepal is declared as a secular nation by this constitution assembly result.

 

Geography

Nepal, a landlocked country, is situated between some of the world’s two biggest countries – India and China’s Tibetan autonomous region. Because of this Nepal has a tremendous geographic diversity. The Himalayan ranges are an identifiable aspect of the Nepalese geographical boundaries. It’s mountainous and hilly topography is, in many ways, magnificent. The definable point of the Himalayan ranges for Nepal is that it is the home country of Mt. Everest, the world’s highest mountain. This fact, combined with the alluring sensations the Himalayan ranges invokes, often brings tourists from all around the world who wish to witness these incredible sights.

 

Nepal encompasses 147,181 Sq. km of land in a rough rectangular shape. Despite its small size, Nepal’s geography is very diverse, from its lowest point KechanaKalan, Jhapa district(Eastern Part on Nepal) of 70 m above sea level, to its highest point, Mt Everest, at 8,848 meter, along with various altitudes found within the combination of hills, mountains, ridges and valleys. Nepal also has an eclectic mix of ecological zones. It is made of three regions defined by huge topographical changes. To the northern part you will find the Himalayans. Secondly, cutting through the middle, you will find the hills the Mahabharat range and Churiya hills, and finally in the southern region is Terai, with flatter forest areas and cultivated lands.

 

The Himalayan region incorporates 16% of the country’s land. Hill region takes another 65% of land area, similarly Terai region takes a smaller 17% of country’s land area. The geography of Nepal is the country’s draw card. The appeal of Nepal, both in psychological and ecological diversity, attracts people from around the world with many visitors exclaiming one visit will never satisfy completely and often you find they are coming back multiple times.

 

Flora and Fauna

Flora and Fauna are the ecology and colour of nature. When it comes to Nepal’s flora and fauna more than 6500 species of trees, bushes and flowers can be found here. The flowers usually blossom in temperate areas, but some special species can be found in the alpine areas during monsoon season. Monsoon season, while at times very wet, is attractive to visitors due to many brightly coloured flowers decorating the landscape.

 

March and April are the optimum flower months when the Laligurans, also known as Rhododendron, blossom in hilly areas. In the higher valleys you can find buttercups, polygonums, scrops, mint etc. In the alpine areas there are Jupiter, Primulas, Saxifrages and Ephedra. It is said that there are more than 300 types of orchids found growing in the countryside. The flower Eupatorium, also known as Ban Mara, is called “death to the forest” in Nepalese language. It is a red stemmed daisy with distinctive heart shaped leaves. Rhododendron is the National Flower of Nepal and adds beauty to the Himalayas of Nepal. Because of the tremendous amount of flora and fauna Nepal is widely regarded as a garden of nature. Similarly,there are over 6,500 species of trees, shrubs and wildflowers in Nepal. Several hundred types of wild medicinal plants can be found growing naturally, and Nepal exports up to the tune of millions of dollars in raw herbs and spices such as – wild cinnamon, mints and plants thatare traditionally known as acting on human metabolism.Silajit is also known by many Nepalese people as a natural cure fornumerous health problems. Nepal’s principal natural resources are the forests, which cover about one-sixth of the country and provide valuable timber, firewood, and medicinal herbs. At the lowest elevations are tropical, humid, and deciduous forests that harbor tigers, leopards, deer, monkeys, and a few Indian rhinoceroses. Above 1,200 m, the forests are evergreen and deciduous (oak, maple, magnolia), with occasional leopards and bears on the central Himalayan slopes. Between 3,050 and 3,650 m are coniferous forests with hare, deer, antelope, and small carnivores; above that are sub-alpine and alpine meadows of rhododendron and juniper, harbouring musk deer and wild sheep. One can find around 800 different species of bird life in Nepal – 840 different species of wet-land, migratory and residential bird that total about 8% of the world’s population of birds.

 

Climate

Nepal’s climate varies with its topography and altitude and ranges from tropical to arctic temperatures. The low-land Terai region with its maximum altitude of approximately 305m, and which lies in the tropical southern part of the country, has a hot and humid climate that can rise above 45 Degree Celsius (113 Degree Fahrenheit) during summer. The mid-land regions are pleasant almost all the year round, although winter nights can be cool. The northern mountainous region, especially around altitudes above 3,300m, usually has an alpine climate with considerably lower temperature in winter (as can be expected). Nepal generally possesses four climate seasons like every other country – spring, summer, autumn and winter. Spring is typically the most colorful season, punctuated by the odd shower of life giving rain. During the monsoon summers moisture laden wind gathers in the Bay of Bengal and sweep across India to expend its energies on the Himalayan mountain chain. Autumn is renowned for clear skies and pleasant temperature, and by winter the high hills take on dry brown shades and the mountains occasionally feature a dusting of fresh snow, However due to Nepal’s vast range of diversified land orientation, as well as its amazing climatic variation, the distinction of the traditional four seasons many of us understand can overlap each-other.

 

Temperature in major touristic cities of Nepal

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Kathmandu 01/19 04/20 08/25 11/31 16/32 20/31 21/30 20/29 19/27 19/27 15/24 08/20
Chitwan 07/24 08/26 12/33 18/35 20/35 23/36 24/33 24/33 22/32 18/31 12/28 07/24
Pokhara 08/20 08/21 11/27 16/31 19/32 20/31 21/30 21/30 20/29 18/27 11/23 07/21

 

People of Nepal

Nepal is a melting pot of humanity and culture. With a population of twenty-two million, Nepal is indeed an assortment of races and tribes, all living in different regions, following different customs, and speaking different languages. Nepalese people live under diverse environmental conditions from the low, nearly sea level plains at the border of India, throughto the middle hills, and up to the flanks of the great Himalayan range, where there are settlements at altitudes of up to 4,800m. Farming practices are therefore equally diverse along with life styles and social customs. The early settlement of Nepal was accomplished by large-scale immigrations of Mongoloid groups from Tibet and Indo-Aryan peoples from northern India. Nepalese of Indo-Aryan ancestry constitute the great majority of Nepal’s total population. Tibeto-Nepalese peoples form a significant minority of the country’s population. Nepalese, a derivative of Sanskrit, is the official language; Newari, a language of the Tibeto-Burman family, and numerous other languages are also spoken. About 90% of the population is Hindu, and the remaining Buddhist.The best known of the high mountain people are the Sherpas who inhabit the central and eastern regions of Nepal. The Sherpas have easy access to Bhot (Tibet) for trade and social intercourse and therefore Tibetan influence on their culture and civilization remains distinct.

 

Language

The first spoken language is the Nepalese language for all Nepalese people, spoken by majority of all Brahaman-Khhetri people. Nepal is an incredibly diverse country that holds great respect towards retaining culture and language. There are 125 different documented languages spoken in Nepal. The primary language of Nepal is Nepalese which has been pushed as the common tongue of the people by the late King and proceeding government for about 50 years now. Before this language unification movement each isolated area basically spoke their own language and had their own customs. Since the launch of a national educational program in Nepal in the 1950’s, the majority (58.3%) of Nepalese people can speak Nepalese, but by no means does that make it the forefront of communication across the country.

 

Generally speaking, most Nepalese in the central and eastern development regions speak Nepalese fluently. However, there are many areas out west where people still do not speak Nepalese. Most of this has to do with the fact that the concentration of language development has been more intense in the central and eastern regions. These areas are where you will find the most communication success over the years. However, due to the loss of some of the indigenous languages, along with democratic voicing from some of the larger non-Nepalese languages, the government (Radio Nepal) has since recognized about seven primary languages and currently broadcasts news in all of the primary languages – Nepalese, Newari, Hindi, Gurung, Limbu, Gorkha, and Tamang.

 

Religion

Religion in Nepal is not only a system of social coherence based on certain rituals and beliefs, it is the binding force that ties this mountain kingdom together. Though Nepal is famous as the worlds only Hindu Kingdom, equal respect is given to other religions as well. Buddhism is the second largest religion followed in Nepal, others being Tantrism, Islam and Christianity. In fact, many Nepalese people combine Hindu and Buddhist practicetogetherwith many temples and shrines sharing the two faiths, and some deities are worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists.

 

Economy

Nepal’s economy is dominated by agriculture. In the late 1980’s, it was the livelihood for more than 90 percent of the population, although only approximately 20 percent of the total land area was cultivable. It accounts for, on average, about 60 percent of the GDP and approximately 75 percent of exports.GDP is heavily dependent on foreign gulf countries, particularly with regard to remittances of foreign workers. Besides foreign employment, tourism is another booming economy for local Nepalese people.

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