Learn More About Nepal
Nepal is a landlocked country located in South Asia with China in the north and India in the south, east and west. The country occupies 147,516 sq. km of land and lies between coordinates approximately 28°N and 84°E. Nepal falls in the temperate zone north of the Tropic of Cancer. The entire distance from east to west is about 800 km while from north to south is only 150 to 250 km. Nepal has vast water systems which drain south into India. The country can be divided into three main geographical regions: Himalayan region, mid hill region and the Tarai region. The highest point in the country is Mt. Everest (8,848 m) while the lowest point is in the Tarai plains of Kechana Kalan in Jhapa (60 m).
Nepal's history dates back to the time of the Gopalas and Mahishapalas who are believed to have been the earliest rulers of the valley with their capital at Matatirtha, the south-west corner of Kathmandu Valley. They were ousted by the Kirantis around the 7th or 8th Century B.C.
Then around 300 A.D. the Lichhavis arrived from northern India and overthrew the Kirantis. The Lichhavis brought art and architecture to the valley but the golden age of creativity arrived in 1200 A.D after the Mallas conquered them. During their 550 year rule, the Mallas built remarkable temples and artistically designed palaces with picturesque squares filled with woodcarvings and metal works. After the death of King Yaksha Malla, the valley was divided into three kingdoms: Kathmandu (Kantipur), Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon) and Patan (Lalitpur). At the time, Nepal as we know it today was divided into 46 independent principalities. One among these was the kingdom of Gorkha ruled by a Shah king. An ambitious Gorkha King named Prithvi Narayan Shah embarked on a conquering mission that led to the defeat of all the kingdoms in the valley including Kirtipur.by 1769. Instead of annexing the newly acquired states to his kingdom of Gorkha, Prithvi Narayan decided to move his capital to Kathmandu, thus establishing the Shah dynasty which ruled unified Nepal from the late 18th century to 2008.
CULTURE AND RELIGION
Customs and traditions differ from one part of Nepal to another. The capital city Kathmandu enjoys a rich tapestry of cultures blending to form a national identity. Kathmandu Valley has served as the country’s cultural metropolis since the unification of Nepal in the 18th Century. A prominent factor in a Nepali’s everyday life is religion. Adding color to the lives of Nepalis are festivals the year round which they celebrate with much pomp and ceremony. Food plays an important role in the celebration of these festivals.
Nepal was declared a secular country by the Parliament on 18th May 2006. Religions practiced in Nepal are: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, Bon, ancestor worship and animism. The majority of Nepalis are either Hindus or Buddhists and these two religions have co-existed in harmony through centuries.
The population of Nepal in 2019 is reportedly 29.7 million. There are about 101 ethnic groups speaking over 92 languages. The distinction in caste and ethnicity is understood better with a view of customary layout of the population. The official language of Nepal is Nepali which is spoken and understood by a majority of the population. The ethnic groups have their own mother tongues. English is taught in schools and many of them are English medium schools so a large portion of the population understands the language. Most private schools today teach in English.
TRAVEL TIPS FROM MY EXPERIENCE
Our trip to Nepal is just a couple of weeks away. Several of you have asked me for some travel tips to make the trip to Nepal as comfortable as possible. Here are some tips and thoughts on the trip.
Life in Nepal is much slower than ours. It helps to think of this trip as helping you slow down and let go of all the things on your mind in your day-to-day life. The following suggestions are a combination of what I have learned from my experience and body workers I've worked with through the years. First are the practical suggestions and then the suggestions to help with jet lag.
Carry your passport, copies of all your travel documents (flight and hotel information) and a couple of pens somewhere safe. Make sure these items are easy to reach at all times.
Bring two extra photo copies of your passport as we need them for passes to regions where we will be hiking.
Wear your hiking boots.
Carry your camera, medicines, snacks, ipods and entertainment in your backpack. In other words, anything that is essential and hard to replace in Nepal.
Bring lots to read especially newspapers and magazines that can be thrown away en route.
Stay hydrated. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. This will help with your overall comfort on the entire trip as well as hiking. On the plane, I ask for two glasses of water every time they offer it.
Refrain from alcohol, coffee and sodas which can be dehydrating.
Take emergen-c regularly while traveling. Anything to boost your immune system and gives you extra minerals is a plus. Extra Lysine is used often. My nutritionist has a product called herbal-imu $16/bottle. He recommends taking 4 doses before and after a trip to help with jet lag. He also recommends 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in a quart of water for help with altitude adjustment.
On the flight, make sure to get up and walk around every two or three hours.
SOME OF OUR 2017 TRAVEL MEMORIES IN NEPAL