Explore Nepal

Geography of the country

The diversely beautiful country of Nepal is located in the Himalaya Mountains. The country is bordered by Tibet, a part of China in the North and by India in the South. Nepal Tourism is on boom, due to its religious and adventurous tourist attractions.

Nepal is a landlocked country between China on one side and India on the other. It is also the home to the tallest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest. It forms the peak of the Himalaya Mountains that borders the north part of the country completely. The Nepalese word Himalaya literally translates to ‘Where the snow lives’. Several valleys and rivers move towards the south of the country from this mountain.

The country can be geographically divided into three regions for Nepal Tourism purpose — the Himalaya region, the Middle region and the Terai region or the plain lands. The Himalayan region forms 16 percent of the total land area of the country; the middle hill region occupies almost 65 percent of the total land area and the Terai region takes up the 17 percent.

The Terai region is the most populated region of the country because of the ease of life there while the Himalaya region is the least populated since it is very cold and the land is not too fertile as well.

Even though the north of the country is witness to highly elevated peaks, its south is almost flatlands.

Important Cities

Cities and towns in Nepal that meet a minimum criteria set by the government are called municipalities. Currently there are 293 municipalities, out of which 6 are metropolis, 11 are sub-metropolis and 276 municipal councils. In terms of area, Pokhara is the largest city while Lalitpur is the smallest. The top three metropolitan cities are Kathmandu, Pokhara and Lalitpur.

Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal and also the largest city in the country in terms of population. It is located in the Kathmandu District in Bagmati Zone. It is not just the capital of Nepal but also the headquarters of Kathmandu District and Central Development Region. Kathmandu is the central hub for commerce and industry in the country and is divided by the Bagmati River and its tributaries.

The second largest city of Nepal in terms of population is Pokhara. It is located in the Kaski District and also serves as its headquarters. It also serves as the headquarters of the Western Development Region. The Seti Gandaki River and its tributaries flow through the city. Pokhara has shown rapid growth and development and is also regarded as the tourist capital of Nepal.

The third largest city in Nepal in terms of population is Lalitpur. It was historically called Patan and also referred to as Manigal. It is located in the Lalitpur District and it also serves as its headquarters. The major population of the city is occupied in small scale trade industries.

Religious attractions

There are numerous temples and other holy places in Nepal since it is a Hindu-majority country. Mentioned here under are some of the religious attractions that one must check while in Nepal.

The famous Muktinath Temple that is located at an altitude of 3710 meters is a holy place for both Buddhists and Hindus. The temple has a special significance as it promises to bring salvation and liberation to the pilgrims visiting it.

The Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu that is located on the banks of river Bagmati is a sacred place for Hindus. Just like the temple, the river Bagmati is also highly significant and pious for Hindus but its condition is unpardonable.

According to archeological evidences, Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini, small town in Nepal. The place is now home to several Buddhist monasteries and centers and thus of immense religious significance to Buddhists.

Some of the other holy places worth mentioning are the Boudhanath Stupa; Gosainkunda, located in the Langtang National Park; the Manakamana Temple in Gorkha district; Swayambhunath Stupa that overlooks the city of Kathmandu and Mount Everest. Yes! the Mount Everest is a sacred mountain for Sherpas, a community of people that inhabit the region around the mountain. They call the mountain Goddess Mother.

Wildlife attractions

Whoever thought Nepal was just a paradise for trekkers cannot be more wrong! This diverse country will not just treat you with high snow-capped peaks of Himalaya but also with the hot and humid plains that border India. With diverse landscapes come diverse national parks and wildlife reserves.

The Annapurna Conservation area in Jomsom, Nepal is the largest protected area in the country. It covers parts of different districts like Mustang, Manang, Myagdi, Kaski and Lamjung. This conservation area is wild and has forests, hills, mountains and rivers. Apart from a number of short treks it also has the popular Annapurna Circuit.

For those in search of a jungle national park, the Chitwan National park has all the excitement and adventure. From birds to crocodiles to elephants to deer, you will find them all here but the major attraction of the park remains the one horned Rhino.

The other popular wildlife attractions are the Bardia National Park located in far-western Nepal; Shey Phoksundo National Park, Dhorpatan hunting reserve; Sagarmatha National Park; Rara National Park; Langtang National Park and Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve.

World Heritage Sites  

Nepal has quite a few places that have been listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. Most of these places are located in Kathmandu and are very close to each other which make it very accessible and possible for a traveler to visit all of them in a day.

The Pashupatinath Temple that is located in Kathmandu is a holy place for Hindus. It is a two storey building designed in Pagoda style and has temples, ashrams, inscriptions and images in the complex. It was listed as a world heritage site in 1979.

Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha is regarded as one of the holiest places for Buddhist pilgrims. This world heritage site is also located in Kathmandu and was listed in the year 1997. There are several temples, monasteries, museums and monuments inside the complex.

The other world heritage sites in Nepal are Swayambhunath Stupa; the Baudhanath Stupa; the Kathmandu Durbar Square that lies in the heart of the capital city, Kathmandu; Patan Durbar Square; Bhaktapur Durbar Square; Changu Narayan Temple; Chitwan National Park and Sagarmatha National Park.

Tourist attractions

Tourists from across the country travel to Nepal for different reasons. It can be for trekking, spiritual reasons or just to explore the local culture of the place. The country boasts of several tourist attractions.

Kathmandu is not just the capital city but the largest city of Nepal as well. The highlight of the city is its several temples and monuments that cater to different faiths. The Durban Square in the heart of the city is a major tourist attraction and also a world heritage site. Kathmandu is also among the three royal cities of Nepal, the other two being Bhaktapur and Patan.

Pokhara is another popular tourist attraction in Nepal. The city is located 200kms west of Kathmandu, at the base of the foothills and is surrounded by some of the highest mountains in the world, namely, Annapurna I, Dhaulagiri and Manslu. It is also the starting point of several treks that take you to Jomsom or the Annapurna region. If you are not a trekker at heart, the splendid scenery and landscapes of the city are enough to lure you to the place.

Some of the other popular tourist attractions in Nepal are Bhaktapur, aroyal city; the Boudhanath Stupa or Bodhnath; trekking in the Annapurna region and the Langtang region; Chitwan national park; Swayambhunath also called the Monkey Temple; Lumbini; Everest Base Camp Trek and Helambu Trek.

Popular Treks in Nepal

The story of Nepal Tourism is incomplete without the mention of trekking and adventure. The Himalayan Terrain offers some of the best routes for trekking. Since each route is different and best in its own way, it would be unfair to name one of these as the best trek here.

Some of the popular treks in Nepal are the Everest base camp trek, Annapurna circuit trek, Manaslu circuit trek, Ghorepani Poon Hill trekking, Langtang valley trek, Upper Mustang, Gokyo Ri Trek, Annapurna Base Camp Trek and Upper Dolpo.

Places to visit for food

No culture trip is complete without adding food to it. And for a foodie a trip starts and ends with good food. So if you are visiting Nepal and looking to explore the local culture of the country, do not forget to try some of these best places to eat. Nepali cuisine is necessarily influenced by both Tibetan as well as Indian cuisine so it is rich in flavor and full of aromas.

For the curious travelers who are looking to try the local cuisine, try The Gaia Restaurant and Coffee shop in Thamel. Do not be anxious if you  wish to stick to ordinary and are unwilling to try anything local or unique, the restaurant has enough options for those who are looking for usual cuisines and flavors as well.

Taking the local flavor a little further, you can also try ‘Double Dorje’, a Tibetan Café in Boudha. One can try the famous Tibetan breads, and noodles soups here.

Some of the other top rated restaurants to dine in Kathmandu are Fire and Ice; Bhojan Griha, located in Dilli Bazaar; the Yangling Tibetan Restaurant for some of the best momos in Nepal; Rosemary Kitchen and Coffee shop; Kaiser Café; OR2K, a lively restaurant that is as much arty located in the heart of Thamel district; Le Sherpa for best dining experience in Nepal; Krishnarpan restaurant; Saigon Pho, a Vietnamese Restaurant; and Utse Restaurant in the very-busy Thamel district.

Climate and Culture

Nepal is known to be a land of some of the highest mountains of the world and this directly affects the country’s weather. The Himalaya region undoubtedly experiences some of the coldest temperatures but the rest of the country experiences seasonal changes.

The east part of the country receives more snow than the west part. The middle level land experiences three different seasons — the hot season, the rainy season or the monsoon and finally the cold or the dry season.

While the summers start from March and stretch up to June, the monsoons stretch from July to September and the cold weather from October to February. Due to elevations, different regions of the country experience different temperatures and weathers.

The culture of Nepal is largely influenced by the Indian and the Tibetan culture. The cultural heritage of the country has evolved over the years and gave a new height to Nepal Tourism.

The population of Nepal is quite diverse as there are people from different ethnic groups and this diversity results in the cultural diversity as well. Around three-fourth of population relies on agriculture for a living and about 80 percent of the people are rural. The small urban population has a common lifestyle with fixed working hours and jobs and lives revolving around them.

Demographics (religions and languages)

Around 80 percent of people living in Nepal are Hindus, 10 percent are Buddhists and the other 10 percent are multiple religions including Muslims and Kirants. Since there are a number of variations in Hinduism, there is no single God that is worshipped more than the others. Different people have different belief about their religion with more and more people relying on Karma and reincarnation as two major forces of their lives.

The only official language that is used in Nepal is Nepali; it is spoken by almost half of the population of the country. It is an Indo-Aryan language and uses devanagari script for writing, just like Hindi that is popular in its neighboring country, India.

The Nepali language has a distinct accent due to the Tibetan influence that it has. There are multiple other languages that are spoken by smaller groups here and there in the country but they still learn English or Nepali as a second language which aids them in Nepal Tourism, business and government operations.

Other Activities in Nepal

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