Nepal, rich in natural and cultural heritage is located between latitude of 26 o 22â€™ N to 30 o 27â€™ N, longitude of 80 o 4 â€˜ E to 88 o 12 â€˜ E. In the North itâ€™s bordered with China and in South, East and West with India. From East to West the mean length of the country is 885 kms and the width from North to South 193 kms. The country covers a total area of 147,181 sq. kms with a variation of altitude from 70m to 8848m above the sea level.
The time of the country is 5 hrs 45 mins ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.Ecologically the country is divided into mountainous, hilly and terai regions, stretching out from East to West:
A fascinating Himalayan, Nepal occupies the largest part of the youngest mountain range on earth. The towering Himalayan range extends 800km across the Northern belt of the country covering one-third of the total landmass of the country. The altitude of this area rises from 4877 m. to 8848 m., above the sea level. Among 14 peaks above 8000 m. on Earth 8 of them lie here including Mt. Everest, the highest among them. Expeditions leading to the top of the mountains and high altitude treks are done in this region.
The hills lie between the mountains and the plains (terai). Here, the altitude varies from 610m. to 4877m. above the sea level. The hills, valleys, forests, rivers and basins in this region makeup largest land mass of the country. The region is a prime destination for the trekkers and rafters alike.
In the southern part of the country the low flat land (200m in average), an extension of Gangetic plains known as Terai cover the country. Dense subtropical forest evident in this area houses numerous different species of birds and multitude of exotic animals such as tigers, rhinoceros, bears, wild boars and deer to name a few.
Jungle safari tours on elephant backs attract tourists to this part of the country.
The magnificent landscape of Nepal literally slopes from the Himalayas in the North to the Terai flatlands in the South, giving rise to five different types of climate.
1. Subtropical- in Terai region
2. Warm temperate- in the valleys
3. Cool temperate- in hills
4. Subalpine- lower mountain region
5. Alpine- higher mountain region
These sharp contrasts and diversity in the landscape and climate make Nepal an enchanting destination, offering opportunities to experience the mountain grandeur in the North and exotic wildlife and subtropical vegetation in the South.
Nepal has four seasons:
1. Summer Monsoon season (June – September)
Throughout Nepal it rains the most during summer monsoon season. 80 % of rainfall occur Monsoon sweeps up every summer from the Bay of Bengal and makes June to September soggy and humid. It starts from eastern Nepal from around 10th June and moves west. About a week is required for rainfalls throughout the country. During this season the atmosphere is clear and green everywhere.
2. Post Monsoon season or Autumns (October to November)
The monsoon disappears with a final burst in mid-September to pave the way for post monsoon or Autumns season. By the second week of October the skies are generally clear, with pleasantly mild days, cool nights, and fabulously clear mountain views. Depending on altitude, daytime temperatures might reach 25-30 deg C, while nights can drop to -10 deg C. The weather becomes increasingly cooler through November.
3. Winter season (December to February)
December to January is the winter season, generally clear, dry and cold. In the mountainous region the temperature is freezing then, as low as -15 deg C or more depending on the altitude. At lower altitude days can be quite warm in the sun – around 20 deg C, but nights can be frigid, with temperatures dropping to 0 deg C.
4. Pre Monsoon season or Spring (March to May)
By March the weather shifts to warmer, wetter spring conditions. Spectacular display of flora throughout the country marks this season. Clear mornings provide magnificent views of the mountains during spring. As the season progresses daytime temperatures increase quickly, with temperatures of up to 30 deg C and mild nights. By late April-May it’s distinctly hot in lower regions. At higher altitudes it is still cool during the day and at night temperatures can drop below 0 deg C.
Hinduism is the religion followed by the majority of the Nepalese. . In our religion, we regard the Gods Brahma as the creator, Visnu as the protector and Shiva as the destroyer and consecutively their consorts Saraswoti as the goddess of education and arts, Laxmi as the goddess of wealth and prosperity and Parvati as the goddess of power â€“ these deities command supreme positions in Hinduism. Besides them to the amazement of the non-Hindus, the Hindus revere numerous features of nature as either a god or a goddess. This in fact is the respect shown to the different parts of the nature, which nourish our lives. For instance sun is regarded as Surya, the god without whom life is not possible, similarly, wind as Vayu, water as Varun, fire as Agni and so on. There even are sacred plants, which are known to embody either Visnu or Shiva.
Budhism, as a religion, plays a major role in the lives of Nepalese people. The country is the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the apostle of peace, who once a crown prince living in 6th century BC sacrificed his materialistic life in search of the way of getting rid of sufferings. His teachings include four noble truths, which are: people suffer, desire is the main reason for suffering, suffering can be conquered, Hinayana and Mahayana are ways of getting rid of or conquering suffering. In the mountain regions people practices Mahayana whereas the Newar Budhists of Kathmandu valley practice Vajrayana, a branch of Mahayana.
A unique aspect of Nepal is that the Hindus and the Budhists live together in harmony.
Numerous ethnic groups with their specific languages, life styles and customs inhabit Nepal, making it one of the culturally richest countries in the world.
The Newars: Kathmandu valley is mostly occupied by an ethnic group known as the Newars, the initial inhabitants of the valley. Newari population consists of Hindus and Budhists living in unison. Their culture reflects ancient traditions. They speak Nepalbhasa as their language.
The Chhetris and Bahuns: The Bahuns and Chhetris come from the far western part of the country. They practice Hinduism as their religion and speak Nepali, the official language of Nepal.
The Tamangs: The hills around Kathmandu valley are inhabited by an ethnic group known as the Tamangs. Originally known as the practitioners of Bon religion they do celebrate Hindu and Budhist festivals to a certain extent. They too have their own language.
The Tharus: In the Southern Terai flats Tharus as an ethnic group are prominent. They regard animism as their religion and speak in their own unique language.
The Sherpas: In the Northeastern highlands, very close to the mountains, specifically the Everest region, the Sherpas occupy the land. They follow Tibetan traditions and customs and regard Budhism as their religion. They have their own specific language.
The Lobas: Lobas live behind the mountains in the central transhimalayan region, in Mustang. They too are Budhists and practitioners of Tibetan traditions and customs. They speak their own language.
The Gurungs and the Magars: The Gurungs and Magars reside in the central and Western hilly regions of Nepal. They have been found to be influenced by shamanism, Budhism and Hinduism. They have their own languages.
The Rais and Limbus: The Rais and the Limbus reside in the Eastern hilly region. The influence of Hinduism is evident in their culture and they have their own languages.
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