Nepal (pronounced Ne-paal) is an independent country situated north of India and south of China (Tibet). Officially called the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the major portion of the mighty Himalayan range of mountains falls mostly in this country and extends from the east to the west. Nepal has eight of the worlds ten tallest mountain peaks, including Mt. Everest, called Sagarmatha in Nepali, and stands at 8848 metres or 29,029 feet.
If you take a lateral cut of Nepal, the country is almost at 45 degree angle extending from almost sea level in the south (the Tarai) to the highest point on the planet. There are main three ranges of hills, extending east to west across the country, starting from the first range called the 'Chure' hills, which are closest to the south, then the middle hills called Mahabharat and then the hign mountain ranges of the Himalayas to the north. Due to this difference in elevation levels, Nepal has a number of climatic zones, ranging from tropical in the jungles ofthe Terai to arctic in the high Himal. The climatic variation allows many different types of vegetation to grow in Nepal.
Many ethnic groups live in Nepal in the pockets of the mountains and valleys and in the plains of the Terai , and speak 82 different languages. There are an amazing variety of animals too in Nepal, about 185 species of mammals, 850 species of birds, 300 species of snakes and a huge range of butterflies. Nepal is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger, the one horned rhino, the leopard, sloth bear, red panda, and snow leopard, as well as fresh water gariyal and mugger crocodiles - even river dolphins. Bird life includes eagles, vultures, the very rare spiny babbler and bar headed geese that are said to fly as high as Everest on their migratory path over the Himalayas.
A wealth of medicinal plants can also be found in Nepal. These are used in tradional Ayurvedic medicine as well as inTibetan and Chinese medicine. Flowering wild orchids are also a beautiful sight in the forests of Nepal. Many national parks have been established all over the country to safeguard Nepal's natural wealth. Nepal is of course a popular tourist destination for the wildlife and the scenic beauty of the Himalayas.
Among the plants of the middle hills, we are using the hemp and nettle which have been growing wild in these hills for thousands of years are have been used in medicines, textile production as well as for firewood, food and paper.
Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, Bon, ancestor worship and animism are all practised in Nepal with most of the population being either Hindus or Buddhists. Siddhartha Gautam was a Crown Price in the south of ancient Nepal and later left his worldly possesions and became the Buddha or the Enlightened One. Lumbini, his birth place, is a very religious place for many religions in Nepal. The Hindus worship the trinity of Vedic times Bramha, Vishnu and Shiva. Yoga is a widely practised in Nepal and the Kathmandu Valley is also known to many as the yogic centre of the world. Because of the many different religions and beliefs in Nepal, there is an array of colourful festivals and religious days throughout the year.
In Nepal, the cow is a sacred animal and is not eaten. The cow is also the national animal. Nepali food is very simple and consists of rice, 'dal' (lentils) and 'tarkari' (curried vegetables). Goat meat and chicken are the preferred meat but meat being expensive is only eaten on ocasions and not every day. The Hindu way of life also says that vegetaranian diet is good so many people are vegetarnians. Of course anyone who has travelled to Nepal is familiar with 'momos' which is the favourite snack of Nepalis. They are either meat or vegetable dumplings steamed and eaten with a pickle.
I hope this has given an insight into Nepal where Udaya is from and where Rosie has spent most of her adult life. If there is anything else you would like to know, and if you need help with preparations for travel to Nepal - whether it is for trekking, white water rafting, sight seeing, or just business and manufacturing -- do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.