About Nepal

Nepal is a small, landlocked country lying between India and Tibet, not known to many people in the world .Often people know Nepal as the country of Everest, a place that offers excellent treks to the Himalayas. But Nepal offers amazing and diverse holiday opportunities for a country of its size. Nepal's medieval capital, Kathmandu, houses seven world heritage sites declared by the UNESCO.Kathmandu is often termed as open museum of medieval arts and monuments. Mountain Everest, world's highest mountain at 8848 m and eight out of world's ten highest mountains lie in Nepal. Nepal is a top destination for alpine trekkers and mountaineers. Nepal's Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha, is the holiest destination for Buddhists from all over the world. There are more bird species in Nepal than the number in USA and Canada combined 840 species. We have 300 species of orchids, 600 indigenous plant families and 15 families (500 species) of butterflies. While we have world's highest mountains in the north but in the south we have famous tropical National park where you can enjoy elephant back safari watching tigers, rhinos and crocodiles home of 60 ethnic groups speaking 70 different languages, Nepal is a really alluring place to visit.


It’s been claimed that when a great lake filled Kathmandu valley, it was exhausted by the patriarch Manjushree as he wanted to get a closer look of Swayambhu (adhi-buddha), the beautiful lotus flower blossoming on the lake. Similarly in another saying, there is a saint named ‘NE’ , thus named as "Nepal". Yet another claim says; 'Ne 'means wool &'pal' means' home'. Maximum wool was produced in Nepal during that era, so in the sense of 'home of wool', it was named Nepal.

However, the recorded history of Nepal started from around 800BC with the beginning of ‘Kirat period’, though this period developed after the Gopal & Mahispal periods. The history of Nepal started from the ‘Gopal period’. The Gopals were the first rulers according to the historical facts. Essentially, they entered Nepal from India. Their main occupation was rearing cows. They developed the concept of ownership very slowly. After them, ‘Mahispal period’ entered Nepal & ruled. Their main occupation was ‘Buffalo rearing’. Their concept of ownership is little bit advanced than the Gopals.

Kirat period (800B.C-300A.D)

After the downfall of ‘Mahispal period’, comes ‘Kirat period’ (800B.C-300A.D). Yalamber was the first Kirat king. During the Kirat period, there were 28 kings who ruled for another 1000 years. The significant event of that period is the birth of Gautama Buddha at the time of the seventh king. According to some accounts, Gautama Buddha spent time in Patan, where he bestowed the name of his own clan, Sakya, upon eminent blacksmiths and  goldsmiths. the great emperor of India, Ashoka, came to Kathmandu during this period. Ashoka also visited Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, as a follower of Buddhism. Daughter of Ashoka married a local prince and spread the religion even further.  As the Kirat dynasty came to an end in the valley, some parts still remained in the eastern mountains, where it is considered to be the forefathers of today's Rai and Limbu castes. The last king of Kirat period was Gasti.

Lhichivi period (300-1200A.D)

Lhichivi entered Nepal from India. After coming to Nepal, they were attracted by its monarchial system. They were probably the Rajputs of today's Bihar & Uttar Pradesh of India. Lhichivi period is also known as a golden era of Nepal. The first great historical figure, Manadev was also from the Lhichivi period, who introduced the first coin in Nepal. Amsu Verma was not a Lichhavi but he became the actual ruler in 602 A.D because he had married the daughter of a Lichhavi king Shivadev.

Amsuvarma was a far-sighted ruler. Due to his fine diplomacy in family connections, it helped to established and continue good relations with great countries like China & India. He gave and married his sister to an Indian prince and his daughter Bhirkuti to a powerful king of Tibet, Tsrong-Tsong Gampo.

Malla period (1200-1769A.D.)

The Malla period was a glorious era in the history of Nepal when trade & commerce, industry, religion & culture, art & architecture flourished and developed. The Malla rulers are also known as the incarnation of God Vishnu. They were Hindus but accepted Buddhism, shaivism etc. as well which shows a religious tolerance during that period. At that time, an aristocratic elites dominate the administrative feudal by their supremacy.  By dividing society into 64(sixty-four) occupational caste, they had their own monopoly.

The most popular king of that period was ‘Jayasthiti Malla’. He codified the the Nepalese society in a mainstream of Hindu frame. Jayasthiti Malla built many temples and facilitated the development of art & literature. He was also an economic reformer and introduced a system of measuring land and houses. He ruled from 1354 to1395.

Another famous Malla king was Pratap Malla. He was influenced by religion, music, and the art of warfare. He was a Hindu, but he accepted other religions-Buddhism etc. He reconstructed the Buddhist shrine of Swayambunath. He built Krishna Mandir, the Shrine of Taleju, Rani Pokhari as well as Guheswari temple.

Jaya Prakash Malla was the last King of Kantipur, today known as Kathmandu. During his rule, Kantipur was attacked by Gorkha.  He tried to save the valley from the assault by Gorkha, calling for unity among the three states around Kathmandu, but could not successed. Calling the army from the East India Company was also not fruitful and ultimately the war was lost to Gorkha. Fighting within his family was also partly to blame. Another king from the Malla period was ‘Ranjit Malla’, who was the last king of Bhaktapur. As a lover of rare and precious things, he added many courtyards at his palace. And to improve economic conditions in his kingdom, he imported silver exporting it as coins. ‘Aridev Malla’, ‘Yaksha Malla’ etc. are other kings from the Malla period.

Shah Period (1769 to 2006)

During the middle of the 18th Century, there were about 50 states in Nepal. The British Empire was colonizing India. King Prithvi Narayan Shah (from the state of Gorkha) believed that unless Nepal is unified, it is in danger of going into the hands of British India. He started the process by unifying the small states. In 1768, after ten years of preparation, siege and attack, Kathmandu fell to Gorkha on the day of the festival of Indra and the Virgin Goddess. Hence, Prithivi Narayan Shah is known as the creator of Nepal. He died in 1775 and was later succeeded by his son Bahadur Shah.

The new Shah rulers transferred their seats of power to Kathmandu. Altercation led to a two-year war with the British in between 1814 & 1816. Nepal was defeated and the Sugauli Treaty was signed in 1816, under which Nepal lost one-third of its territory.  Another stipulation had it that British citizens would reside in Kathmandu which brought great resentment among Nepalese. The borders were subsequently closed to foreigners not to be reopened until 1951.

The then prime minister Bhimsen Thapa had to bear mortification from the defeat and he was arrested, locked up and subsequently he committed suicide in 1839. The period between1836-1846 is marked with confusion and intrigues. During that time Pandays, Basnyats, and Kunwars were fighting each other for power. In 1846, Jung Bahadur Rana declared himself as the  prime minister and later "Maharajah" with powers (superior to those of the king). Then began the Rana period in Nepal which lasted up to 104 years. During this period, the country was kept in isolation and the people were deprived of political and social rights. The power structure and state money were expended for the self interest of the Ranas. The King was present but was kept under complete control of the Ranas. In 1850, Jung Bahadur visited England and France to seek foreign support for their system.  

A "liberal" Rana prime minister proposed a new constitution offering a people's participation through an administrative system known as ‘Panchayat’. Village elders would solve problems locally with leaders elected to a national Panchayat.  But this new idea was soon discouraged by a successor. The Nepali Congress Party under the leadership of B.P. Koirala began the movement against the Rana rule.
The rightful monarch King ‘Tribhuvan, defenseless in his palace, escapes to India under the simulation of pursuing in November 1950. The King returned from India and soon thereafter, the Ranas went to live in India. The period in between 1951 & 1959 passed with uncertainty as the King did not comply with his promise of holding elections for the constituent assembly. Finally, only under pressure from the parties, King Mahendra declared elections for the parliament in 1959.
The Nepali Congress unexpectedly got a majority in the new parliament. This led the King into doubt that he would be reduced to a ceremonial role and thus on 15 December 1960, banned the Nepali Congress and began a direct rule. Mahendra’s son King Birendra reinstated multipart after the movemenmt in 1989.

When the late King ‘Birendra’ and his entire family were killed on 2001, his brother, Gyanendra Shah became the king of Nepal. Gyanendra reinstated the parliament aftewr popolar struggle in 2006. In 2008, the newly elected constitution assembly declared the country a republic.

Nepal's history dates back to ancient times with several references on ancient Hindu texts. Buddha was born in the city state of  Lumbini in 500 BC in Nepal. The recorded history in Nepal starts from fifth century, the Changunarayan temple in Kathmandu dates back to the same period. The Lichhavi King Amsuvarma (602 AD) married his daughter Bhrikuti with the Tibetan king Shrong tsong Gompo, with which Buddhism spread from Nepal to Tibet. She brought one Buddha statue from Nepal to Tibet which one can see in Jokhang Temple of Lhasa even today.

Lichhavis were succeeded by the Mallas who made most of the temples and monuments of Kathmandu.  The Mallas ruled Kathmandu till 1768.Nepal was divided into several tiny states till then, until the King Prithvinarayan from Gorkha started to unify the country concluded the project in 1768 after conquering Kathmandu.The present King belongs to the same dynasty.

Nepal remained closed to the outer world till 1950.

In 1950 there was a popular revolt to establish democracy, a democratic government was also formed but in a bloodless coup the King again took the power till 1990. No sooner parliamentary democracy was introduced in 1990, the Maoists started the insurgency. After signing peace accord with the Maoists in 2006, Nepal is now heading for an election which will elect members for making new constitution.
Roughly the size of England, with an rough average of 800km in length (east to west) and 200km in width (north to south), Nepal is almost rectangular in shape. Nepal borders with India on three sides east, west and south and to the north lies Tibet region of China. From the south to the north, Nepal can be divided into three distinct physical belts, each of which extends east to west across the country.

The Terai Plain

The Terai is an extension of the Genetic plain of India.It is a fertile land producing most of the food for the country. The world famous Chitwan National Park is located in the Terai region.Terai forests is rich on various tropical flora and fauna and important wetlands.

The mid hills

North to the Terai is the mid hills of Churia and Mahabharat ranges.
The Churia range rises to an altitude of more than 1200 metres. The Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys come under Mahabharat range.

Between the Mahabharat range and Himalayas lies another mountain range, about 80 km in width and 2400m -4200m in elevation. The famous  Sherpas and Tamangs live on this region.

The Himalaya region

North to the mid hills lies the great Himalaya ranges. Except for scattered settlements in high mountain valleys, this entire region is almost uninhabited.The Himalaya region ranges in elevation from 4200 to 8848 metres and  contains many of the world's highest peaks--Everest, Kanchenjunga I, Lhotse I, Makalu I, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri I, Manaslu I, and Annapurna I - all of them above 8000 metres.

Flora and fauna

Nepal has alpine , temperate  and tropical, all kinds of  flora and fauna. Nepal boasts to be the home of Bengal tiger, rhinos, elephants, deers, wild bison and crocodiles  just to mention the few.Simillarly the alpine regions of Langtang is the home for endangered species of red panda and snow leopards. The varitiesof flora and fauna found in such a small country is really mind boggling.
World heritage sites
Nepal has altogether 10 world heritage sites declared by the UNESCO , out of which seven are in Kathmandu valley and the rest are outside of Kathmandu.

World heritage sites (Cultural)

•    Kathmandu Durbar square
•    Patan Durbar square
•    Bhaktapur Durbar Square
•    Swoyambhunath Stupa
•    Bouddhanath Stupa
•    Changunarayan Temple
•    Pashupatinath Temple
•    Lumbini Garden

World heritage sites (Natural)

•    Everest National Park  (1148sq km)
•    Chitwan National Park (932 sq km)

Climate and clothing

While Nepal can be visited throughout the year, the best time is October through May. Trekking is halted during winter at high altitudes. But at lower altitudes it can be done all through the winter. Trekking is not possible during monsoon but trekking tours in rain shadow zones like Mustang and Dolpo can be are better done at this time.

Average Maximum - Minimum Temperatures
(In degrees Celsius; * Rainy Season)
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Kathmandu 19 - 2 20 - 4 25 - 8 30 - 11 30 - 16 30 - 20* 30 - 21* 29 - 20* 27 - 19 23 - 15 23 - 4 20 - 2
Pokhara 20 - 8 21 - 8 27 - 11 30 - 16 30 - 19 30 - 20* 30 - 21* 30 - 21* 29 - 20* 27 - 18 23 - 11 20 - 8
Chitwan 24 - 7 26 - 8 33 - 12 35 - 18 35 - 20 35 - 23* 33 - 24* 33 - 24* 32 - 22* 31 - 18 29 - 12 24 - 8
Other Places: Bhairahawa : (43 - 6) Gorkha : (36 - 7) Jiri : (28 - minus6)

The temperature table above would give you an idea about the clothing you should bring while visiting Nepal. For clothing required for a trekking, visit our Nepal trekking information page.


There are 60 ethnic groups speaking 70 different languages in Nepal. Nepal's population was formed by a large-scale migration of Mongoloid groups from Tibet and Indo-Aryan people from northern India; along with aboriginal people .This has produced a diverse linguistic, ethnic, and religious pattern in Nepal. The Tibetan-Nepalese groups include the Tamang, Rai, Limbu, Sherpa and Sunwar. They live in the north and east, while the Magar and Gurung inhabit central Nepal.The mid hills are inhabited by Bramhins and Chhertries and miscellaneous groups. Most of the Nepalese live in villages or in small market centers.


It is often joked in Nepal that we have more festivals than days in a year.

Dasain, celebrated nationwide in October, is the most important of all Nepalese festivals. Tihar , the second biggest festivsl fallas on November. Other festivals celebrated nationally include the Holi (March), Chaitra Daisan (April), Haribodhini Ekadashi (November),Maha Shivaratri (March), the Gai Jatra (August) , Krishna Jayanti (August/September) . Among the Buddhist festivals include Mani Rimdu (November) in Solu Khumbu, Buddha Jayanti (May) in Kathmandu, and Losar (Tibetan New Year) (February) in highland communities. These festival dates are determined with lunar calendar; hence the exact date of festival differs each year.


Nepali is the official language. English is understood by majority of the people in the cities.In the village's different ethnic groups speak their own languages.


Hindus are about 75-80% and Buddhists are about 15% of total population. Some people follow both Hinduism and Buddhism.Rest are Muslims and others. Unlike in India the Hindus in Nepal more open and reasily adopting to new ivalues.Being the birth place of Lord Buddha , Nepalese are greatly influenced by Buddhism.In remote Himalayan regions like Dolpo ,one still finds people practicing pre Buddhist religion of Bonpo.Some of the mountain communities practice Shamanism.
Nepal Quick Facts
Location: Between India and Tibet
Area: 140,800 sq km
Population: 26 million
Capital city: Kathmandu(2 million)
People: Brahmins, Chhetris, Newars, Tibetans,
Gurungs, Tamangs, Rais, Limbus, Sherpas etc
Language: Nepali
Religion: 80% Hindu, 15% Buddhist, rest others
Government: Parliamentary democracy
Time: GMT +5.45 hrs