About Nepal

Geography

 Nepal is located between south of Tibet and north of India. It is a country of high Himalayan Mountains, including Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world. Eight of the ten highest mountains in the world are right in Nepal. Nepal offers many exciting activities like trekking, mountain climbing, white water rafting, jungle safaris and even things like elephant rides! Even if Nepal is small for its size it has a lot of diverse terrain from the tall rocky Himalayas, deep valleys to humid jungles. Nepal is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of bio-diversity due to geographical position and altitude variation. The capital of Nepal is Kathmandu. It is also the largest city in Nepal. Nepal has a nearly rectangular shape. It is about 900 km long east to west and about 200 km wide north to south.

People & Culture

There are over twenty eight million people that live in Nepal. There are many ethnic groups in Nepal with their own culture and languages. Some major ethnic groups are Sherpa, Rai, Limbu, Gurung, Brahmin, Chhetris, Yadavs and Newars. The world famous brave warriors “Gurkhas” are from Nepal too. The main religions in Nepal are Hinduism and Buddhism. Hindus and Buddhists make over 95% of the population.
Nepali is the national language of Nepal, however, there are other different languages spoken by different ethnic groups like Newari, Limbu, Gurung, Tamang, Maitheli, Bhojpuri and others. Newari is the language popular in Kathmandu and surrounding area. Bhojpuri and Maitheli are popular in Terai region and Limbu, Gurung, Tamang languages are popular in hill side. Nepali culture is influenced by Indian and Tibetan cultures, so they have similarity in kinds of food, clothing and languages. Folklore is an important part of Nepali culture. It tells many stories about love, affections, battles, demons, and ghosts.

Festivals

Most festivals in Nepal are celebrated on Lunar Calendar dates, although Nepal has its own Solar calendar system known by “Bikram Sambat”.  The year as per “Bikram Sambat” is 57 years ahead of English year. The Nepalese new year based on Solar Calendar falls on April 13 or 14 of English year.

Some important festivals that Nepalese people celebrate during the year are Dashain, Tihar and the Indrajatara festival. Dashain is a fifteen day festival and it takes place between September and October. This festival is known for the importance of family gathering and to strengthen community ties. On the first day they set up a special worship room and this room is used to worship the astha-matrikas and the nava durgas. On the seventh day the town Fulpathi sends and offering of flowers to the King of Nepal. The eighth day is a day of sacrifice. In Katmandu valley, people go to the goddess “Nava Durga” temples for worshipping. Tenth day is called “Vijaya Dashami” and it signifies the day of victory over evil. To worship the goddess, women prepare “tika” which is a mix of rice, yogurt and vermillion. As a symbol of blessing, the elders put this “tika” on the forehead of younger relatives and they also give some money to them. This continues for five days.

Tihar is a five day festival celebrated approximately 15 days after the end of Dashain. In the first four days they worship different deities symbolically represented by crow, dog, cow, and oxen. Third day known as “Laxmi Puja” is also dedicated to worship goddess “Laxmi” who represents wealth and prosperity. Newars celebrate their new year on fourth day.