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Nepal is a landlocked country with a total area of 147,181 sq.km. Roughly rectangular in shape, the country is bordered by China in the north and by India in the south, west and east and Nepal is stretched east-west.. The landmass is divided into three geographical zones, the high Himalayas, the mid-Himalayas or hill region and the sub-tropical Terai region. The high Himalayan zone consists of the world's highest and the most famous Mount Everest, 8848 m. This zone of high Himalayas bears peaks like Kanchanjunga, 8586 m, Makalu 8463 m Dhaulagiri, 8167 m, Annapurna 8091m and many others above and around 8000 metres. The mid-Himalayas or the hill region consists of mountain ranges varying in height from 1525 m. to 4877 m. This zone consists of majority of land mass of the country. The Churia vegetation range also falls in this zone. Fertile valleys of Kathmandu, Pokhara and many others lie in this zone. World famous temple of Pashupatinath and Sywambhunath stupas and famous world heritage sites are situated in this zone. The Terai zone is flat and stretches east-west of the country. This zone comprises sub-tropical weather. Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha is situated in this zone. Famous Ramjanaki Temple is also situated in the region.
Nepal experiences 4 seasons Spring (March-May) Summer (June-August), Autumn (Sept-Nov.) and Winter (Dec.-Feb.). Traditionally, Nepalese have their own six seasons one comprising two months. The climate varies from the sub-tropical Terai to the cool dry and alpine climate in the northern Himalayan ranges. In the Terai, summer temperatures may rise as high as 40 degree C with hot and humid climate. In the mid-Himalayan zone the summer climate is mild with temperatures around 25-29 degree C. The winter temperature in this zone ranges from 5-25 degree C. The Himalayan zone has an alpine climate. The valley of Kathmandu and Pokhara have a pleasant and equable climate. Rainfall is extensive during the period from June to September with the eastern part receiving maximum rainfall compared to the west of the country. The period from October to May is generally dry in most parts with occasional rains. Annual precipitation varies from around 300 mm. in the northern and western areas to over 2500 mm. in the South-Eastern region. Kathmandu valley receives around 1300 mm. of annual rainfall. The paradise valley of Pokhara has a very unpredictable weather, which gives a beauty to its already unparallel attraction. Nepal's current estimated population is around 30 million with many ethnic nationalities and languages.
It is noteworthy that the holy place where Lord BUDDHA was born in 623 B.C. now bears a landmark stone pillar bearing an inscription stating Sakyamuni Buddha was born here. Important historical sites around Lumbini are (1) Kapilvastu, (2) Ramgrama (3) Nighlihawa (4) Tilaurakot, actual capital of Kapilvastu and the home of the father of Lord Buddha where the Prince of Peace and harmony spent the first 29 years of his princely life. (5) Kudan- located some 4.5 kms. south of Tilaurakot is a mound of structural ruins. This is where the father of Lord Buddha met his son for the first time after he returned from cosmic enlightenment. (6) Gotihawa- located about 3 kms. southwest of Taulihawa is the birthplace and the place of Nirvana of Krakuchhanda Buddha who came before Shakyamuni Buddha (7) Devdaha- 54 kms. east of Lumbini across the Rohini river. This is where Prince Siddhartha spent his childhood. Seven years after his enlightenment Lord Buddha visited Devdaha and ordained followers of Jain Sadhu Nirgrantha Nathputra.
Kathmandu Valley civilisation is over 3000 years old. Nepal's history claims that the valley was a large pond in the early geological period. Water from the pond was drained and the valley became suitable for human settlement. There is also a legend which reinforces the tale that a Bodhistav called Manjushree came to Kathmandu valley and made a gorge by cutting land mass in Chobhar, South of Kathmandu valley, with his flaming sword and drained the water out of the valley.
The valley emerged from a pond had been very fertile and supported large settlement. Over centuries different dynasties that ruled the valley patronised an urban civilisation and developed rich cultural heritages. Gopalas, Mahispalas, Kiratas, Lichchavis (185-750AD) Mallas and Shah were the ruling dynasties in various period of Nepal's history. Lichchavi period is known as the golden period of Nepal's history. During this period art and architect and culture began to take shape and flourish. Lichchavis built many splendid temples, palaces and monuments. Malla and Early Shah Period between 14th to 18th centuries are famous for the flourishing of art and architect of the valley. Pagoda, Shikara and Stupa architecture, flamboyant palaces and artistic temples took their height in this period. Ancient cities of Kathmandu, Lalitpur (Patan) and Bhaktapur of the valley are also known as cities of temples.
World Heritage sites in Kathmandu Valley
Considering the richness of the cultural heritages of the Valley UNESCO has designated eight of the monuments as World Heritage Sites- Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhunath Stupa, Boudanath Stupa, Changu Narayan Temple, Nyatapol Temple. These sites have now become the prominent places of tourist interest. The historical monuments of the world heritage sites of Kathmandu valley have added to the beauty of the valley. These heritage sites situated within 20 kilometers radius itself is something that such richness is hard to find elsewhere.
Multi-party Democracy with interim constitution is in place. Country is in process of making new constitution. While the country is preparing to restructure the nation as Federal Democratic Republic, currently the country is divided into 5 Development Regions, 14 Zones and 75 districts.
Hinduism followed by Buddhism, constitute two major religions of Nepal. Both these religious believers are bound together by a sense of fellow feeling which is displayed in their worship of common deities and joint celebration of many festivals belonging to either religion or culture. Kumari, the living Hindu Goddess, for instance, is selected from a Buddhist clan and worshipped by Hindus. Although majority of population is Hindu followed by Buddhist population, all religious faiths receive equal treatment and protection from the State. This gives an ample example of harmony among religions which our world badly needs today.
Cultural and Natural Beauty:
Nepal is one of the few countries having rich cultural heritage gifted with age-old historical monuments. Having ten world heritage sites in the country and among them 7 sites within 20 kilometres radius itself is something that speaks the richness in heritage. It has eight national parks, four wildlife reserves, three conservation areas and one hunting reserve with 2% of all the flowering plants in the world; 8% of the world's population of birds (more than 848 species); 4% of mammals on earth; 11 of the world's 15 families of butterflies (more than 500 species); 600 indigenous plant families; and 319 species of exotic orchids.
Nepal's GDP grew by 4.0 per cent in 2009, after 4.7 per cent growth the previous calendar year. Inflation in 2009 was 13.2 per cent. Average annual population growth over the past decade was 2.3 per cent.Over 80 per cent of the economically active........... More »
Government has taken steps to restructure the economy by introducing measures such as tax reform, massive privatisation of public enterprises, dismantling Investment & Trade barriers, liberalising the foreign exchange system................................. More »
Nepal became a member of World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2004, the first least-developed country (LDC) to join the WTO through the full working party process and is in process to amend or adopt certain laws and regulations consistent........... More »