Nepal in Brief

Situated between Asia's two big countries India and China with the total area of 147,181 Sq. Kilometers and an average length of 885 Km east to west,  Nepal is well known for Mt. Everest; the highest mountain in the world, Lumbini; the birthplace of Lord Buddha; the founder of Buddhism and the Kumari, the Living Goddess. It lies between 26o 12' and 30o 27' north latitude and 80o 04' and 88o 12' east longitude. Its Capital is Kathmandu, the city of Temples. Nepali is the national language and it has more than 61 ethnic groups and 90 spoken languages. Nepal's standard time is 5 hours and 45 minutes ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and 15 minutes ahead of Indian Standard Time. Within this narrow stretch of land there is incredible diversity in topography ranging from a sub-tropical climate in the tarai (plains) to Alpine conditions in the Himalayan regions. Mountains, mid hills, valleys, lakes and plains dominate the landscape of this landlocked country.

Climatic conditions within Nepal vary from one place to another in accordance with the geographical features. In the north, summers are cool and winters severe, while in the south summers are sub-tropical and winters mild. The monsoon that brings rain from June through September affects most of the country except those that lie in the rain-shadow areas like Mustang which is within Nepal but a part of the Tibetan plateau. Large tracts of forested land have been preserved as national parks and wildlife reserves where endangered species like the Royal Bengal tiger and the Greater one-horned rhinoceros roam freely along with an amazing variety of mammals and reptiles that include bear, leopards, hyenas, wild boar, wild elephants, monitor lizards, crocodiles, pythons, turtles and various species of insects and birds.

Nepal also has an abundance of rivers most of which originate in the Himalaya while some flow down from Tibet. They all flow on to India, many of them joining the holy Ganges. High amid the mountains there are glacial lakes and spectacular valleys where few people venture. Recent physiographic data show that around 4.27 million hectares (29 % of total land area) is made up of forests, 1.56 million hectares (10.6%) of scrubland and degraded forest, 1.7 million hectares (12%) of grassland, 3.0 million hectares (21%) of farmland and 1.0 million hectares (7%) of un-cultivated land.

Nepal occupying only 0.1% of the earth is home to :

* 8 out of 14 of the mountains above 8000 meters in the world
* 2% of all the flowering plants in the world
* 8% of the world's  population of birds (more than 850 species)
* 4% of mammals on earth
* 11 of the world's 15 families of butterflies ( more than 500 species)
* 600 indigenous plant families
* 319 species of exotic orchids

Of the  812 UNESCO World Heritage Site, four are located in Nepal, namely the Kathmandu Valley, Sagarmatha National Park, Chitwan National Park and Lumbini, birthplace of Lord Buddha. Major monument zones in the Kathmandu Valley are Swoyambhunath, Boudhanath, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Changunarayan, Pashupatinath, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square.