Nepal Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Nepal > Map Economy History

Nepal Photographs by Scott A. Yost. Pictures of the Kathmandu Valley, Everest Region, Annapurna Region and Royal Chitwan National Park.
Royal Chitwan National Park
Sagarmatha National Park
WWF Nepal The World Wide Fund For Nature in Nepal.

Facts About Nepal

Background: In 1951, the Nepalese monarch ended the century-old system of rule by hereditary premiers and instituted a cabinet system of government. Reforms in 1990 established a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. The refugee issue of some 100,000 Bhutanese in Nepal remains unresolved; 90% of these displaced persons are housed in seven United Nations Offices of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) camps.
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: Kathmandu
Currency: 1 Nepalese rupee (NR) = 100 paisa

Geography of Nepal

Location: Southern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates: 28 00 N, 84 00 E
Area:
total: 140,800 sq km
land: 136,800 sq km
water: 4,000 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 2,926 km
border countries: China 1,236 km, India 1,690 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Climate: varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south
Terrain: Terai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m
highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m (1999 est.)
Natural resources: quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore
Land use:
arable land: 17%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 15%
forests and woodland: 42%
other: 26% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 8,500 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons
Environment - current issues: deforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives); contaminated water (with human and animal wastes, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluents); wildlife conservation; vehicular emissions.
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note: landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest on the border with China, which is the world's tallest.

People of Nepal

Perched on the southern slopes of the Himalayan Mountains, the Kingdom of Nepal is as ethnically diverse as its terrain of fertile plains, broad valleys, and the highest mountain peaks in the world. The Nepalese are descendants of three major migrations from India, Tibet, and Central Asia.

Among the earliest inhabitants were the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley and aboriginal Tharus in the southern Terai region. The ancestors of the Brahman and Chetri caste groups came from India, while other ethnic groups trace their origins to Central Asia and Tibet, including the Gurungs and Magars in the west, Rais and Limbus in the east, and Sherpas and Bhotias in the north.

In the Terai, a part of the Ganges Basin with 20% of the land, much of the population is physically and culturally similar to the Indo-Aryan people of northern India. People of Indo-Aryan and Mongoloid stock live in the hill region. The mountainous highlands are sparsely populated. Kathmandu Valley, in the middle hill region, constitutes a small fraction of the nation's area but is the most densely populated, with almost 5% of the population.

Religion is important in Nepal; Kathmandu Valley has more than 2,700 religious shrines alone. Nepal is about 86% Hindu. The constitution describes the country as a "Hindu Kingdom," although it does not establish Hinduism as the state religion. Buddhists account for about 8% of the population. Buddhist and Hindu shrines and festivals are respected and celebrated by all. Nepal also has small Muslim and Christian minorities. Certain animistic practices of old indigenous religions survive.

Nepali is the official language, although a dozen different languages and about 30 major dialects are spoken throughout the country. Derived from Sanskrit, Nepali is related to the Indian language, Hindi, and is spoken by about 90% of the population. Many Nepalese in government and business also speak English.

Population: 27,676,547 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 
40.35%
15-64 years: 
56.16%
65 years and over:  3.49%
Population growth rate: 2.32% 
Birth rate: 33.4 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 10.22deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 74.14 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  58.22 years
male:  58.65 years
female:  57.77 years
Total fertility rate: 4.58 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Nepalese (singular and plural)
adjective: Nepalese
Ethnic groups: Newars, Indians, Tibetans, Gurungs, Magars, Tamangs, Bhotias, Rais, Limbus, Sherpas
Religions: Hinduism 86.2%, Buddhism 7.8%, Islam 3.8%, other 2.2%
note: only official Hindu state in the world
Languages: Nepali (official; spoken by 90% of the population), about a dozen other languages and about 30 major dialects; note - many in government and business also speak English.
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 27.5%
male: 40.9%
female: 14% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Nepal > Map Economy History