Nepal

Nepal

Overview
Nepal ( neˈpal), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 located in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

. It is located in the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

 and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. With an area of 147181 square kilometres (56,826.9 sq mi) and a population of approximately 30 million, Nepal is the world's 93rd largest country by land mass and the 41st most populous country.
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Encyclopedia
Nepal ( neˈpal), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

 located in South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

. It is located in the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

 and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. With an area of 147181 square kilometres (56,826.9 sq mi) and a population of approximately 30 million, Nepal is the world's 93rd largest country by land mass and the 41st most populous country. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and the country's largest metropolis.

Nepal has a rich geography. The mountainous north has eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest
Mount Everest
Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain, with a peak at above sea level. It is located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas. The international boundary runs across the precise summit point...

, called Sagarmatha in Nepali. It contains more than 240 peaks over 20000 ft (6,096 m) above sea level. The fertile and humid south is heavily urbanized
Urbanized
Urbanized is a 2011 documentary film by Gary Hustwit released on 26 October 2011 and considered the third of a three-part series on design known as the Design Trilogy, the first being Helvetica about the typeface and the second being Objectified about industrial design.The documentary discusses...

.

By some measures, Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 is practised by a larger majority of people in Nepal than in any other nation. Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, though a minority faith in the country, is linked historically with Nepal. Many Nepali do not distinguish between Hinduism and Buddhism and follow both religious traditions. There are three different buddhist traditions: Himalayan Buddhism, Buddhism of Kathmandu Valley (mostly Mahayana
Mahayana
Mahāyāna is one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice...

 and Vajrayana
Vajrayana
Vajrayāna Buddhism is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle...

), and also the Theravada
Theravada
Theravada ; literally, "the Teaching of the Elders" or "the Ancient Teaching", is the oldest surviving Buddhist school. It was founded in India...

 Buddhism.

A monarchy throughout most of its history, Nepal was ruled by the Shah dynasty
Shah dynasty
The Shah dynasty was the ruling dynasty of the Kingdom of Nepal.-The Rajput Lineage :The former royal family of Nepal claims descent from the Parmar Rajput dynasty of the Narsinghgarh state in Malwa . The famous kings of the Malwa region were Raja Bhrathari, Samrat Vikramaditya, and Raja Bhoj....

 of kings from 1768, when Prithvi Narayan Shah
Prithvi Narayan Shah
Prithvi Narayan Shah, King of Nepal was the first king of the House of Shahs to rule Nepal. He is credited for starting the campaign for a unified Nepal, which had been divided and weakened under Malla confederacy. He was the ninth generation descendant of Dravya Shah , the founder of the ruling...

 unified its many small kingdoms. However, a decade-long Civil War by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and several weeks of mass protests by all major political parties led to the 12 point agreement of November 22, 2005. The ensuing elections for the constituent assembly
Constituent assembly
A constituent assembly is a body composed for the purpose of drafting or adopting a constitution...

 on May 28, 2008 overwhelmingly favored the abdication of the Nepali monarch Gyanendra Shah
Gyanendra of Nepal
Gyanendra Shah was the last King of Nepal. During his life, he has held the title of the King twice: first between 1950 and 1951 as a child when his grandfather Tribhuvan was forced into exile in India with the rest of his family; and from 2001 to 2008, following the Nepalese royal massacre.King...

 and the establishment of a federal
Federal republic
A federal republic is a federation of states with a republican form of government. A federation is the central government. The states in a federation also maintain the federation...

 multiparty representative democratic republic. The first President of Nepal
President of Nepal
The position of President of Nepal constitutes the head of state of Nepal and was created after the country was declared a republic in May 2008. Girija Prasad Koirala was the first head of state of Nepal elected by the major parties on 19 May 2006. The current head of state of Nepal is President...

, Ram Baran Yadav
Ram Baran Yadav
Dr Ram Baran Yadav is the current President of Nepal. He was elected in July 2008 and is the country's first President. He previously served as Minister of Health and as General Secretary of the Nepali Congress party....

, was sworn in on July 23, 2008.

Nepal Bhasa origin


The word "Nepal" is believed by scholars to be derived from the word "Nepa:" which refers to the Newar
Newa people
The Newa , Newār or Newāl) are the indigenous people and the creators of the historical civilization of Nepal's Kathmandu Valley. The valley and surrounding territory have been known from ancient times as Nepal Mandala, its limits ever changing through history.Newas have lived in the Kathmandu...

 Kingdom, the present day Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu Valley
The Kathmandu Valley , located in Nepal, lies at the crossroads of ancient civilizations of Asia, and has at least 130 important monuments, including several places of pilgrimage for the Hindus and the Buddhists. There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites within this valley.-Etymology:The city of...

. In early Sanskrit sources (Atharvaveda Parisista) and in Gupta period inscriptions, the country is referred to as Nepala. The Newars of present day Nepal, the inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley and its peripheries, were referred as "Nepa:" before the advent of Shah dynasty.

Ne Muni


Local legends say that a Hindu sage
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

 named "Ne" established himself in the valley of Kathmandu in prehistoric times and that the word "Nepal" came into existence as the place protected ("pala" in Sanskrit) by the sage "Ne". This folk etymology of the name Nepal means, "the country looked after by Ne".

He is said to have performed religious ceremonies at Teku, at the confluence of the Bagmati and Bishnumati rivers. and to have selected a pious cowherd to be the first of the many kings of the Gopala Dynasty. These rulers are said to have ruled Nepal for over 500 years. He selected Bhuktaman to be the first king in the line of the Gopala (Cowherd) Dynasty. The Gopala dynasty is said to have ruled for 621 years. Yakshya Gupta was the last king of this dynasty.

However, according to the Skanda Purana
Skanda Purana
The Skanda Purana is the largest Mahapurana, a genre of eighteen Hindu religious texts. The text is devoted mainly to the lilas of Kartikeya , a son of Shiva and Parvati. It also contains a number of legends about Shiva, and the holy places associated with him...

, a rishi called "Ne" or "Nemuni" used to live in Himalaya. In the Pashupati Purana, he is mentioned as a saint and a protector. He is said to have practised meditation at the Bagmati and Kesavati rivers and to have taught there.

History


It appears that Kirata people were one of the first to settle in Nepal; they are said to have ruled Nepal for about 2,500 years.

Ancient


Nepal is first mentioned in the late Vedic text, Atharvaveda Parisista as a place exporting blankets, and in the post-Vedic Atharva Siras Upanisad. In Samudragupta's Allahabad inscription it is mentioned as a bordering country. The 'Skanda Purana' has a separate chapter known as 'Nepal Mahatmya', which "explains in more details about the beauty and power of Nepal." Nepal is also mentioned in Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 texts such as the Narayana Puja.

Around 500 BCE, small kingdoms and confederations of clans arose in the southern regions of Nepal. From one of these, the Shakya
Shakya
Shakya was an ancient janapada of India in the 1st millennium BCE. In Buddhist texts the Shakyas, the inhabitants of Shakya janapada, are mentioned as a clan of Gotama gotra....

 polity, arose a prince named Siddharta Gautama (traditionally dated 563–483 BCE), who later renounced his status to lead an ascetic life and came to be known as the Buddha
Buddha
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

("the enlightened one"). It is believed that the 7th Kirata king, Jitedasti, was on the throne in the Nepal valley at the time. By 250 BCE, the southern regions came under the influence of the Mauryan Empire of northern India, and Nepal later on became a nominal vassal state under the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

 in the fourth century CE. Beginning in the 3rd century CE, rulers called the Licchavis governed the Kathmandu Valley and surrounding central Nepal.

There is a good and quite detailed description of the kingdom of Nepal in the account of the renowned Chinese Buddhist pilgrim monk Xuanzang
Xuanzang
Xuanzang was a famous Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator who described the interaction between China and India in the early Tang period...

, dating from c. 645 CE.

The Licchavi dynasty went into decline in the late eighth century, probably due to Tibetan dominance, and was followed by a Newari
Newa people
The Newa , Newār or Newāl) are the indigenous people and the creators of the historical civilization of Nepal's Kathmandu Valley. The valley and surrounding territory have been known from ancient times as Nepal Mandala, its limits ever changing through history.Newas have lived in the Kathmandu...

 or Thakuri era, from 879 CE (Nepal Samvat 1), although the extent of their control over the country is uncertain. In the 11th century it seems to have included the Pokhara area.

Medieval


In the early 12th century, leaders emerged in far western Nepal whose names ended with the Sanskrit suffix malla ("wrestler"). These kings consolidated their power and ruled over the next 200 years, until the kingdom splintered into two dozen petty states. Another Malla dynasty, beginning with Jayasthiti, emerged in the Kathmandu valley in the late 14th century, and much of central Nepal again came under a unified rule. However, in 1482 the realm was divided into three kingdoms: Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur
Bhaktapur
Bhaktapur , also Bhadgaon or Khwopa is an ancient Newar town in the east corner of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. It is located in Bhaktapur District in the Bagmati Zone...

.

Kingdom of Nepal



After centuries of petty rivalry between the three kingdoms, in the mid-18th century, Prithvi Narayan Shah
Prithvi Narayan Shah
Prithvi Narayan Shah, King of Nepal was the first king of the House of Shahs to rule Nepal. He is credited for starting the campaign for a unified Nepal, which had been divided and weakened under Malla confederacy. He was the ninth generation descendant of Dravya Shah , the founder of the ruling...

, a Gorkha
Gurkha
Gurkha are people from Nepal who take their name from the Gorkha District. Gurkhas are best known for their history in the Indian Army's Gorkha regiments, the British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas and the Nepalese Army. Gurkha units are closely associated with the kukri, a forward-curving Nepalese knife...

 King, set out to unify the kingdoms. Seeking arms and aid from India, and buying the neutrality of bordering Indian kingdoms, he embarked on his mission in 1765. After several bloody battles and sieges, he managed to unify the Kathmandu Valley and surrounding territory three years later in 1768. However, an actual battle never took place to conquer the Kathmandu valley; it was taken over by Prithvi Narayan and his troops without any effort, during Indra Jatra, a festival of Newar
Newar
The Newa , Newār or Newāl) are the indigenous people and the creators of the historical civilization of Nepal's Kathmandu Valley. The valley and surrounding territory have been known from ancient times as Nepal Mandala, its limits ever changing through history.Newas have lived in the Kathmandu...

s, when all the valley's citizens were celebrating the festival. This event marked the birth of the modern nation of Nepal.

In 1788 the Nepalese overran Sikkim
Sikkim
Sikkim is a landlocked Indian state nestled in the Himalayan mountains...

 and sent a punitive raid into Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

. Kangra in northern India was also occupied by the Nepalese. In 1809, Ranjit Singh
Ranjit Singh
Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji was the first Maharaja of the Sikh Empire.-Early life:...

 the ruler of the Sikh state in the Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

, had intervened and drove the Nepalese army east of the Satluj river.

At its maximum extent, Greater Nepal
Greater Nepal
Greater Nepal is a concept referring to the state of Nepal extending beyond present boundaries to include territories ceded to the British East India Company under the Sugauli Treaty that ended the Anglo-Nepalese War in 1814–16...

 extended from the Tista River in the east, to Kangara, across the Sutlej River in the west as well as further south into the Terai plains and north of the Himalayas than at present. A dispute and subsequent war with Tibet over the control of mountain passes forced the Nepalese to retreat and pay heavy reparations to Tibet.

Rivalry between Nepal and the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 over the annexation of minor states bordering Nepal eventually led to the Anglo-Nepalese War (1815–16). At first the British underestimated the Nepalese and were soundly defeated until committing more military resources than they had anticipated needing. They were greatly impressed by the valour and competence of their adversaries. Thus began the reputation of "Gurkhas"
Gurkha
Gurkha are people from Nepal who take their name from the Gorkha District. Gurkhas are best known for their history in the Indian Army's Gorkha regiments, the British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas and the Nepalese Army. Gurkha units are closely associated with the kukri, a forward-curving Nepalese knife...

 as fierce and ruthless soldiers. The war ended in the Treaty of Sugauli, under which Nepal ceded recently captured portions of Sikkim and lands in Terai as well as the right to recruit soldiers.

Factionalism inside the royal family
Nepalese monarchy
The Kingdom of Nepal , also referred to as the Gorkha Kingdom, was formed in 1768 by the unification of Nepal. Founded by Prithvi Narayan Shah The Kingdom of Nepal , also referred to as the Gorkha Kingdom, was formed in 1768 by the unification of Nepal. Founded by Prithvi Narayan Shah The Kingdom...

 had led to a period of instability. In 1846 a plot was discovered revealing that the reigning queen had planned to overthrow Jung Bahadur Rana, a fast-rising military leader. This led to the Kot Massacre
Kot Massacre
The Kot massacre took place on 14 September 1846 when Jang Bahadur and his brothers killed about 40 members of the Nepalese palace court including the Prime Minister and a relative of the King, Chautariya Fateh Jang Shah, at the palace armoury of Kathmandu...

; armed clashes between military personnel and administrators loyal to the queen led to the execution of several hundred princes and chieftains around the country. Jung Bahadur Rana emerged victorious and founded the Rana
Rana dynasty
The Rana dynasty ruled the Kingdom of Nepal from 1846 until 1953, reducing the Shah monarch to a figurehead and making Prime Minister and other government positions hereditary...

 lineage.

The king was made a titular figure, and the post of Prime Minister was made powerful and hereditary. The Ranas were staunchly pro-British and assisted them during the Indian Sepoy Rebellion in 1857 (and later in both World War
World war
A world war is a war affecting the majority of the world's most powerful and populous nations. World wars span multiple countries on multiple continents, with battles fought in multiple theaters....

s). Some parts of the Terai Region were given back to Nepal by the British as a friendly gesture, because of her military help to sustain British control in India during the Sepoy Rebellion. In 1923, the United Kingdom and Nepal formally signed an agreement of friendship, in which Nepal's independence was recognized by the UK.

Slavery was abolished in Nepal in 1924. Nevertheless debt bondage even involving debtors' children has been a persistent social problem in the Terai.

In the late 1940s, newly emerging pro-democracy movements and political parties in Nepal were critical of the Rana autocracy. Meanwhile, with the invasion of Tibet by China in the 1950s, India sought to counterbalance the perceived military threat from its northern neighbour by taking pre-emptive steps to assert more influence in Nepal. India sponsored both King Tribhuvan (ruled 1911–55) as Nepal's new ruler in 1951 and a new government, mostly comprising the Nepali Congress Party, thus terminating Rana hegemony in the kingdom.

After years of power wrangling between the king and the government, King Mahendra
Mahendra of Nepal
Possibly no heir for the time period of 1911 through 1920. Previous Crown Prince: Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah, from 1906 to 1911....

 (ruled 1955–72) scrapped the democratic experiment in 1959, and a "partyless" panchayat system was made to govern Nepal until 1989, when the "Jan Andolan" (People's Movement) forced King Birendra
Birendra of Nepal
Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev was a King of Nepal. The son of King Mahendra, whom he succeeded in 1972, he reigned until his death in the 2001 Nepalese royal massacre...

 (ruled 1972–2001) to accept constitutional reforms and to establish a multiparty parliament that took seat in May 1991. In 1991–92, Bhutan
Bhutan
Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

 expelled roughly 100,000 Bhutanese citizens of Nepali descent, most of whom have been living in seven refugee camps in eastern Nepal ever since.

In 1996, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) started a bid to replace the royal parliamentary system with a people's socialist republic by violent means. This led to the long Nepal Civil War
Nepal Civil War
The Nepali Civil War was a conflict between government forces and Maoist rebels in Nepal which lasted from 1996 until 2006...

 and more than 12,000 deaths. On 1 June 2001, there was a massacre in the royal palace
Nepalese royal massacre
The Nepalese royal massacre occurred on Friday, June 1, 2001, at a house in the grounds of the Narayanhity Royal Palace, then the residence of the Nepalese monarchy, when the heir to the throne, Prince Dipendra killed nine members of his family and himself. However, it hasn't been proven that...

. King Birendra, Queen Aiswarya
Aiswarya
Aishwarya Rajyalaxmi Devi Shah was the Queen of Nepal from 1972 to 2001. She was the wife of King Birendra and the mother of Crown Prince Dipendra, Prince Nirajan, and Princess Shruti.- Biography :...

, and seven other members of the royal family were killed. The perpetrator was Crown Prince Dipendra
Dipendra of Nepal
Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev was a member of the Nepalese Royal Family, who briefly reigned in coma as King of Nepal from the 1st of June to the 4th of June, 2001...

, who committed suicide (he died 3 days later) shortly thereafter. This outburst was alleged to have been Dipendra's response to his parents' refusal to accept his choice of wife. Nevertheless there are speculation and doubts among Nepalese citizens about who was responsible.

Following the carnage, Birendra's brother Gyanendra
Gyanendra of Nepal
Gyanendra Shah was the last King of Nepal. During his life, he has held the title of the King twice: first between 1950 and 1951 as a child when his grandfather Tribhuvan was forced into exile in India with the rest of his family; and from 2001 to 2008, following the Nepalese royal massacre.King...

 inherited the throne. On 1 February 2005, Gyanendra dismissed the entire government and assumed full executive powers to quash the violent Maoist movement, but this initiative was unsuccessful because a stalemate had developed where the Maoists were firmly entrenched in large expanses of countryside yet could not dislodge the military from numerous towns and the largest cities. In September 2005, the Maoists declared a three-month unilateral ceasefire to negotiate.

In response to the 2006 democracy movement
2006 democracy movement in Nepal
The 2006 Democracy Movement is a name given to the political agitations against the direct and undemocratic rule of King Gyanendra of Nepal. The movement is also sometimes referred to as Jana Andolan-II , implying it being a continuation of the 1990 Jana Andolan.-Reinstitution of Parliament:In a...

 King Gyanendra agreed to relinquish sovereign power to the people. On 24 April 2006 the dissolved House of Representatives was reinstated. Using its newly acquired sovereign authority, on 18 May 2006 the House of Representatives unanimously voted to curtail the power of the king and declared Nepal a secular state
Secular state
A secular state is a concept of secularism, whereby a state or country purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. A secular state also claims to treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion, and claims to avoid preferential...

, ending its time-honoured official status as a Hindu Kingdom. On 28 December 2007, a bill was passed in parliament to amend Article 159 of the constitution – replacing "Provisions regarding the King" by "Provisions of the Head of the State" – declaring Nepal a federal republic
Federal republic
A federal republic is a federation of states with a republican form of government. A federation is the central government. The states in a federation also maintain the federation...

, and thereby abolishing the monarchy. The bill came into force on 28 May 2008.

Republic


The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) won the largest number of seats in the Constituent Assembly election
Nepalese Constituent Assembly election, 2008
A general election for the Constituent Assembly was held in Nepal on 10 April 2008 after having been postponed from earlier dates of 7 June 2007 and 22 November 2007. The Nepalese Constituent Assembly will draft a new constitution; it will therefore decide, amongst other things, on the issue of...

 held on 10 April 2008, and formed a coalition government which included most of the parties in the CA. Although acts of violence occurred during the pre-electoral period, election observers noted that the elections themselves were markedly peaceful and "well-carried out".

The newly elected Assembly met in Kathmandu on 28 May 2008, and, after a polling of 564 constituent Assembly members, 560 voted to form a new government, with the monarchist Rastriya Prajatantra Party, which had four members in the assembly, registering a dissenting note. At that point, it was declared that Nepal had become a secular and inclusive democratic republic, with the government announcing a three-day public holiday from 28 to 30 May. The King was thereafter given 15 days to vacate the Narayanhiti Royal Palace, to re-open it as a public museum.

Nonetheless, political tensions and consequent power-sharing battles have continued in Nepal. In May 2009, the Maoist-led government was toppled and another coalition government with all major political parties barring the Maoists was formed. Madhav Kumar Nepal
Madhav Kumar Nepal
Madhav Kumar Nepal is a Nepali politician who was Prime Minister of Nepal from May 25, 2009 until February 6, 2011. He was nominated as a PM through internal arrangements within the current ruling coaliation government of Nepal. Nepal announced his resignation as Prime Minister on June 30, 2010...

 of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist)
Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist)
The Communist Party of Nepal , also known as CPN-UML, CPN, is one of the largest communist parties in Nepal. It was created on January 6, 1991 through the unification of the Communist Party of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal...

 was made the Prime Minister of the coalition government.

Geography


Nepal is of roughly trapezoidal shape, 800 kilometres (497 mi) long and 200 kilometres (124 mi) wide, with an area of 147181 square kilometre. See List of territories by size for the comparative size of Nepal. It lies between latitudes 26°
26th parallel north
The 26th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 26 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 31°N
31st parallel north
The 31st parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 31 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean.Part of the border between Iran and Iraq is defined by the parallel....

, and longitudes 80°
80th meridian east
The meridian 80° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 89°E
89th meridian east
The meridian 89° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

Nepal is commonly divided into three physiographic areas: Mountain, Hill
Hill Region
Nepal's Hill region consists predominantly of the land area from 600 metres to 1,800 metres above sea level.The area consists of the historically important then state: Gorkha district, Syangja, Kaski, Lamjung, and Tanahun, among others....

 and Terai
Terai
The Terai is a belt of marshy grasslands, savannas, and forests located south of the outer foothills of the Himalaya, the Siwalik Hills, and north of the Indo-Gangetic Plain of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and their tributaries. The Terai belongs to the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands ecoregion...

. These ecological belts run east-west and are vertically intersected by Nepal's major, north to south flowing river systems.

The southern lowland plains or Terai bordering India are part of the northern rim of the Indo-Gangetic plains. They were formed and are fed by three major Himalayan rivers: the Kosi, the Narayani, and the Karnali as well as smaller rivers rising below the permanent snowline. This region has a subtropical to tropical climate. The outermost range of foothills called Shiwalik
Siwalik Hills
The Sivalik hills is a mountain range of the outer Himalayas also known as Manak Parbat in ancient times. Shivalik literally means 'tresses of Shiva’. This range is about long enclosing an area that starts almost from the Indus and ends close to the Brahmaputra, with a gap of about between the...

 or Churia Range cresting at 700 to 1000 m (2,296.6 to 3,280.8 ft) marks the limit of the Gangetic Plain, however broad, low valleys called Inner Tarai
Inner Terai Valleys of Nepal
The Inner Terai Valleys or Bhitri tarai are various elongated valleys in Nepal situated between the Himalayan foothills, the 600–900 m high Siwalik or Churia Range and the 2,000-3,000 m high Mahabharat Range further north. Major examples are the Chitwan Valley southwest of Kathmandu and the...

 (Bhitri Tarai Uptyaka) lie north of these foothills in several places.



The Hill Region (Pahad) abuts the mountains and varies from 800 to 4000 m (2,624.7 to 13,123.4 ft) in altitude with progression from subtropical climates below 1200 metres (3,937 ft) to alpine climates above 3600 metres (11,811 ft). The Mahabharat Range reaching 1500 to 3000 m (4,921.3 to 9,842.5 ft) is the southern limit of this region, with subtropical river valleys and "hills" alternating to the north of this range. Population density is high in valleys but notably less above 2000 metres (6,562 ft) and very low above 2500 metres (8,202 ft) where snow occasionally falls in winter.

The Mountain Region (Parbat), situated in the Great Himalayan Range, makes up the northern part of Nepal. It contains the highest elevations in the world including 8848 metres (29,029 ft) height Mount Everest
Mount Everest
Mount Everest is the world's highest mountain, with a peak at above sea level. It is located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas. The international boundary runs across the precise summit point...

 (Sagarmatha in Nepali) on the border with China. Seven other of the world's eight thousand metre peaks
Eight-thousander
The eight-thousanders are the fourteen independent mountains on Earth that are more than high above sea level. They are all located in the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges in Asia....

 are in Nepal or on its border with China: Lhotse
Lhotse
Lhotse is the fourth highest mountain on Earth and is connected to Everest via the South Col. In addition to the main summit at 8,516 metres above sea level, Lhotse Middle is and Lhotse Shar is...

, Makalu
Makalu
Makalu is the fifth highest mountain in the world at and is located southeast of Mount Everest, on the border between Nepal and China...

, Cho Oyu
Cho Oyu
Cho Oyu is the sixth highest mountain in the world at above sea level. Cho Oyu lies in the Himalayas and is 20 km west of Mount Everest, at the border between China and Nepal...

, Kanchenjunga, Dhaulagiri
Dhaulagiri
Dhaulagiri is Earth's seventh highest mountain at ; one of fourteen over eight thousand metres. Dhaulagiri was first climbed May 13, 1960 by a Swiss/Austrian expedition....

, Annapurna
Annapurna
Annapurna is a section of the Himalayas in north-central Nepal that includes Annapurna I, thirteen additional peaks over and 16 more over ....

 and Manaslu
Manaslu
Manaslu , also known as Kutang) is the eighth highest mountain in the world, and is located in the Mansiri Himal, part of the Nepalese Himalayas, in the west-central part of Nepal. Its name, which means "Mountain of the Spirit", comes from the Sanskrit word Manasa, meaning "intellect" or "soul"...

.

Nepal has five climatic zones, broadly corresponding to the altitudes. The tropical and subtropical zones lie below 1200 metres (3,937 ft), the temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

 zone 1200 to 2400 m (3,937 to 7,874 ft), the cold zone 2400 to 3600 m (7,874 to 11,811 ft), the subarctic zone 3600 to 4400 m (11,811 to 14,435.7 ft), and the Arctic zone above 4400 metres (14,436 ft).

Nepal experiences five seasons: summer, monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

, autumn, winter and spring. The Himalaya blocks cold winds from Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 in the winter and forms the northern limit of the monsoon wind patterns. In a land once thickly forested, deforestation is a major problem in all regions, with resulting erosion and degradation of ecosystems.

Nepal is popular for mountaineering, containing some of the highest and most challenging mountains in the world, including Mount Everest. Technically, the south-east ridge on the Nepali side of the mountain is easier to climb; so, most climbers prefer to trek to Everest through Nepal.

Neotectonics


The collision between the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 and the Eurasian continent, which started in Paleogene
Paleogene
The Paleogene is a geologic period and system that began 65.5 ± 0.3 and ended 23.03 ± 0.05 million years ago and comprises the first part of the Cenozoic Era...

 time and continues today, produced the Himalaya and the Tibetan Plateau
Tibetan Plateau
The Tibetan Plateau , also known as the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau is a vast, elevated plateau in Central Asia covering most of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai, in addition to smaller portions of western Sichuan, southwestern Gansu, and northern Yunnan in Western China and Ladakh in...

, a spectacular modern example of the effects of plate tectonics. Nepal lies completely within this collision zone, occupying the central sector of the Himalayan arc, nearly one third of the 2400 km (1,491.3 mi)-long Himalayas.

The Indian plate continues to move north relative to Asia at the rate of approximately 50 mm (2 in) per year. Given the great magnitudes of the blocks of the Earth's crust involved, this is remarkably fast, about twice the speed at which human fingernails grow. As the strong Indian continental crust subducts beneath the relatively weak Tibetan crust, it pushes up the Himalayan mountains. This collision zone has accommodated huge amounts of crustal shortening as the rock sequences slide one over another.

Erosion of the Himalayas is a very important source of sediment, which flows via several great rivers (the Indus to the Indian Ocean, and the Ganges and Brahmaputra river system) to the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

.

Environment


The dramatic differences in elevation found in Nepal result in a variety of biome
Biome
Biomes are climatically and geographically defined as similar climatic conditions on the Earth, such as communities of plants, animals, and soil organisms, and are often referred to as ecosystems. Some parts of the earth have more or less the same kind of abiotic and biotic factors spread over a...

s, from tropical savannas
Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands
Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands are a grassland terrestrial biome located in semi-arid to semi-humid climate regions of subtropical and tropical latitudes. Grasslands are dominated by grass and other herbaceous plants. Savannas are grasslands with scattered trees...

 along the Indian border, to subtropical broadleaf
Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests
Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests , also known as tropical moist forests, are a tropical and subtropical forest biome....

 and coniferous forests
Tropical and subtropical coniferous forests
Tropical and subtropical coniferous forests are a forest biome. They are located in regions of semi-humid climate at tropical and subtropical latitudes. Most tropical and subtropical coniferous forest ecoregions are found in the Nearctic and Neotropic ecozones, from Mexico to Nicaragua and on the...

 in the Hill Region, to temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

 broadleaf
Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests
Mixed forests are a temperate and humid biome. The typical structure of these forests includes four layers. The uppermost layer is the canopy composed of tall mature trees ranging from 33 to 66 m high. Below the canopy is the three-layered, shade-tolerant understory that is roughly 9 to...

 and coniferous forests on the slopes of the Himalaya, to montane grasslands and shrublands
Montane grasslands and shrublands
Montane grasslands and shrublands is a biome defined by the World Wildlife Fund. The biome includes high altitude grasslands and shrublands around the world....

 and rock and ice at the highest elevations.

At the lowest elevations is the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands
Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands
The Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands is a narrow lowland ecoregion at the base of the Himalayas, about wide and a continuation of the Gangetic Plain colloquially called Terai in the Ganges Basin east to Nepal, then Dooars in West Bengal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Assam east to the Brahmaputra River...

 ecoregion. These form a mosaic with the Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests
Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests
The Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests is an ecoregion that extends from the middle hills of central Nepal through Darjeeling into Bhutan and also into the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh...

, which occur from 500 to 1000 m (1,640.4 to 3,280.8 ft) and include the Inner Terai Valleys. Himalayan subtropical pine forests
Himalayan subtropical pine forests
The Himalayan subtropical pine forests are a large subtropical coniferous forest ecoregion covering portions of Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan....

 occur between 1000 and 2000 m (3,280.8 and 6,561.7 ft).

Above these elevations, the biogeography
Biogeography
Biogeography is the study of the distribution of species , organisms, and ecosystems in space and through geological time. Organisms and biological communities vary in a highly regular fashion along geographic gradients of latitude, elevation, isolation and habitat area...

 of Nepal is generally divided from east to west by the Gandaki River. Ecoregions to the east tend to receive more precipitation and to be more species-rich. Those to the west are drier with fewer species.

From 1500 to 3000 m (4,921.3 to 9,842.5 ft), are temperate broadleaf forests: the eastern
Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests
The Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests is a temperate broadleaf forest ecoregion found in the middle elevations of the eastern Himalayas, including parts of Nepal, India, and Bhutan...

 and western Himalayan broadleaf forests
Western Himalayan broadleaf forests
The Western Himalayan broadleaf forests is a temperate broadleaf and mixed forest ecoregion which is found in the middle elevations of the western Himalayas, including parts of Nepal, India, and Pakistan.-Setting:...

. From 3000 to 4000 m (9,842.5 to 13,123.4 ft) are the eastern
Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests
The Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests is a temperate coniferous forests ecoregion which is found in the middle and upper elevations of the eastern Middle Himalayas, in western Nepal, Bhutan and northern Indian states including Arunachal Pradesh....

 and western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests
Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests
The Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests is a temperate coniferous forests ecoregion of the middle and upper elevations of the western Middle Himalayas of Nepal, India, and Pakistan.-Setting:...

. To 5500 metres (18,044.6 ft) are the eastern
Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows
The Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows is a montane grasslands and shrublands ecoregion of Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, and Nepal, which lies between the tree line and snow line in the eastern portion of the Himalaya Range.-Setting:...

 and western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows
Western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows
The Western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows is an montane grasslands and shrublands ecoregion of Nepal, India, and Tibet, which lies between the tree line and snow line in the western portion of the Himalaya Range.-Setting:...

.

Subdivisions



Nepal is divided into 14 zones
Zones of Nepal
Nepal is divided into 14 administrative zones , and 75 districts . The 14 administrative zones are grouped into five development regions...

 and 75 districts
Districts of Nepal
Nepal's 14 administrative zones are subdivided into 75 districts . These districts are listed below, by zone...

, grouped into five development regions
Regions of Nepal
Nepal is divided into 14 administrative zones , which are divided into 75 districts . The 14 administrative zones are grouped into five development regions...

. Each district is headed by a permanent chief district officer responsible for maintaining law and order and coordinating the work of field agencies of the various government ministries. The five regions and 14 zones are:

  • Eastern Region (Purwanchal)
    • Koshi
    • Mechi
      Mechi Zone
      Mechi and other ethnic groups like Koche and Meche, and hill castes like Bahun and Chhetris.Mechi is divided into four districts:*Ilam District*Jhapa District*Panchthar District*Taplejung District...

    • Sagarmatha
      Sagarmatha Zone
      Sagarmāthā zone in the north, hill districts in the center, and valley districts of the Terai in the south. The borders of this zone are China to the north, India to the south, the Koshi Zone to the east and the Janakpur Zone to the west....

  • Central Region (Madhyamanchal)
    • Bagmati
      Bagmati Zone
      Bagmati Zone Bagmati is divided into eight districts:- See also :*Zones of Nepal*Regions of Nepal*Districts of Nepal...

    • Janakpur
      Janakpur Zone
      Janakpur Zone The headquarters of Janakpur zone and its main city is Janakpur. Close to the Indian border, it is a historic city of Hinduism. The city was believed to be the capital city of the King Janak, the father in law of Lord Rama, the son of the then King of Ayodhya, Dasharatha. The city...

    • Narayani
      Narayani Zone
      - Geography :Narayani contains parts of the Terai, Inner Terai, and Hill regions of Nepal, but it does not contain any of the Mountain or Himalayan region. Narayani is rich in flora and fauna...

  • Western Region (Pashchimanchal)
    Western Region, Nepal
    Western Region is one of Nepal's five development regions. It is located in the west-central part of the country with headquarters in Pokhara.It comprises three zones :* Dhawalagiri* Gandaki* Lumbini...

    • Dhawalagiri
      Dhawalagiri Zone
      Dhawalagiri is one of the fourteen zones of Nepal. It comes under the Western division of Nepal. Baglung is the headquarters of this zone. Famous trekking areas like Mustang, Muktinath, Kali Gandaki valley and Mt Dhaulagiri fall in this zone...

    • Gandaki
      Gandaki Zone
      The Gandaki zone that make up the Gandaki River. Pokhara serves as its regional and zonal capital. It is also the birthplace of Bhanubhakta Acharya, first poet of Nepal.The Gandaki zone is home to multiple cultures which are unique in themselves...

    • Lumbini
      Lumbini Zone
      Lumbini Zone, is one of the 14 zones of Nepal and is home to Lumbini site, the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, who later became the historical Buddha and founder of the Buddhist philosophy...

  • Mid-Western Region (Madhya Pashchimanchal)
    Mid-Western Region, Nepal
    Mid-Western Region is one of Nepal's five development regions. Westward from the Central region surrounding Kathmandu are the Western, Mid-Western and finally Far-Western regions. Counter-intuitively, Mid-Western lies west of Western....

    • Bheri
      Bheri Zone
      Bheri Anchal in the Mid-Western Development Region of Nepal. Nepalgunj is the administrative headquarters.Cities and towns are Narayan, Jajarkot and Chhinchu in the "hills"; Nepalgunj, Gularia and Kohalpur in Terai; Birendranagar in Surkhet Valley in the Inner Terai.Bheri Zone is divided into five...

    • Karnali
      Karnali Zone
      Karnali Zone in the Mid-Western Development Region of Nepal. The headquarters is Jumla.Karnali Zone is one of the poorest and most remote regions of Nepal, not very accessible by road yet. There are airfields in all districts except Kalikot which is connected by seasonal roadways to Jumla...

    • Rapti
      Rapti Zone
      Rapti Anchal in the Mid-Western Development Region of Nepal. It is named after the West Rapti River which drains Rolpa, Pyuthan and part of Dang district. The remainder of Dang and part of Salyan are drained by the Babai. The remainder of Salyan and all of Rukum are drained by the Bheri.The...

  • Far-Western Region (Sudur Pashchimanchal)
    Far-Western Region, Nepal
    Far-Western Region is one of Nepal's five development regions. It is located at the western end of the country with headquarters at Dipayal.It comprises two zones :* Mahakali* Seti...

    • Mahakali
      Mahakali Zone
      Mahakali|Kali River]] or Mahakali River, which originates from Kalapani.Mahakali's headquarter is Mahendranagar in Kanchanpur District. The zone covers the Himalayan range including Api Peak in the North, Hill valleys, Inner Terai valleys such as Patan in Baitadi District in the center and the...

    • Seti
      Seti Zone
      Seti ZoneSeti ZoneSeti ZoneSeti ZoneSeti ZoneSeti ZoneSeti ZoneSeti ZoneSeti Zone' onMouseout='HidePop("82678")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Head_of_State">head of state
      Head of State
      A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

       and a prime minister as the head of the government. Nepal has also been noted for its recent speed of development, such as being one of the few countries in Asia to abolish the death penalty and the first country in Asia to rule in favor of same-sex marriage
      Same-sex marriage
      Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....

      , which the government has a seven-person committee studying after a November 2008 ruling by the nation's Supreme Court, which ordered full rights for LGBT
      LGBT
      LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the...

       individuals, including the right to marry.

      Nepal's legislature was bicameral, consisting of a House of Representatives
      Nepal House of Representatives
      The House of Representatives was the lower house of parliament during the 1990 Constitution in Nepal. It consisted of 205 members directly elected by the people. It had five-year terms, but it could be dissolved by the king on the advice of the prime minister before the ending of its term.On...

       called the Pratinidhi Sabha and a National Council called the Rastriya Sabha. The House of Representatives consisted of 205 members directly elected by the people. The National Council had 60 members: ten nominated by the king, 35 elected by the House of Representatives, and the remaining 15 elected by an electoral college made up of chairs of villages and towns. The legislature had a five-year term but was dissolvable by the king before its term could end. All Nepali citizens 18 years and older became eligible to vote.

      The executive comprised the King and the Council of Ministers (the cabinet). The leader of the coalition or party securing the maximum seats in an election was appointed as the Prime Minister. The Cabinet was appointed by the king on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. Governments in Nepal tended to be highly unstable, falling either through internal collapse or parliamentary dissolution by the monarch, on the recommendation of the prime minister, according to the constitution; no government has survived for more than two years since 1991.

      The movement in April 2006 brought about a change in the nation's governance: an interim constitution was promulgated, with the King giving up power, and an interim House of Representatives was formed with Maoist members after the new government held peace talks with the Maoist rebels. The number of parliamentary seats was also increased to 330. In April 2007, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) joined the interim government of Nepal.

      In December 2007, the interim parliament passed a bill making Nepal a federal republic, with a president as head of state. Elections for the constitutional assembly were held on 10 April 2008; the Maoist party led the results but did not achieve a simple majority of seats. The new parliament adopted the 2007 bill at its first meeting by an overwhelming majority, and King Gyanendra was given 15 days to leave the Royal Palace in central Kathmandu. He left on 11 June.

      On 26 June, the prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala
      Girija Prasad Koirala
      Girija Prasad Koirala was a Nepalese politician and the President of the Nepali Congress, a major political party. He was Prime Minister of Nepal for four times, serving from 1991 to 1994, 1998 to 1999, 2000 to 2001, and from 2006 to 2008; he was also Acting Head of State from January 2007 to July...

      , who had served as Acting Head of State since January 2007, announced that he would resign on the election of the country's first president by the Constituent Assembly. The first round of voting, on 19 July, saw Parmanand Jha
      Parmanand Jha
      Parmanand Jha is the current Vice President of Nepal and a former Supreme Court judge. He was born and brought up in Darbhanga, Bihar, India. Jha resigned as a judge in December 2007 after he was not proposed by the Judicial Council as a permanent judge at the apex court, following allegations of...

       win election as Nepali vice-president, but neither of the contenders for president received the required 298 votes and a second round was held two days later. Ram Baran Yadav
      Ram Baran Yadav
      Dr Ram Baran Yadav is the current President of Nepal. He was elected in July 2008 and is the country's first President. He previously served as Minister of Health and as General Secretary of the Nepali Congress party....

       of the Nepali Congress
      Nepali Congress
      The Nepali Congress is a Nepalese political party. Nepali Congress led the 1950 Democratic Movement which successfully ended the Rana dynasty and allowed commoners to take part in the polity. It again led a democratic movement in 1990, in partnership with leftist forces, to end monarchy and...

       party defeated Maoist-backed Ram Raja Prasad Singh
      Ram Raja Prasad Singh
      Ram Raja Prasad Singh is a Nepalese politician. In July 2008, Singh was proposed by the Communist Party of Nepal as their candidate in the first presidential election in the country....

       with 308 of the 590 votes cast. Koirala submitted his resignation to the new president after Yadav's swearing-in ceremony on 23 July.

      On 15 August 2008, Maoist leader Prachanda
      Prachanda
      Puspa Kamal Dahal ; born Chhabilal Dahal on 11 December 1954, also known as Prachanda ]]. Prachanda led CPN as it launched an insurgency on 13 February 1996. In 2008 the ensuing civil war culminated in the overthrow of the Shah dynasty in favor of a communist...

       (Pushpa Kamal Dahal) was elected Prime Minister of Nepal, the first since the country's transition from a monarchy to a republic. On 4 May 2009, Dahal resigned over on-going conflicts over sacking of the Army chief. Since Dahal's resignation, the country has been in a serious political deadlock – one of the big issues being the proposed integration of the former Maoist combatants, also known as the People's Liberation Army, into the national security forces. After Dahal, Jhala Nath Khanal of CPN (UML) became Prime Minister. As Khanal could not succeeded to facilitate to make new constitution,in August 2011, Maoist Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai became third Prime Minister after the election of contituent assembly.

      Military and foreign affairs


      Nepal's military consists of the Nepalese Army, which includes the Nepalese Army Air Service
      Nepalese Army Air Service
      Nepal has no separate Air Force but flies several aircraft within Nepalese Army Service, also known as the Nepal Army Air Wing. It was formed in 1960s, but finally became an air force unit in 1979. It is now again a part of the Army and has very limited combat capabilities. The main objective of...

       (the air force unit under it.) Nepalese Police Force
      Nepalese Police Force
      The Nepalese Police Force is the national police of Nepal. It is independent of the Nepalese Army. Although once brought under the Army in the name of "Unified Command", it is taken as a force separate from the Army....

       is the civilian police and the Armed Police Force Nepal
      Armed Police Force Nepal
      - History :The Armed Police Force of Nepal is a paramilitary force with the basic roles of catalyst in maintaining law and order and containing insurgency cracking down terrorist activities. Its foundation is similar to the paramilitary force. Service is voluntary and the minimum age for...

       is the paramilitary force. Service is voluntary and the minimum age for enlistment is 18 years. Nepal spends $99.2 million (2004) on its military—1.5% of its GDP. Much of the equipment and arms are imported from India. Consequently, the US provided M16s M4s and other Colt weapons to combat communist (Maoist) insurgents. As of now, the standard-issue battle rifle of the Nepalese army is the Colt M16.

      Nepal has close ties with both of its neighbours, India and China. In accordance with a long-standing treaty, Indian and Nepalese citizens may travel to each others' countries without a passport or visa. Nepalese citizens may work in India without legal restriction. However, since the Government of Nepal
      Government of Nepal
      The Government of Nepal, or Nepal Government, is the executive body and the Central government of Nepal. Prior to the abolition of Monarchy in Nepal, was officially known as His Majesty's Government....

       has been dominated by Socialists and India's by more right-wing parties, India has been remilitarizing the "porous" Indo-Nepali border, in order to stifle the flow of Islamist groups. Nepal established relations with the People's Republic of China
      People's Republic of China
      China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

       on August 1, 1955, and relations since have been based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence
      Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence
      The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, known in India as the Panchsheel, are a set of principles to govern relations between states. Their first formal codification in treaty form was in an agreement between by China and India in 1954...

      . Nepal has aided China in the aftermath of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake
      2008 Sichuan earthquake
      The 2008 Sichuan earthquake or the Great Sichuan Earthquake was a deadly earthquake that measured at 8.0 Msand 7.9 Mw occurred at 14:28:01 CST...

      , and China has provided economic assistance for Nepali infrastructure. Both countries have cooperated to host the 2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest
      2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest
      The 2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest was the special route of the torch relay as part of the 2008 Summer Olympics taking place in Mount Everest. Torchbearers reached Mt. Everest at 9.20 in the morning on May 8, in parallel with the Shenzhen route...

      . Nepal has assisted in curbing anti-China protests from the Tibetan diaspora
      Tibetan diaspora
      The Tibetan diaspora is a term used to refer to the communities of Tibetan people living outside Tibet. Tibetan emigration happened in two waves: one in 1959 following the 14th Dalai Lama's self-exile in India, and the other in the 1980s when Tibet was opened to trade and tourism. The third wave...

      .

      Economy





      Nepal's gross domestic product (GDP) for 2008 was estimated at over $12 billion (adjusted to Nominal GDP), making it the 115th-largest economy in the world. Agriculture accounts for about 40% of Nepal's GDP
      Gross domestic product
      Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

      , services comprise 41% and industry 22%. Agriculture employs 76% of the workforce, services 18% and manufacturing/craft-based industry 6%. Agricultural produce – mostly grown in the Terai region bordering India – includes tea, rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, root crops, milk, and water buffalo
      Water buffalo
      The water buffalo is a domesticated bovid widely kept in Asia, Europe and South America.Water buffalo can also refer to:*Wild water buffalo , the wild ancestor of the domestic water buffalo...

       meat. Industry mainly involves the processing of agricultural produce, including jute
      Jute
      Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus, which has been classified in the family Tiliaceae, or more recently in Malvaceae....

      , sugarcane, tobacco, and grain.

      Its workforce of about 10 million suffers from a severe shortage of skilled labour. About 25% of the population live below the international poverty line of $1.25 a day.. This is a significant improvement from the 41.2% in 1995-96. The spectacular landscape and diverse, exotic cultures of Nepal represent considerable potential for tourism
      Tourism in Nepal
      Tourism is the largest industry in Nepal, and the largest source of foreign exchange and revenue. Possessing 8 of the 10 highest mountains in the world, Nepal is a hotspot destination for mountaineers, rock climbers and people seeking adventures...

      , but growth in this hospitality industry has been stifled by recent political events. In 2009, the number of international tourists visiting Nepal was 509,956. The rate of unemployment and underemployment approaches half of the working-age population. Thus many Nepali citizens move to India in search of work; the Gulf countries and Malaysia being new sources of work. Nepal receives $50 million a year through the Gurkha
      Gurkha
      Gurkha are people from Nepal who take their name from the Gorkha District. Gurkhas are best known for their history in the Indian Army's Gorkha regiments, the British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas and the Nepalese Army. Gurkha units are closely associated with the kukri, a forward-curving Nepalese knife...

       soldiers who serve in the Indian
      Indian Army
      The Indian Army is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. With about 1,100,000 soldiers in active service and about 1,150,000 reserve troops, the Indian Army is the world's largest standing volunteer army...

       and British
      British Army
      The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

       armies and are highly esteemed for their skill and bravery. The total remittance value is worth around $1 billion, including money sent from the Persian Gulf and Malaysia, who combined employ around 700,000 Nepali citizens.

      A long-standing economic agreement underpins a close relationship with India. The country receives foreign aid from India, Japan, the UK, the US, the EU, China, Switzerland, and Scandinavian countries. Poverty is acute; per-capita income is around $1,000. The distribution of wealth
      Distribution of wealth
      The distribution of wealth is a comparison of the wealth of various members or groups in a society. It differs from the distribution of income in that it looks at the distribution of ownership of the assets in a society, rather than the current income of members of that society.-Definition of...

       among the Nepalis is consistent with that in many developed and developing countries: the highest 10% of households control 39.1% of the national wealth and the lowest 10% control only 2.6%.

      The government's budget is about $1.153 billion, with expenditure of $1.789 billion (FY05/06). The Nepalese rupee
      Nepalese rupee
      The rupee is the official currency of Nepal. The present rupee has the ISO 4217 code NPR and is normally abbreviated with the sign ₨. It is subdivided into 100 paisa. The issuance of the currency is controlled by the Nepal Rastra Bank...

       has been tied to the Indian Rupee
      Indian rupee
      The Indian rupee is the official currency of the Republic of India. The issuance of the currency is controlled by the Reserve Bank of India....

       at an exchange rate of 1.6 for many years. Since the loosening of exchange rate controls in the early 1990s, the black market for foreign exchange has all but disappeared. The inflation rate has dropped to 2.9% after a period of higher inflation during the 1990s.

      Nepal's exports of mainly carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute
      Jute
      Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus, which has been classified in the family Tiliaceae, or more recently in Malvaceae....

       goods and grain total $822 million. Import commodities of mainly gold, machinery and equipment, petroleum products and fertilizer total US$2 bn. India (53.7%), the US (17.4%), and Germany (7.1%) are its main export partners. Nepal's import partners include India (47.5%), the United Arab Emirates (11.2%), China (10.7%), Saudi Arabia (4.9%), and Singapore (4%).

      Nepal Tourism Year 2011



      The country is currently celebrating Nepal Tourism Year 2011 after an official launch by the nation's President, Dr Ram Baran Yadav, at the Dasarath stadium in the capital amidst a grand celebration on 14 January 2011.

      Infrastructure


      Nepal remains isolated from the world's major land, air and sea transport routes although, within the country, aviation is in a better state, with 48 airports, ten of them with paved runways; flights are frequent and support a sizable traffic. The hilly and mountainous terrain in the northern two-thirds of the country has made the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive. There were just over 8500 km (5,282 mi) of paved roads, and one 59-km railway line in the south in 2003. There is only one reliable road route from India to the Kathmandu Valley
      Kathmandu Valley
      The Kathmandu Valley , located in Nepal, lies at the crossroads of ancient civilizations of Asia, and has at least 130 important monuments, including several places of pilgrimage for the Hindus and the Buddhists. There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites within this valley.-Etymology:The city of...

      .

      The only practical seaport of entry for goods bound for Kathmandu is Calcutta in India. Internally, the poor state of development of the road system (22 of 75 administrative districts lack road links) makes volume distribution unrealistic. Besides having landlocked, rugged geography, few tangible natural resources and poor infrastructure, the long-running civil war is also a factor in stunting the economic growth.

      There is less than one telephone per 19 people. Landline telephone services are not adequate nationwide but are concentrated in cities and district headquarters. Mobile telephony is in a reasonable state in most parts of the country with increased accessibility and affordability; there were around 175,000 Internet connections in 2005. After the imposition of the "state of emergency", intermittent losses of service-signals were reported, but uninterrupted Internet connections have resumed after Nepal's second major people's revolution to overthrow the King's absolute power.

      Demographics


      Nepal's population has grown from 9 million people in 1950 to 26.6 million in 2011. At the time of the 1981 census, the total population of Nepal was 15 million, the average family was made up of 5.8 persons.

      The Nepalese are descendants of three major migrations from India, Tibet
      Tibet
      Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

      , and North Burma and Yunnan
      Yunnan
      Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country spanning approximately and with a population of 45.7 million . The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with...

       via Assam
      Assam
      Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

      . Even though Indo-Nepalese migrants were latecomers to Nepal relative to the migrants from the north, they have come to dominate the country not only numerically, but also socially, politically, and economically.

      Among the earliest inhabitants were the Kirat of east mid-region, Newar
      Newar
      The Newa , Newār or Newāl) are the indigenous people and the creators of the historical civilization of Nepal's Kathmandu Valley. The valley and surrounding territory have been known from ancient times as Nepal Mandala, its limits ever changing through history.Newas have lived in the Kathmandu...

       of the Kathmandu Valley and aboriginal Tharu in the southern Terai region. The ancestors of the Brahmin
      Brahmin
      Brahmin Brahman, Brahma and Brahmin.Brahman, Brahmin and Brahma have different meanings. Brahman refers to the Supreme Self...

       and Chetri
      Kshatriya
      *For the Bollywood film of the same name see Kshatriya Kshatriya or Kashtriya, meaning warrior, is one of the four varnas in Hinduism...

       caste groups came from India's present Kumaon
      Kumaon Division
      For Kumaoni/Kumauni People see Kumauni PeopleKumaon or Kumaun is one of the two regions and administrative divisions of Uttarakhand, a mountainous state of northern India, the other being Garhwal. It includes the districts of Almora, Bageshwar, Champawat, Nainital, Pithoragarh, and Udham Singh Nagar...

      , Garhwal
      Garhwal Division
      Garhwal is the north-western region and administrative division of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand which is home to the Garhwali people. Lying in the Himalayas, It is bounded on the north by Tibet, on the east by Kumaon region, on the south by Uttar Pradesh state, and on the north-west by...

       and Kashmir
      Kashmir
      Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

       regions, while other ethnic groups trace their origins to North Burma and Yunnan
      Yunnan
      Yunnan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the far southwest of the country spanning approximately and with a population of 45.7 million . The capital of the province is Kunming. The province borders Burma, Laos, and Vietnam.Yunnan is situated in a mountainous area, with...

       and Tibet, e.g. the Gurung
      Gurung
      The Gurung people, also called Tamu, are an ethnic group that migrated from Mongolia in the 6th century to the central region of Nepal. Gurungs, like other east Asian featured peoples of Nepal such as Sherpa, Tamang, Thakali, Magar, Manaaggi, Mustaaggi, and Walunggi, are the indigenous people of...

       and Magar in the west, Rai
      Rai (ethnic group)
      The Rai are one of Nepal's most ancient indigenous ethnolinguistic groups. They were Raya meaning king. Once someone was recognized as a ruler then Hindus awarded the title Raja, Rai, Raya, Malla etc. When the king Pritivi Narayan Shah couldn't defeat Kirant king , he somehow took them in...

       and Limbu
      Limbu people
      The Yakthung or Limbu tribes and clans belong to the Kirati nation or to the Kirat confederation.They are indigenous to the hill and mountainous regions of east Nepal between the Arun and Mechi rivers to as far as Southern Tibet, Bhutan and Sikkim....

       in the east (from Yunnan and north Burma via Assam), and Sherpa and Bhutia
      Bhutia
      The Bhutia are ethnic Tibetans who speak Sikkimese, a Tibetan dialect fairly mutually intelligible to standard Tibetan. In 2001, the Bhutia numbered around 70,300...

       in the north (from Tibet).

      In the Terai, a part of the Ganges
      Ganges River
      The Ganges or Ganga, , is a trans-boundary river of India and Bangladesh. The river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. By discharge it...

       Basin
      Drainage basin
      A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

       with 20% of the land, much of the population is physically and culturally similar to the Indo-Aryans
      Indo-Aryans
      Indo-Aryan is an ethno-linguistic term referring to the wide collection of peoples united as native speakers of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages...

       of northern India. Indo-Aryan and East-Asian-looking mixed people live in the hill region. Indo-Aryan ancestry has been a source of prestige in Nepal for centuries, and the ruling families have been of Indo-Aryan and Hindu background. 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.

      Nepal is a multilingual society.

      These data are largely derived from Nepal's 2001 census results published in the Nepal Population Report 2002.

      According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Nepal hosted a population of refugees and asylum seekers in 2007 numbering approximately 130,000. Of this population, approximately 109,200 persons were from Bhutan
      Bhutan
      Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

       and 20,500 from People's Republic of China. The government of Nepal restricted ethnic Nepalese expelled from Bhutan to seven camps in the Jhapa and Morang districts, and refugees were not permitted to work in most professions. At present, the United States is working towards resettling more than 60,000 of these refugees in the US.
      Population Structure
      DataSize
      Population
      Population
      A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

      28,676,547 (2005)
      Growth Rate 2.2%
      Population below 14 Years old 39%
      Population of age 15 to 64 57.3%
      Population above 65 3.7%
      The median age (Average) 20.07
      The median age (Male) 19.91
      The median age (Females) 20.24
      Ratio (Male:Female) 1, 000:1,060
      Life expectancy (Average) 59.8 Years
      Life expectancy (Male) 60.9
      Life expectancy (Female) 59.5
      Literacy Rate (Average) 53.74%
      Literacy Rate (Male) 68.51%
      Literacy Rate (Female) 42.49%


      Despite the migration of a significant section of the population to the southern plains or terai in recent years, the majority of the population still lives in the central highlands. The northern mountains are sparsely populated.

      Kathmandu, with a population of around 800,000 (metropolitan area: 1.5 million), is the largest city in the country.

      Languages



      Nepal's diverse linguistic heritage evolved from four major language groups: Indo-Aryan
      Indo-Aryan languages
      The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

      , Tibeto-Burman, Mongolian
      Mongolian language
      The Mongolian language is the official language of Mongolia and the best-known member of the Mongolic language family. The number of speakers across all its dialects may be 5.2 million, including the vast majority of the residents of Mongolia and many of the Mongolian residents of the Inner...

       and various indigenous language
      Indigenous language
      An indigenous language or autochthonous language is a language that is native to a region and spoken by indigenous peoples but has been reduced to the status of a minority language. This language would be from a linguistically distinct community that has been settled in the area for many generations...

       isolates. The major languages of Nepal (percent spoken as mother tongue) are Nepali
      Nepali language
      Nepali or Nepalese is a language in the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family.It is the official language and de facto lingua franca of Nepal and is also spoken in Bhutan, parts of India and parts of Myanmar...

       (70%), Maithili
      Maithili language
      Maithili language is spoken in the eastern region of India and South-eastern region of Nepal. The native speakers of Maithili reside in Bihar, Jharkhand,parts of West Bengal and South-east Nepal...

       (5%), Bhojpuri (3%), Tharu
      Tharu language
      Tharu is an Eastern zone Indo-Aryan language, or cluster of languages, spoken by the Tharu people. Not all Tharu speak distinct languages, but the languages of those who do may be divided as follows,...

       (4%), Tamang
      Tamang language
      Tamang is a term used to collectively refer to a dialect cluster spoken in parts of Nepal and Sikkim. It comprises Eastern Tamang, Northwestern Tamang, Southwestern Tamang, Eastern Gorkha Tamang, and Western Tamang...

       (3%), Newari/Nepal Bhasa (3.6%), Magar
      Magar language
      Not to be confused with the Magyar language, known in English as HungarianMagar मगर भाषा Magar bhasa is a language spoken in parts of Nepal and Sikkim in India by Magar people. It is divided into two groups: Eastern and Western, and further dialect divisions give distinct tribal identity...

       (2.4%), Rai (2.8%), Awadhi (2.5%), Limbu
      Limbu language
      Limbu is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken in Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, Kashmir and Darjeeling district, West Bengal, India, by the Limbu community. Virtually all Limbus are bilingual in Nepali....

       (1.5%), and Bajjika (1%).

      Derived from Sanskrit
      Sanskrit
      Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

      , Nepali
      Nepali language
      Nepali or Nepalese is a language in the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family.It is the official language and de facto lingua franca of Nepal and is also spoken in Bhutan, parts of India and parts of Myanmar...

       has roots in Sanskrit and is written in Devanagari
      Devanagari
      Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

       script. Nepali is the official national language and serves as lingua franca among Nepalis of different ethnolinguistic groups. Regional dialects Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Maithili and rarely Hindi are spoken in the southern Terai Region. Many Nepalis in government and business speak English as well. Dialects of Tibetan
      Standard Tibetan
      Standard Tibetan is the most widely used spoken form of the Tibetan languages. It is based on the speech of Lhasa, an Ü-Tsang dialect belonging to the Central Tibetan languages. For this reason, Standard Tibetan is often called Central Tibetan...

       are spoken in and north of the higher Himalaya where standard literary Tibetan is widely understood by those with religious education. Local dialects in the Terai and hills are mostly unwritten with efforts underway to develop systems for writing many in Devanagari or the Roman alphabet.

      Religion


      The overwhelming majority of the Nepalese population follows Hinduism
      Hinduism
      Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

      . Shiva
      Shiva
      Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

       is regarded as the guardian deity of the country. Nepal is home to the famous Lord Shiva
      Shiva
      Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

       temple, the Pashupatinath
      Pashupatinath temple
      Pashupatinath Temple is one of the most significant Hindu temples of Lord Shiva in the world, located on the banks of the Bagmati River in the eastern part of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The temple served as the seat of the national deity, Lord Pashupatinath, Nepal is a secular country...

       Temple
      Hindu temple
      A Mandir, Devalayam, Devasthanam, or a Hindu temple is a place of worship for followers of Hinduism...

      , where Hindus from all over the world come for pilgrimage. According to mythology, Sita
      SITA
      SITA is a multinational information technology company specialising in providing IT and telecommunication services to the air transport industry...

       Devi
      Devi
      Devī is the Sanskrit word for Goddess, used mostly in Hinduism, its related masculine term is deva. Devi is synonymous with Shakti, the female aspect of the divine, as conceptualized by the Shakta tradition of Hinduism. She is the female counterpart without whom the male aspect, which represents...

       of the epic Ramayana
      Ramayana
      The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

      , was born in the Mithila Kingdom of King Janaka Raja.

      Lumbini
      Lumbini
      Lumbinī is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Buddha Gautama founded the Buddhist tradition. The Buddha lived between roughly 563 and 483 BCE...

       is a Buddhist pilgrimage
      Buddhist pilgrimage
      The most important places of pilgrimage in Buddhism are located in the Gangetic plains of Northern India and Southern Nepal, in the area between New Delhi and Rajgir. This is the area where Gautama Buddha lived and taught, and the main sites connected to his life are now important places of...

       site and UNESCO
      UNESCO
      The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

       World Heritage Site
      World Heritage Site
      A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

       site in the Kapilavastu
      Kapilavastu
      Kapilavastu is the name of a region of ancient Shakya kingdom that is considered a holy pilgrimage place for Buddhists. The search for the Buddha's birthplace following the accounts left by Xuanzang and Faxian involved various searches in the late 19th century...

       district. Traditionally it is held to be the birthplace in about 563 B.C. of Siddhartha Gautama, a Kshatriya caste prince of the Sakya clan, who, as the Buddha Gautama
      Gautama Buddha
      Siddhārtha Gautama was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha Siddhārtha Gautama (Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम; Pali: Siddhattha Gotama) was a spiritual teacher from the Indian...

      , gave birth to the Buddhist tradition
      Buddhism
      Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

      .

      The holy site of Lumbini is bordered by a large monastic zone, in which only monasteries can be built. All three main branches of Buddhism exist in Nepal and the Newa people
      Newa people
      The Newa , Newār or Newāl) are the indigenous people and the creators of the historical civilization of Nepal's Kathmandu Valley. The valley and surrounding territory have been known from ancient times as Nepal Mandala, its limits ever changing through history.Newas have lived in the Kathmandu...

       have their own branch
      Newar Buddhism
      Newar Buddhism is the form of Mahayana-Vajrayana Buddhism practiced by the Newar ethnic community of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal. It has developed unique socio-religious elements, which include a non-monastic Buddhist society based on a caste system and patrilinial descent...

       of the faith. Buddhism is also the dominant religion of the thinly populated northern areas, which are mostly inhabited by Tibetan-related peoples, such as the Sherpa
      Sherpa people
      The Sherpa are an ethnic group from the most mountainous region of Nepal, high in the Himalayas. Sherpas migrated from the Kham region in eastern Tibet to Nepal within the last 300–400 years.The initial mountainous migration from Tibet was a search for beyul...

      .

      The Buddha, born as a Hindu, is also said to be a descendant of Vedic
      Vedas
      The Vedas are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism....

       Sage Angirasa in many Buddhist texts. The Buddha's family surname is associated with Gautama Maharishi
      Gautama Maharishi
      Gautama Maharishi is one of the Saptarishis Gautama Maharishi is one of the Saptarishis Gautama Maharishi is one of the Saptarishis (Seven Great Sages Rishi of the current Manvantara (seventh). He was one of the Maharishis of Vedic times, known to have been the discoverer of Mantras --...

      . Differences between Hindus and Buddhists have been minimal in Nepal due to the cultural and historical intermingling of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. Morever traditionally Buddhism and Hinduism were never two distinct religions in the western sense of the word. In Nepal, the faiths share common temples and worship common deities. Among other natives of Nepal, those more influenced by Hinduism were the Magar, Sunwar
      Sunwar
      Sunuwar or Sunwar are one of the indigenous peoples of Nepal and some areas in India. The tribe is influenced by Hinduism. They speak the Sunuwar language...

      , Limbu
      Limbu people
      The Yakthung or Limbu tribes and clans belong to the Kirati nation or to the Kirat confederation.They are indigenous to the hill and mountainous regions of east Nepal between the Arun and Mechi rivers to as far as Southern Tibet, Bhutan and Sikkim....

       and Rai
      Rai (ethnic group)
      The Rai are one of Nepal's most ancient indigenous ethnolinguistic groups. They were Raya meaning king. Once someone was recognized as a ruler then Hindus awarded the title Raja, Rai, Raya, Malla etc. When the king Pritivi Narayan Shah couldn't defeat Kirant king , he somehow took them in...

       and the Gurkhas. Hindu influence is less prominent among the Gurung
      Gurung
      The Gurung people, also called Tamu, are an ethnic group that migrated from Mongolia in the 6th century to the central region of Nepal. Gurungs, like other east Asian featured peoples of Nepal such as Sherpa, Tamang, Thakali, Magar, Manaaggi, Mustaaggi, and Walunggi, are the indigenous people of...

      , Bhutia
      Bhutia
      The Bhutia are ethnic Tibetans who speak Sikkimese, a Tibetan dialect fairly mutually intelligible to standard Tibetan. In 2001, the Bhutia numbered around 70,300...

      , and Thakali
      Thakali
      The Thakali are ethnolinguistic group originated from the Thak Khola region of the Mustang District in the Dhaulagiri zone of Nepal. Thakali, like Mutanggi their ancestors, culture and traditions are traced back to ancient himalayan region...

       groups who employ Buddhist monks for their religious ceremonies. Most of the festivals in Nepal are Hindu. The Machendrajatra festival, dedicated to Hindu Shaiva
      Shaivism
      Shaivism is one of the four major sects of Hinduism, the others being Vaishnavism, Shaktism and Smartism. Followers of Shaivism, called "Shaivas," and also "Saivas" or "Saivites," revere Shiva as the Supreme Being. Shaivas believe that Shiva is All and in all, the creator, preserver, destroyer,...

       Siddha
      Siddha
      A Siddha सिद्ध in Sanskrit means "one who is accomplished" and refers to perfected masters who, according to Hindu belief, have transcended the ahamkara , have subdued their minds to be subservient to their Awareness, and have transformed their bodies into a different kind of body dominated by...

      , is celebrated by many Buddhists in Nepal as a main festival. As it is believed that Ne Muni established Nepal, some important priests in Nepal are called "Tirthaguru Nemuni".

      Islam
      Islam in Nepal
      Islam is a minority religion in Nepal. According to the 2001 Nepal census, 4.27% of the population are Muslim.Islam is thought to have been introduced by Indian Muslims settling in Nepal....

       is a minority religion in Nepal, with 4.2 % of the population being Muslim according to a 2006 Nepalese
      Nepali people
      Nepali people can refer to:*People of Nepal*Ethnic Nepalis of Indian citizenry residing in Gorkhaland area of West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and other parts of India.* Indian Gorkhas*Lhotshampas of Bhutan.*Nepali diaspora the world over....

       census. Mundhum
      Kirant Mundhum
      Kirat Mundhum is the religion of the Kirat people of Nepal. The practice is also known as Kirat Veda, Kirat Veda, Kirat-Ko Veda or Kirat Koved. According to some scholars, such as Tom Woodhatch, it is a blend of animism , Saivite Hinduism, and Tibetan Buddhism...

      , Christianity
      Christianity
      Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

       and Jainism
      Jainism
      Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

       are other minority faiths.

      Education


      About two thirds of female adults and one third of male adults are illiterate. Net primary enrollment rate was 74% in 2005. It is currently at about 90%. In 2009 the World Bank
      World Bank
      The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

       has decided to contribute a further $130 million towards meeting Nepal's Education for All goals. Nepal has several universities.

      Largest cities


      The 10 largest cities (by population)
      1. Kathmandu (Pop.: 989,273 )
      2. Pokhara (Pop.: 200,000)
      3. Patan (Pop.: 183,310)
      4. Biratnagar (Pop.: 182,324)
      5. Birgunj (Pop.: 133,238)
      6. Dharan Bazar (Pop.: 108,600)
      7. Bharatpur (Pop.: 107,157)
      8. Janakpur (Pop.: 93,767)
      9. Dhangadhi (Pop.: 92,294)
      10. Butwal (Pop.: 91,733)

      Culture


      A typical Nepalese meal is dal-bhat-tarkari. Dal is a spicy lentil soup, served over bhat (boiled rice), served with tarkari (curried vegetables) together with achar (pickles) or chutni (spicy condiment made from fresh ingredients). The Newar
      Newar
      The Newa , Newār or Newāl) are the indigenous people and the creators of the historical civilization of Nepal's Kathmandu Valley. The valley and surrounding territory have been known from ancient times as Nepal Mandala, its limits ever changing through history.Newas have lived in the Kathmandu...

       community, however, has its own unique cuisine. It consists of non-vegetarian as well as vegetarian items served with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Mustard oil is the cooking medium and a host of spices, such as cumin, coriander, black peppers, sesame seeds, turmeric, garlic, ginger, methi (fenugreek), bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, chillies, mustard seeds, etc., are used in the cooking. The cuisine served on festivals is generally the best.

      The Newari Music orchestra consists mainly of percussion instruments, though wind instruments, such as flutes and other similar instruments, are also used. String instruments are very rare. There are songs pertaining to particular seasons and festivals. Paahan chare music is probably the fastest played music whereas the Dapa the slowest. There are certain musical instruments such as Dhimay and Bhusya which are played as instrumental only and are not accompanied with songs. The dhimay music is the loudest one. In the hills, people enjoy their own kind of music, playing saarangi (a string instrument), madal and flute. They also have many popular folk songs known as lok geet and lok dohari.

      The Newar dances can be broadly classified into masked dances and non-masked dances. The most representative of Newari dances is Lakhey
      Lakhey
      Lakhey is a famous character in Newar culture[]. It is a demon character popularized by its drunken dance accompanied by "pulukishi".Lakhey is a saviour of children....

       dance. Almost all the settlements of Newaris organise Lakhey dance at least once a year, mostly in the Goonlaa month. So, they are called Goonlaa Lakhey. However, the most famous Lakhey dance is the Majipa Lakhey
      Majipa Lakhey
      Majipa Lakhey is a special Lakhey. He is also known as the peaceful Bhairav. The dance of this lakhey takes place only in the week of full moon of Yenlaa month of Nepal Sambat. This lakhey is considered to be the protector of the children...

       dance; it is performed by the Ranjitkar
      Ranjitkar
      Ranjitkar is one of the castes of Newar. The Newari caste system is divided according to profession...

      s of Kathmandu and the celebration continues for the entire week that contains the full moon of Yenlaa month. The Lakhey are considered to be the saviors of children.

      Folklore is an integral part of Nepalese society. Traditional stories are rooted in the reality of day-to-day life, tales of love, affection and battles as well as demons and ghosts and thus reflect local lifestyles, cultures and beliefs. Many Nepalese folktales are enacted through the medium of dance and music.

      The Nepali year begins in mid-April and is divided into 12 months. Saturday is the official weekly holiday. Main annual holidays include the National Day, celebrated on the birthday of the king (28 December), Prithvi Jayanti (11 January), Martyr's Day (18 February), and a mix of Hindu and Buddhist festivals such as dashain in autumn, and tihar in late autumn. During tihar, the Newar community also celebrates its New Year as per their local calendar Nepal Sambat
      Nepal Sambat
      Nepal Sambat is the national lunar calendar of Nepal. It was used throughout Medieval Nepal, and into early modern Nepal, until Chandra Sumsher decided to remove it in BS 1960. It was started in 880 AD during the reign of King Raghav Dev to commemorate the payment of all the debts of Nepalese...

      .

      Most houses in rural lowland of Nepal are made up of a tight bamboo framework and walls of a mud and cow-dung mix. These dwellings remain cool in summer and retain warmth in winter. Houses in the hills are usually made of unbaked bricks with thatch or tile roofing. At high elevations construction changes to stone masonry and slate may be used on roofs.

      Nepal's flag
      Flag of Nepal
      The national flag of Nepal is the world's only national flag that is non-quadrilateral in shape. The flag is a simplified combination of two single pennons, the vexillological word for a pennant. Its crimson red is the colour of the rhododendron, the country's national flower. Red is also the sign...

       is the only national flag in the world that is not rectangular in shape. According to its official description, the red in the flag stands for victory in war or courage, and is also color of the rhododendron
      Rhododendron
      Rhododendron is a genus of over 1 000 species of woody plants in the heath family, most with showy flowers...

      , the national flower of Nepal. Red also stands for aggression. The flag's blue border signifies peace. The curved moon on the flag is a symbol of the peaceful and calm nature of Nepalese, while the sun represents the aggressiveness of Nepalese warriors.

      External links


      of the Government of Nepal
      Government of Nepal
      The Government of Nepal, or Nepal Government, is the executive body and the Central government of Nepal. Prior to the abolition of Monarchy in Nepal, was officially known as His Majesty's Government....