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Kathmandu Pokhara Chitwan Nagarkot Dhulikhel
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Nepal Intro
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Nepal Currency
1 USD = 79.00 NPR
1 EUR = 100.06 NPR
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19:44 on Tuesday
October 17, 2017
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Home > Nepal Hotels > Nepal Intro


Nepal Travel Guide - with Wired Destinations

     

Discount Hotels in Nepal : Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan, Nagarkot, Dhulikhel

 

Nepal

The diverse geography of Nepal lends itself to a wide range of cultures and the capital city, Kathmandu, is where they blend to form a national identity. The Kathmandu Valley, comprised of the cities Lalitpur, Kathmandu and Bhaktapur, has served as the country's cultural focus since the unification of Nepal in the eighteenth century by Late King Prithvi Narayan Shah from Gorkha. A prominent factor in a citizen's everyday life is religion. The natives of Nepal still follow age-old customs of Hindu and Buddhist religious practices. Colourful festivals are celebrated throughout the year with much pomp and ceremony. It is said that Nepal has more festivals than there are days in a year.


Nepal covers a span of 147,181 sq. kilometres ranging in altitude from 70 meters to 8,848 meters. Soaring mountains, rolling hills, valleys and plains dominate the geography of a landlocked Nepal that extends from the Himalayan range in the north to the Indo-Gangetic lowlands in south. Mt. Everest, the highest point of the Himalayas is in Nepal. Physical features also include rice paddy terraces, wind-swept deserts, dense forests and marshy grasslands. The country is endowed with perennial rivers, lakes and glacial lakes that originate in the Himalayas. The variety of Nepal's topography provides refuge for tigers, rhinos, monkeys, bears, yaks, leopards and numerous species of birds. The country has managed to preserve some endangered wildlife species of Asia in its extensive parks and protected natural habitats.

Along with the thrills of outdoor adventure, Nepal also offers city fun for its visitors. Visitors can choose from a potpourri of amusements: partake in cultural shows that include theatre and local art; wine and dine at premier hotels that provide excellent service; enjoy music and dance at newly-opened discotheques; try their luck at rummy or blackjack in one of the casinos; enjoy a game of golf in Himalyan serenity; or just watch a movie as a cozy twosome in a movie theatre.

A taste of Nepalese culture is found in the ethnic ambience of local restaurants that serve authentic Nepalese food. Art galleries and museums of the Valley exhibiting cultural treasures are also among preferred tourist choices. Health clubs and gymnasiums are available for sports lovers. While latest Nepalese and Hindi movies run in most movie theatres, there is a theatre in Kathmandu that runs good English movies. Video and DVD stores offer a wide range of choices.

Faith is everywhere! Buddha is widely worshipped by both the Buddhists and Hindus of Nepal. Hindu Nepalese worship the ancient Vedic gods. Female deities are revered and feared in this Himalayan Kingdom. Their Shakti cult aspires to appease the dynamic element in the female counterpart of Shiva. Many temples in Nepal are dedicated to Shakti. Kumara, the virgin goddess, also represents Shakti. Other popular deities are Ganesh for luck, Saraswati for knowledge, Lakshmi for wealth and Hanuman for protection. Krishna, believed to be the human incarnation of Lord Vishnu is also worshipped.

Pilgrimage sites of Nepal like Muktinath and Gosainkunda make popular trekking destinations. Each temple is attached to a legend or belief that glorifies the miraculous powers of its deity. Kathmandu Valley is home to the famous Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhu Stupa and several other famous temples among the hundreds located in and around the valley. Nepal is also the Gateway to Kailash Mansarovar, the mythical abode of Lord Shiva. Of the many historical sites in Nepal eight have been listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Cultural Sites. Among the eight, seven are in Kathmandu Valley, while one is outside the Valley at Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha.

An adventurer's delight, Nepal offers a plethora of outdoor activities, from paragliding near the mountains to watching for the Royal Bengal tiger in Chitwan's wilderness. Adventure tourism in Nepal dates back to the first attempts to ascend the world's highest peak, Mt. Everest, fifty years ago. Trekking and mountain climbing are still the most popular sport among visitors. Rafting on white water mountain streams is equally popular. Jungle safari in the Terai is preferred by visitors keen to see Nepal's rare varieties of animals and birds. Nepal also offers bungee jumping above the wild waters of the river Bhote Koshi. Expeditions to explore the rugged surrounding landscapes are another option at this site. Aerial activities include taking off in ultra light aircraft or hot-air balloons for spectacular views of the mountains. Mountain flights offer the closest possible vantage point of Mt. Everest and other peaks. Close encounters with the tallest mountains of the earth often draws awe-stricken silence from participants.

The population of Nepal was recorded to be about 25 million as of July 2002. Eighty-six percent of Nepalese follow Hinduism, eight percent follow Buddhism and three percent follow Islam. The population comprises various groups of differing races which are further divided into different castes. The distinction in caste and ethnicity is understood more easily with a view of the customary framework of the population.

Some of the main groups are: Gurungs and Magars who live mainly in the western region; Rais, Limbus and Sunwars who live in the eastern mid hills; Sherpas, Manangpas and Lopas who live near the mountains of Everest, Annapurna and Mustang respectively; Newars who live in and around the capital valley of Kathmandu; Tharus, Yadavas, Satar, Rajvanshis and Dhimals who live in the Terai region; and the Brahmins, Chhetris and Thakuris who are generally spread over all parts of the country.

The diversity in Nepal in terms of ethnicity, provides for a multiplicity of customs. Although some customs have simply been converted to habits without thought, ancient texts justify them with far-fetched reasons, sometimes making sense and sometimes not. Most of these customs go back to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions.

Among them, the rules of marriage are particularly interesting. In traditional families marriage deals are arranged by parents after the boy or girl come of age. Child marriage and polygamy that were once upheld and accepted with glee are no longer allowed by law. Nevertheless, these customs are still carried out in some parts of Nepal.

Nepalese do not eat beef. There are several reasons for this, one being that the Hindus worship the cow. The cow is also the national animal of Nepal. Buffalo meat is a good substitute but is only eaten by a certain section of the population.

Another interesting concept among Nepalese is the division of pure and impure. 'Jutho,' referring to food or material that contains another's saliva, is considered impure by Nepalese. Nepalese consider cow dung to be pure for cleaning purposes. During menstruation women are considered impure and hence, are kept in seclusion until their fourth day purification bath.

All in all, Nepal is sure to intrigue and inspire visitors who venture to this remarkable country.


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