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September 26th, 2013 

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Travel and Explore Nepal

Discover  Nepal



 Located in South Asia, Nepal is a mountainous country surrounded on the east, west, and south by India, and bounded to the north by the People’s Republic of China. Nepal has eight of the world’s ten highest mountains, including the record-holding Mount Everest, known in Nepali as Sagarmatha. Not only is Nepal’s physical terrain home to unimaginable heights, but so too is its spiritual terrain, being the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, founder of the Buddhist tradition. He was born into a royal family in the 6th century BC, but shed his princely title to lead a simple life, eventually attaining enlightenment.

 Nepal’s physical and spiritual realms reach skyward, while its history reaches back, far into a distant past. Inhabitation began during the Neolithic age in the Kathmandu Valley, where stone tools dating to that period have been found. What eventually became Nepal took root around 1000 BC as a collection of clans and small kingdoms. Further consolidation occurred when the Mauryan Empire of northern India took control in 250 BC. From the 4th Century AD until the 11th century, rule changed numerous times, passing from the Gupta Empire, to the Licchavis, to the Newari. Next was the Chalukaya Empire from India, a period when Buddhism lost favor to Hinduism. Nepal moved into its Medieval period during the 12thcentury, when Malla kings emerged to consolidate their power; unified rule followed in the 14th century. However, by century’s end that unity fractured into the kingdoms of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. Finally on December 21, 1768 the rivalry was ended by King Prithvi Narayan Shah whose efforts unified Nepal, ushering in its modern era as a nation.

 From 1815 to 1816 conflict returned with the Anglo-Nepalese War. A determined Nepalese impressed their British foes with their fighting, yet the war ended with Nepal ceding territory to Great Britain. The mood changed again in 1923 when the United Kingdom recognized Nepal’s independence. Constitutional reforms occurred between 1972 and 2001, establishing a multi-party parliament system. However, 2001 was met with upheaval within the monarchy, and in 2006 King Gyanendra relinquished his throne, ceding sovereign power to the Nepalese people. On May 28, 2008 the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal became the world’s most recent federal republic.



 Spanning five climatic regions, the approximately 145 thousand square kilometers of Nepal support a population of 29 million. Nepali is the country’s official tongue, but linguistic diversity is demonstrated by the use of over 100 different indigenous languages. Hinduism is practiced by the vast majority, yet there are also devotees to Buddhism, Islam, Mundhum, and Christianity. Nepal’s rich past is evident in Kathmandu, its capital and largest city, popular as the gateway to the Himalayas. Kathmandu’s many points of interest include a plethora of temples, stupas, and palaces. Of particular interest are the Kasthamandap or ‘wooden house” in Durbar Square, a site that dates to 1000 AD; the Swayambhu stupa which is sacred to Buddhists; and the Narayanhiti Palace Museum, constructed in the 18th century by the Shah dynasty.

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