Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. With an area of 147,181 square kilometres (56,827 sq mi) and a population of approximately 27 million, Nepal is the world's 93rd largest country by land mass and the 41st most populous country. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. Specifically, the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Sikkim border Nepal, while across the Himalayas lies the Tibetan. Nepal is separated from Bangladesh by the narrow Indian Siliguri corridor. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and largest metropolis.
local legends say that a Hindu sage 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 pali) by the sage "Ne". According to the Skanda Purana, 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.
Nepali Language Origin
Nepal Bhasa words appeared in Sanskrit inscriptions in the Kathmandu Valley for the first time in the fifth century. Inscriptions in Nepal Bhasa emerged from the 12th century, the palm-leaf manuscript from Uku Bahah being the first example. By the 14th century, Nepal Bhasa had become an administrative language as shown by the official proclamations and public notices written in it.
Brief History of Nepal
Prithivi Narayan Shah
Ancient Nepal consisted of many small autonomous states. King Prithivi Narayan Shah unified modern Nepal by bringing these small states together into one nation in 1769. Since then, Kathmandu has been the capital of Nepal. After the Anglo-Nepali War (1814-1816), Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana greatly expanded his powers and established the Rana lineage of hereditary Prime Ministers who ruled Nepal until 1951, when the late King Tribhuvan led a popular revolution which put an end to the Rana autocracy. In 1959, the first general election was held and the parliamentary government was set up for a short period. Nepal experienced the liberal Panchayat system for three decades.
The popular people's movement welcomed the new era of democracy in 1990. A new constitution was written to secure the sovereignty of the people and a democratic political system with constitutional monarchy was established.
Nepal experienced a dark period in its history after the Communist Party of Nepal (Moist) began a violent insurgency throughout the nation in 1996. About 13,000 people: civilian, police and insurgents have been killed during the period.
The royal massacre on June 1, 2001 killed the royal family including their relatives in which only the family of Gyanendra, brother of King Birendra, survived. After the two days of incident Gyanendra was established as new king of Nepal.
A coalition government formed after the movement. An agreement was made for the monarchy to be abolished and the country to become a federal republic with the Prime Minister becoming head of the state. The constituent assembly election held in April, 2008 and officially a federal republic was established in Nepal in May 2008 by the assembly.
Dr. Ram Baran Yadhav becomes the first president of Federal Republic of Nepal. And currently, the peace keeping process, new constitution drafting and reintegration of former moist combatants are underway.
(Nepal enjoys the glory of always being a sovereign and independent country. It has never been under foreign domination.)
According to 2011 census, Nepal's population grew from 9 million people in 1950 to 26.5 million in 2011. At the time of the 1981 census, the population was 15 million and the average family was made up of 5.8 persons. The population was 23 million in 2001 with a subsequent family size decline from 5.44 to 4.9 from 2001–2011. Some 1.9 million absentee population was noted in 2011, over a million more than in 2001, most being male workers. This correlated with the drop in sex ratio from 94.41 as compared to 99.80 for 2001. The annual population growth rate is 1.35%.
The Nepalese are descendants of three major migrations from India, Tibet, and North Burma and the Chinese province of Yunnan via Assam. 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 of the Kathmandu Valley and aboriginal Tharu in the southern Terai region. The ancestors of the Brahmin and Chetri caste groups came from India's present Kumaon, Garhwal and Kashmir regions, while other ethnic groups trace their origins to North Burma and Yunnan and Tibet, e.g. the Gurung and Magar in the west, Rai and Limbu in the east (from Yunnan and north Burma via Assam), and Sherpa and Bhutia in the north (from Tibet).
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 over 2.6 million (metropolitan area: 5 million), is the largest city in the country.
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Nepal is of roughly trapezoidal shape, 800 kilometres (497 mi) long and 200 kilometres (124 mi) wide, with an area of 147,181 km2 (56,827 sq mi). See List of territories by size for the comparative size of Nepal. It lies between latitudes 26° and 31°N, and longitudes 80° and 89°E. Nepal is commonly divided into three physiographic areas: Mountain, Hill and Terai.
Nepal is topographically divided into three regions: the Himalaya to the north, the middle hills consisting of the Mahabharat range and the Churia Hills, and the Terai to the south. The Himalaya and its foothills make up the northern border of the country and represent 16% of the total land area. This is the least inhabited region of Nepal, with less than 8% of the population living there. Most permanent settlements are at less than 4000m altitude, although there are summer settlements as high as 5000m.
The middle hills cover about 65% of the total land area and are home to around 45% of the population of the country. This area is the home of the ancient ethnic people of Nepal. The climate is very good and most of lakes and beautiful valleys are located in the middle hills. Areas in the eastern hills receive most rainfall because of the monsoon clouds, which come from the Bay of Bengal. The middle hills provide a very good habitat for wild life, such as leopard, deer, bear, monkeys, butterflies and over four hundred indigenous species of birds.
The Terai is the southern part of Nepal. It covers 17% of the total land area, providing excellent farming land as well as space for large industrial areas. Until 1950, the Terai was predominantly an area of heavily malarial sub-tropical forest, inhabited only by the Royal Bengal tiger, leopard, wild boar, several species of deer, one-horned rhino, wild elephant and gharial and mugger crocodiles. But after the eradication of malaria in the 1960s, many people from the middle hills migrated to the Terai in search of farming land. Today, about 48% of the population occupies this region.
Nepal experiences five seasons: summer, monsoon, autumn, winter and spring. The Himalaya blocks cold winds from Central Asia 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, having 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.
The dramatic differences in elevation found in Nepal result in a variety of biomes, from tropical savannas along the Indian border, to subtropical broadleaf and coniferous forests in the Hill Region, to temperate broadleaf and coniferous forests on the slopes of the Himalaya, to montane grasslands and shrub lands and rock and ice at the highest elevations.
At the lowest elevations is the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands ecoregion. These form a mosaic with the Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests, which occur from 500 to 1,000 metres (1,600 to 3,300 ft) and include the Inner Terai Valleys. Himalayan subtropical pine forests occur between 1,000 and 2,000 metres (3,300 and 6,600 ft).
Above these elevations, the biogeography 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 1,500 to 3,000 metres (4,900 to 9,800 ft), are temperate broadleaf forests: the eastern and western Himalayan broadleaf forests. From 3,000 to 4,000 metres (9,800 to 13,000 ft) are the eastern and western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests. To 5,500 metres (18,000 ft) are the eastern and western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows.
Nepal is a multi-party system federal republic. The Interim Constitution of Nepal, 2063 has defined three organs of the government.
• Executive: The executive power of Nepal is vested in the Council of Ministers. The responsibility of issuing general directives, controlling and regulating the administration of Nepal lies in the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister of Nepal is the head of the Government. The Prime Minister appoints the Ministers. While appointing Ministers, the Prime Minister shall appoint them, on the recommendation of the concerned political party, from amongst the members of the Legislature-Parliament.
• Legislative: The Legislature-Parliament of Nepal is unicameral. Constituent assembly is working as the legislature of Nepal at present. The legislature is composed of 601 members. Among them, 240 members are directly elected by the people from 240 constituencies. 335 members are elected through proportional basis and 26 members are nominated by the cabinet. All the bills are presented in the parliament. After passing the bills by the majority. After his approval, it becomes the law. In this way, all the laws are made in the parliament. The legislative controls over the finance of the country. Legislative passes the annual budget according to which the government spends money in various tasks. Legislative can raise questions to any work of the government. If the government does not work properly, legislative can withdraw its support and government is dissolved. In this way the legislative has control over the executive.
• Judiciary: The Constitution provides three tiers of Court which include the Supreme Court of Nepal, the Court of Appeal and the District Courts. Supreme Court is the Apex Court. All courts and judicial institutions except the constitutional assembly court, are under the Supreme Court. There is no distinction between Criminal and Civil court except some basic procedures. District Court is the Court of first instance upon which Court of Appeal hear appeal. In addition to these regular courts there is provision in constitution to establish special types of courts or tribunals for the purpose of hearing special types of cases by the law. According to these provisions there are four Revenue Tribunals, one Administrative Court, one Labour Court, one Debt Recovery tribunal and one Debt recovery Appeal Tribunal and one special court are functioning under the respective laws. These institutions are under the judicial control of the Supreme Court. There are 16 Court of Appeal and 15 Districts in Nepal. The Supreme Court is also the ultimate interpreter of the constitution.
An isolated, agrarian society until the mid-20th century, Nepal entered the modern era in 1951 without schools, hospitals, roads, telecommunications, electric power, industry, or civil service. The country has, however, made progress toward sustainable economic growth since the 1950s and is committed to a program of economic liberalization.
NNepal has used a series of five-year plans in an attempt to make progress in economic development. It completed its ninth economic development plan in 2002; its currency has been made convertible, and 17 state enterprises have been privatized. Foreign aid accounts for more than half of the development budget. Government priorities over the years have been the development of transportation and communication facilities, agriculture, and industry. Since 1975, improved government administration and rural development efforts have been emphasized.
Agriculture remains Nepal's principal economic activity, employing 70% of the population and providing 37% of GDP. Only about 20% of the total area is cultivable; another 33% is forested; most of the rest is mountainous. Rice and wheat are the main food crops. The lowland Terai region produces an agricultural surplus, part of which supplies the food-deficient hill
Economic development in social services and infrastructure has not made dramatic progress due to GDP dependency on India. A countrywide primary education system is under development, and Tribhuvan University has several campuses. Please see Education in Nepal for further details. Although eradication efforts continue, malaria had been controlled in the fertile but previously uninhabitable Terai region in the south. Kathmandu is linked to India and nearby hill regions by road and an expanding highway network. The capital was almost out of fuel and transport of supplies caused by a crippling general strike in southern Nepal on February 17, 2008.
Major towns are connected to the capital by telephone and domestic air services. The export-oriented carpet and garment industries have grown rapidly in recent years and together now account for approximately 70% of merchandise exports.
The Cost of Living Index in Nepal is comparatively lower than many countries but not the least. The quality of life has declined to much less desirous value in recent years. Nepal was ranked 54th worst of 81 ranked countries (those with GHI > 5.0) on the Global Hunger Index in 2011, between Cambodia and Togo. Nepal's current score of 19.9 is better than in 2010 (20.0) and much improved than its score of 27.5 in 1990.
Currently the overall literacy rate (for population aged 5 years and above) has increased from 54.1% in 2001 to 65.9% in 2011. Male literacy rate is 75.1% compared to female literacy rate of 57.4%. The highest literacy rate is reported in Kathmandu district (86.3%) and lowest in Rautahat (41.7%). While the net primary enrolment rate was 74% in 2005 in 2009, that enrolment rate was at 90%. However increasing access to secondary education (grades 9-12) remains a major challenge, as evidenced by the disturbingly low net enrolment rate of 24% at this level. More than half of primary students do not enter secondary schools, and only one-half of them complete secondary schooling. In addition, fewer girls than boys join secondary schools and, among those who do join, fewer complete the 10th grade Nepal has six universities: Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu University, Pokhara University, Purbanchal University, Mahendra Sanskrit University, and the Agriculture and Forestry University of Nepal (AFU). Some newly proposed universities are Lumbini Buddha University, Mid-Western University, and Far-Western University. Some fine scholarship has emerged in the post-1990 era.
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 Swanti, the Newars perform the Mha Puja ceremony to celebrate New Year's Day of the lunar calendar Nepal Sambat.
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 is the only national flag in the world that is not rectangular in shape and is considered to be the most mathematical flag in the world. According to its official description, the red in the flag stands for victory in war or courage, and is also color of the rhododendron, 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.
Nepal was declared a secular country by the Parliament on May 18, 2006. Religions practiced in Nepal are: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism, Bon, ancestor worship and animism. The majority of Nepali are either Hindus or Buddhism. The two have co-existed in harmony through centuries.
Buddha is widely worshipped by both Buddhists and Hindus of Nepal. The five Dhyani Buddhas; Vairochana, Akshobhaya, Rathasambhava, Amitabha and Amoghasiddhi, represent the five basic elements: earth, fire, water, air and ether. Buddhist philosophy conceives these deities to be the manifestations of Sunya or absolute void. Mahakaala and Bajrayogini are Vajrayana Buddhist deities worshipped by Hindus as well.
Hindu Nepali worship the ancient Vedic gods. Bramha the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer, are worshipped as the Supreme Hindu Trinity. People pray to the Shiva Linga or the phallic symbol of Lord Shiva in most Shiva temples. Shakti, the dynamic element in the female counterpart of Shiva, is highly revered and feared. Mahadevi, Mahakali, Bhagabati, Ishwari are some of the names given. Kumari, 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 widely. Hindu holy scripts Bhagawat Gita, Ramayan and Mahabharat are widely read in Nepal. Vedas, Upanishads and other holy scriptures are read by well learned Brahmin Pundits during special occasions.
The diversity in Nepal in terms of ethnicity again makes room for various sets of customs. Most of these customs go back to the Hindu, Buddhist or other religious traditions. Among them, the rules of marriage are particularly interesting. Traditional marriages call for deals arranged by parents after the boy or girl come of age.
Nepalis do not eat beef. There are several reasons for this, one being that the Hindus worship cow. Cow is also the national animal of Nepal. Another interesting concept among Nepalis is division of pure and impure. “Jutho” referring to food or material touched by another’s mouth directly or indirectly, is considered impure by Nepalis. Nepalis consider cow dung to be pure for cleansing purposes. During menstruation women are considered impure and hence, are kept in seclusion until their fourth day purification bath.Nepal is a patriarchal society. Men usually go out to work while women are homemakers. However, in cities, roles can differ. Most Nepalis abide by the caste system in living habits and marriage. Rural Nepal is mostly agrarian, while some aspects of urban life carry glitz and glamour of the ultra-modern world.
Nepal's diverse linguistic heritage evolved from four major language groups: Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman, Mongolian and various indigenous language isolates. The major languages of Nepal (percent spoken as mother tongue) according to the 2011census are Nepali (44.6%), Maithili (11.7%), Bhojpuri (6.0%), Tharu (5.8%), Tamang (5.1%), Nepal Bhasa (3.2%), Bajjika (3%) andMagar (3.0%), Doteli (3.0%), Urdu (2.6%) and Gurung(1%). In addition, Nepal is home to at least four indigenous sign languages.
Derived from Sanskrit, Nepali has roots in Sanskrit and is written in Devanagari script. Nepali is the official national language and serves as lingua franca among Nepalese of different ethno linguistic groups. Regional dialects Awadhi, Bhojpuri, Maithili and rarely Hindi are spoken in the southern Terai Region. Many Nepalese in government and business speak English as well. Dialects of 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.
Nepal does not have a distinct cooking style. However, food habits differ depending on the region. Nepali food has been influenced by Indian and Tibetan styles of cooking. Authentic Nepali taste is found in Newari and Thakai cuisines. Most Nepalis do not use cutlery but eat with their right hand.The regular Nepali meal is dal (lentil soup), bhat (boiled rice) and tarkari (curried vegetables), often accompanied by achar (pickle). Curried meat is very popular, but is saved for special occasions, as it is relatively more expensive. Momos (steamed or fried dumplings) deserve a mention as one of the most popular snack among Nepalis. Rotis (flat bread) and dhedo (boiled flour) also make meals in some homes.
Nepal cricket team
Association football is the most popular sport in Nepal and was first played during the Rana dynasty in 1921.Despite the popularity and years of playing the game, football in Nepal still has a long way to go. Also, cricket has been gaining popularity since the last decade as it continues to progress in the world scene. Cricket in Nepal is making quick progress as the Nepal cricket team has won the 2012 ICC World Cricket League Division Four and the 2013 ICC World Cricket League Division Three simultaneously hence qualifying for 2014 Cricket World Cup Qualifier.
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