Country Info

 

Introduction
The Nepal Himalaya has always been known as "the abode of the Gods". Many of the primordial history, religion, culture and tradition as well as legends and myths emanate from the awesome Himalaya. The Nepal Himalaya harbors many holy Temple and Shrines, Monasteries and sacred lakes in the wilderness and remote parts of the region. These sites are frequently visited by pilgrims. It is a land of piety and stillness.

The Himalayas is the youngest and highest mountain chain on earth. A full third of its stretches - the formidable Great Himalayan Range of 800 km. Lies within the Nepal Himalaya. It has convergence of 1310 magnificent peaks of 6000 meters, including 8 of the world's highest 14 peaks of 8000 meters. Nestling in the rain shadows of these unique vistas of soaring summits unravel a profusion of lofty foothills, the home of the many Nepalese who delight in warm hospitality and friendship. These verdant terraced hill meander down to lush green valleys with turbulent rivers and to the tropical lowland and jungles teeming with countless wildlife.

In this immensely diverse and undulating topography, varied climate and mix of people Nepal combines to produce a magical attraction for outsiders. Many foreign visitors come to trek one or more beautiful trekking regions. To trek, one does not have to be bizarre, neither a mountaineer nor an athlete. Anyone with a pair of strong legs and the spirit for adventure to explore the exotic will enjoy the thrills of trekking in the hills of Nepal. Walking in the interior of the country follows ancient foot trails which meander through the scenic river banks, intricately terraced fields and the forested ridges connecting picturesque hamlets and mountain villages. These highly developed and well defined trails have been used for centuries and are the hive of activities to come in contact with the locals.

For visitors on extended holidays and with less restraint, there is an even more varied spectrum of adventure - be it rafting on the sparkling rivers, safaris in the jungles, trekking to explore deeper into the alpine valley with perpetual snow and glistering glaciers. The more intrepid traveler may venture further up to scale any of the 18 minor trekking peaks.

Background
In 1951, the Nepalese monarch ended the century-old system of rule by hereditary premiers and instituted a cabinet system of government. Reforms in 1990 established a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. An insurgency led by Maoist extremists broke out in 1996. The ensuing ten-year civil war between insurgents and government forces witnessed the dissolution of the cabinet and parliament and assumption of absolute power by the king. Several weeks of mass protests in April 2006 were followed by several months of peace negotiations between the Maoists and government officials, and culminated in a November 2006 peace accord and the promulgation of an interim constitution. Following a nation-wide election in April 2008, the newly formed Constituent Assembly declared Nepal a federal democratic republic and abolished the monarchy at its first meeting the following month. The Constituent Assembly elected the country's first president in July. The Maoists, who received a plurality of votes in the Constituent Assembly election, formed a coalition government in August 2008.  

Geography   
Location:   Southern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates:   28 00 N, 84 00 E
Map references:   Asia
Area:    total: 147,181 sq km
Land: 143,181 sq km
Water: 4,000 sq km
Land boundaries:   total: 2,926 km
border countries: China 1,236 km, India 1,690 km
Coastline:   0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:  none (landlocked)
Climate:  varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south
Terrain:  Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north

Elevation extremes:  
Lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m
Highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m
Natural resources:   Quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore

Land use  
arable land:     16.07%
permanent crops:    0.85%
other:      83.08% (2005)  
Irrigated land:      11,700 sq km (2003)  
Total renewable water resources:    210.2 cu km (1999)  
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):  
Total: 10.18 cu km/yr (3%/1%/96%)
Per capita: 375 cu m/yr (2000)  
Natural hazards:  
severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons
Environment - current issues:  
deforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives); contaminated water (with human and animal wastes, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluents); wildlife conservation; vehicular emissions

Environment - international agreements:  

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note:  
landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of world''''s 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga - the world''''s tallest and third tallest - on the borders with China and India respectively

People    
Population:    28,563,377 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure:  
0-14 years: 36.6% (male 5,327,484/female 5,127,178)
15-64 years: 59.2% (male 8,094,494/female 8,812,675)
65 years and over: 4.2% (male 566,666/female 634,880) (2009 est.)
Median age:  
total: 20.8 years
male: 19.8 years
female: 21.7 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:    1.281% (2009 est.)
Birth rate:    29.92 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:    8.97 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:    -3.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)

Sex ratio: 
 
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.89 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2009 est.)

Infant mortality rate:   
total: 47.46 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 47.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 47.52 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   
total population: 65.46 years
male: 64.3 years
female: 66.67 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate:    2.64 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:    0.5% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:    70,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:    5,000 (2007 est.)

Nationality:  
noun: Nepalese (singular and plural)
adjective: Nepalese

Ethnic groups:   Chhettri 15.5%, Brahman-Hill 12.5%, Magar 7%, Tharu 6.6%, Tamang 5.5%, Newar 5.4%, Muslim 4.2%, Kami 3.9%, Yadav 3.9%, other 32.7%, unspecified 2.8% (2001 census)

Religions:   Hindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9% (2001 census)

note: only official Hindu state in the world

Languages:   Nepali 47.8%, Maithali 12.1%, Bhojpuri 7.4%, Tharu (Dagaura/Rana) 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.6%, Magar 3.3%, Awadhi 2.4%, other 10%, unspecified 2.5% (2001 census)

note: many in government and business also speak English (2001 est.)

Literacy:  
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 48.6%
male: 62.7%
female: 34.9% (2001 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):  
total: 9 years
male: 10 years
female: 8 years (2003)  
Education expenditures:    3.4% of GDP (2003)  

Government

COUNTRY 
conventional long form: Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
conventional short form: Nepal
local long form: Sanghiya Loktantrik Ganatantra Nepal
local short form: Nepal
Government type:   federal democratic republic
Capital:   Kathmandu
Administrative divisions:   14 zones (anchal, singular and plural); Bagmati, Bheri, Dhawalagiri, Gandaki, Janakpur, Karnali, Kosi, Lumbini, Mahakali, Mechi, Narayani, Rapti, Sagarmatha, Seti
Independence:   1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan SHAH)
National holiday:   Republic Day, 29 May; Democracy Day, 24 April
Constitution:   15 January 2007 (interim Constitution); note - in April 2008, a Constituent Assembly was elected to draft and promulgate a new constitution by May 2010  
Legal system:  
based on Hindu legal concepts and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage:   18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:  
chief of state: President Ram Baran YADAV (as of 23 July 2008); Vice President Paramananda JHA (as of 23 July 2008)
Head of government: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal DAHAL (as of 18 August 2008); Deputy Prime Minister Bamdev GAUTAM
cabinet: cabinet formed in August 2008 by a majority coalition made up of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist-Leninist, Madhesi People''''s Rights Forum, and several smaller parties
elections: president elected by Parliament; term extends until the new constitution is promulgated; election last held 21 July 2008;(date of next election NA)
election results: Ram Baran YADAV elected president by the Constituent Assembly in a second round of voting on 21 July 2008; Ram Baran YADAV 308, Ram Jaja Prasad SINGH 282