Official Name: Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
Established: 1768 Kingdom of Nepal
Population: 28,095,714 (2018 estimate)
Religion: 81.3% Hinduism, 9% Buddhism, 4.4% Islam
Order of Visit: Sixty-Ninth
First Visit: 13 October2018
Last Visit: 27 October 2018
Duration: 6 Days
Visit Highlights: Kathmandu Streets, Thamel Market, Durbar Square, Sisterhood of Survivors, hiking around Panauti, dancing with Panauti locals, Panauti homestay
Places Visited: Kathmandu, Panauti
Nepal Journal Entries
History and Geography
Nepal covers an area of 147,516 km2 and is landlocked. Nepal is bordered by China (Tibetan region which I visited at the same time) in the north and India in the south, east and west, while Bangladesh is located within only 27 kilometres of its south-eastern tip and Bhutan is located very close as well.
Nepal has a diverse geography, including fertile plains, subalpine forested hills, and eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest (which I visited from the Tibet side), the highest point on Earth. Nepal has five climatic zones; the tropical and subtropical zones lie below 1,200 metres, the temperate zone 1,200 to 2,400 metres, the cold zone 2,400 to 3,600 metres, the subarctic zone 3,600 to 4,400 metres, and the Arctic zone above 4,400 metres. Per capita income is around USD $1,004.
Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born in southern Nepal. Parts of northern Nepal have historically been closely intertwined with the culture of Tibet.
The Gorkha Kingdom achieved the unification of Nepal in the 18th century. The Shah dynasty established the Kingdom of Nepal and later formed an alliance with the British Empire. The country was never colonized but served as a buffer state between Imperial China and British India which it still serves today with modern India and China. Parliamentary democracy was introduced in 1951, but was twice suspended by Nepalese monarchs, in 1960 and 2005. The Nepalese Civil War in the 1990s and early 2000s resulted in the establishment of a secular republic in 2008, ending the world’s last Hindu monarchy.
The Constitution of Nepal, adopted in 2015, affirms Nepal as a secular federal parliamentary republic divided into seven provinces. Nepal was admitted to the United Nations in 1955, and friendship treaties were signed with India in 1950 and the People’s Republic of China in 1960.
The military of Nepal is the fifth largest in South Asia; it is notable for its Gurkha history, particularly during the world wars, and has been a significant contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations.
What I experienced
I was only in Nepal for a short time with the main focus visiting the more restricted Tibet and experience Mount Everest for the other side of the border but it was a worthwhile visit by itself. Nepal is a relatively poor nation and was still recovering from the 2015 earthquake that destroyed a significant part of the workforce.
During my visit Nepal was celebrating the Hindu Dashain Festival (or Blessing Festival) so Kathmandu was flooded with people and goats were not long for this world. In Kathmandu I visited the former Royal Palace in Durbar Square which has many historic buildings and temples.
Also while in Kathmandu I visited the Sisterhood of Survivors which helps the survivors of human trafficking which unfortunately is still a big problem in Nepal. While it’s sad to know human trafficking still occurs at all yet and sadder that it occurs on this scale it is good to see some people standing up and attempting to help this women regain their power.
Despite the short stay in Nepal I did get to experience a little of the countryside while hiking for five hours to Panauti and the homestay there was very enjoyable as was the dancing that night at the local community hall.
A beautiful country with many different climatic zones, with a lot of energy (during the time I visited), some unique architecture and friendly people.