Best Time to Visit in Nepal
The best season to visit in Nepal is after the monsoons that end in August, and before the winter sets in. The months between September and December are the most preferred ones by the visitors. The rains wash the dusty tracks and the valley looks magnificent with blooming flowers. Post -Monsoon Nepal welcomes you with flower-laden plains and brimming rivers. It is humid in plains at that time but it is still better than the scorching heat of the summers.
It is best to visit hilly areas in summers; that is, the month of May and June. The average temperature at that time hovers around 22-25 Celsius. Nights are a bit chilly in the lower Himalayan region but are comfortable. Mountainous areas are extremely unsafe in the Monsoon. The persistent rains make the hilly tracts slippery. The landslides are very common in the monsoons. Again in the post-monsoon months, you can start for the hill tours.
In winters, most of the hilly areas become out of bound due to very heavy snowfall and avalanches. But if you are fond of snowfall then you can opt for lower Himalayan regions that look beautiful in the blankets of snows.
Nepal is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of bio-diversity due to its geographical position and altitude variation. The elevation of the country ranges from 60 metres above sea level to the highest point on earth, Mt. Everest all within a distance of 150 kilometres resulting in climatic conditions from sub-tropical to arctic. This wild variation fosters an incredible variety of ecosystems, including the greatest mountain range on earth which has eight of the world’s fourteen highest mountains, thick tropical jungles teeming with a wealth of wildlife, thundering rivers, forested hills and frozen valleys. Within this spectacular geography is a rich cultural landscape. The country has over forty ethnic groups and sub-groups who speak over 93 languages and dialects. The majority of the population is found in the Kathmandu Valley located in the centre of Nepal and home of three major towns, Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur.
Lying in the heart of the Kathmandu Valley, the modern day capital of Nepal has remained a centre of trade, religion and politics since ancient times. During the 14th Century, the valley was divided into three independent kingdoms; Patan, Bhaktapur and Kathmandu, until the region was invaded and unified to form the nation of Nepal in the late 18th Century. Kathmandu is a treasure trove of mediaeval art, temples and religion, colonial style parks, regal palaces and museums. Standing in the heart of the city are the Royal Palace and Durbar Square, while on the outskirts, two of Nepals’ most distinctive and important stupas stand guard; the Swayambunath Stupa, also known as the “Monkey Temple” and Bodnath Stupa, a centre for the Tibetan culture in Nepal and one of the largest stupas in the world.
Patan, located on the opposite side of the Bagmati River from Kathmandu, once ruled over the whole valley and is now Nepal’s second largest city. You can visit Patan easily on a day trip from Kathmandu – see the traditional Newari houses leaning over narrow old streets, the daily offerings that colour shrines and statues, and the majestic temples and Tibetan monasteries.
Bhaktapur is a charming town located 30 minutes drive northeast of Kathmandu. The entire old town is protected and closed to traffic, making this an ideal place to wander on foot through a rich collection of architecture, mediaeval art, history and everyday life. See the tiny, hand made pots laid out to dry every morning in Potters Square or the local produce market in Taumadhi Tole; exploring Bhaktapur is an unforgettable experience.
Chitwan National Park
The Chitwan region was a favourite spot for game hunting until 1951 and was then declared a national park by the Royal Family in 1973. This is one of the few remaining undisturbed vestiges of the Terai, a low altitude region of grasslands and wetlands, located between the foothills of the Himalayas and the Indian border. This park holds one of the world’s last populations of single-horned Asiatic rhinoceros and is also one of the last refuges of the Bengal tiger.
This small city is spectacular; sitting on the shores of the tranquil Phewa Lake and below some of the worlds tallest and most dramatic mountains. Looking north, you can see the peaks of Dhaulagiri, Manaslu and the Annapurna Range including the remarkable Machapuchare “Fishtail”. Pokhara is a popular place to commence a mountain trek (for the adventurous), as well as a favourite place to just relax, walk and shop.
Nepal covers a span of 147,181 sq. kilometers ranging from altitude of 70 meters to 8,848 meters. Mountains, mid hills, valleys and plains dominate the geography of 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 green paddy terraces, wind-swept deserts, dense forests and marshy grasslands. The country is well endowed with perennial rivers, lakes and glacial lakes that originate in the Himalayas. Twenty percent of the land in the country is used for agriculture, where 0.49 percent is used for permanent crops, mainly rice.
Climatic conditions of Nepal vary from one place to another in accordance with the geographical features. In the north summers are cool and winters severe, while in south summers are sub tropical and winters mild.
The variety in Nepal’s topography provides home to wildlife like tigers, rhinos, monkeys, bears, yaks, leopards and different species of insects and birds, Nepal is a home to almost 10 percent of the world’s bird species among which 500 species are found in the Kathmandu valley.
The country has managed to preserve some endangered species of Asia in its extensive parks and protected natural habitats. The most abundant natural resource in Nepal is water. Other resources found here are quartz, timber, lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore and scenic beauty.
Religion & Festivals:
In Nepal, Hinduism and Buddhism are the two main religions. The two have co-existed down the ages and many Hindu temples share the same complex as, Buddhist shrines. Hindu and Buddhist worshippers may regard the same god with different names while performing religious rites.
Nepal has been declared as a secular country by the Parliament on May 18, 2006. Religions like Hindusim Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, and Bon are practiced here. Some of the earliest inhabitants like the Kirats practice their own kind of religion based on ancestor worship and the Tharus practice animism. Over the years, Hinduism and Buddhism have been influenced by these practices which have been modified to form a synthesis of newer beliefs.
For centuries the Nepal remained divided into many principalities. Kirats ruled in the east, the Newars in the Kathmandu Valley, while Gurungs and Magars occupied the mid-west. The Kirats ruled from 300 BC and during their reign, emperor Ashoka arrived from India to build a pillar at Lumbini in memory of Lord Buddha. The Kirats were followed by the Lichchhavis whose descendants today are believed to be the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley. During this period, art thrived in Nepal and many of the beautiful woodcarvings and sculptures that are found in the country belong to thisera.With the end of the Lichchhavi dynasty, Malla kings came to power in 1200 AD and they also contributed tremendously to Nepal’s art and culture. However, after almost 600 years of rule, the kings were not united among themselves and during the late 18th century, Prithvi Narayan Shah, King of Gorkha, conquered Kathmandu and united Nepal into one kingdom. Recognizing the threat of the British Raj in India, he dismissed European missionaries from the country and for more than a century, Nepal remained in isolation, during the mid-19th century Jung Bahadur Rana became Nepal’s first prime minister to wield absolute power. He set up an oligarchy and the Shah Kings remained figureheads. The Ranas were overthrown in a democracy movement of the early 1950s.
Festivals in Nepal
Nepal is a land of Festivals. For the Nepalese, festivals are not merely the annual spectacles, but also are a living part of their rich cultural heritage. Festivals effectively bind together the Nepalese people of diverse cultural backgrounds and beliefs into one nation. There are more than 50 major festivals in a year celebrated by Nepalese. Although most of these festivals are religious some have historical significance, while others are seasonal celebrations. Most Nepalese festivals are related to different Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses and they are celebrated on such days consecrated for them by religion and tradition.
There are also some festivals which are observed in honor of personal relatives such as festival of Matatirtha (for mothers), Gokarna Ausi (for fathers), Gaijatra (for the ones who are passed away). Some festivals are of national significance such as Dashain, a celebration of Goddess Bhagabati’s victory over evil Mahisashur and Tihar, a celebration of lights dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, and some are confined to the Katmandu Valley, while still others are celebrated only within one or two villages or cities. The dates of most festivals are fixed by famous astrologers after consulting the lunar calendar in Nepal.
Nepali, written in the Devanagari script is the national language. English is widely understood in the urban centers and areas frequented by tourists. Most Nepali people speak more than one language.
People and Culture:
The country of Nepal, nestled into the folds of the Himalayas, is a nation representative of a singular flux of races and religions. ‘Melting Pot’ is a term often used to describe the Nepal People, coalesced and united, despite their racial and religious differences.
The people of Nepal or the Nepalese people live scattered throughout the vales and hilly terrains that feature the geography of the country. The Nepalese add up to a population of 22 million approximately. The Nepal people living in different regions have distinctive social customs and life styles that distinguish them from the other ethnic groups.
The Newars, a group of Nepali people, live mainly in the Kathmmandu valley. The Tamangs live on the outskirts of the Kathmandu valley. The Sherpas inhabit the eastern and central regions of Nepal’s mountains. In the vicinity of the Kali Gandaki River in the northern Nepal live the Thakalis people.
The Midlands of Nepal are populated by the Chhetris and Brahmins. The Tharu people dwell in the Terai region. The Limbus, Magars, Jirels, Chepangs, Rais and Sunwars occupy the middle hills. In the lowland Terai and the Dun valley reside the Danwars, Darais, Rajputs, Rajbansis, Dhangars, Majhis, Dhimals and Statars.
Nepal is a harmonious blend of different ethnic groups who are bonded by their fervent loyalty to the institution of Monarchy. The principle religions of the Nepal people are Buddhism and Hinduism. The inhabitants of Nepal mainly communicate in the Nepali language. However, Nepal people use Newari language predominantly in the Kathmandu valley while Tibetan languages are chiefly in use in the mountains.
Nepal culture is marked for its rich diversity. The culture of Nepal includes music, dance, art forms, literature, religion and architecture in varied forms. Nepal has numerous ethnic groups and clans, which have a separate and distinct culture of their own. There are many religions that are practiced in this exotic mountainous country.
Music is an integral part of the cultural heritage of Nepal. Music in all forms is appreciated and adored in the country. Folk music is greatly loved by the Nepali people over modern forms of music. There are influences of Indian and Tibetan music on the music of Nepal.
Another facet of Nepal culture lies in its architecture. There are mainly three types of architectural features that are preferred in Nepal-the pagoda style, the stupa style and the shikhara style. There are several temples, churches, synagogues and Buddhist monasteries in Nepal that are built based on these architectural styles. The culture of Nepal is vividly depicted in these architectural wonders of Nepal.
Apart from music, dance is also a preferred mode of entertainment for the people of Nepal. The religious ceremonies that are celebrated in the country have music and dance as an integral part of their program. Religion is another important part of Nepal’s culture. Hinduism is the primary religion in Nepal, followed by Buddhism and Christianity. There are many festivals, which are celebrated in Nepal and are religious in origin. All these things amalgamated together make a rich cultural heritage of Nepal.
Communication & News:
The Central post Office located near Dharahara Tower, in Sundhara. The Counters on the post office provide stamps, postcards and aerogram. Express Mail Service (EMS) is available in Central post Office. EMS is also available at Thamel, Basantapur and airport postal counters.
Telephone, fax, telex and telegraph services are available at any part of the country. The country Code for Nepal is 977 and the area code for Kathmandu is 1.
E-mail & Internet
Private communications centers and Hotels provide Email and Internet Services almost 24 hrs.
Daily Newspapers and Magazine
There are so many newspapers available in the kingdom of Nepal. Major newspapers are printed in English and Nepali languages. Some newspapers are The Rising Nepal, The Kathmandu post (English Daily) and Gorkhapatra, Kantipur (Nepali Daily). Besides that: a large numbers of International newspapers and magazines are also available in Kathmandu.
Various Radio stations broadcast different music’s and other programs for entertainment. English