St Augustin

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.
Who lives sees much, who travels sees more.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A - Z Challenge - N is for Nepal

This was a hard one. Have you any idea how many countries start with N? A whole world of them. I was torn, but Nepal is the first country that came to my N mind. I tossed up Nova Scotia as I find it fascinating but I didn't want Talli Roland telling me I got my facts wrong, so here I am. Many of you may have already gone trekking in Nepal, but I never passed through that rite of passage. I haven't climbed Everest either. Do shout out if you have done something off the wall like that!

Facts about Nepal

Capital: Kathmandu

Language: Nepali (official) & 20 other languages divided into numerous dialects. Derived from Sanskrit, Nepali is related to the Indian language, Hindi, and is spoken by about 90 percent of the population in either native or second language fluency. Many Nepalese in government and business also speak English.

National Calendar: The Nepali year begins in mid-April and is divided into 12 months: Baisakh, Jestha, Asadh, Shrawan, Bhadra, Aswin, Kartik, Marga, Poush, Phalgun, Chaitra. Saturday is the official weekly holiday.

Unification Day: 1768 (by Prithvi Narayan Shah - First King)

Constitution Birth: November 9, 1990

National Anthem: "May Glory Crown Our Illustrious Sovereign"

National Motto: "The Motherland Is Worth More than the Kingdom of Heaven."

National Bird: Danphe


Area Total: 140,800 km2, Area Land: 136,800 km2

Land use: arable land: 17% permanent pastures: 15%, forests and woodland: 42%.

Geography: landlocked; strategic location between India and Chinese-occupied Tibet; extremely diverse terrain ranging from fertile plains and broad valleys to containing eight of the world's ten highest peaks.

Climate: Nepal has a climate that ranges from subtropical summers with mild winters in the southern lowlands to an alpine climate with cool summers as well as severe winters in the mountains. Average annual precipitation decreases from 1,778 mm (70 inches) in the east to 899 mm (35 inches) in the west.


Ethnic Groups: Among the earliest inhabitants were the Newars of the Kathmandu Valley and aboriginal Tharus in the southern Terai region. The Indo-Nepalese migrated from India and are ancestors of the Brahman and Chetri caste groups, which account for nearly 80% of the population. The Tibeto-Nepalese account for the remainder and trace their origins to central Asia and Tibet, including the Gurungs, Magars and Tamang in the west, Rais and Limbus in the east, and Sherpas and Bhotias in the north.

Religion: 90% Hindu (official state religion) 5% Buddhist, 3% Muslim, 2% Other (Christian, indigenous & animistic practices) While Nepal is the only Hindu country in the world, Hinduism has synthesized with Buddhism in Nepal. As a result, Buddhist and Hindu shrines and festivals are respected and celebrated by all.

Population: 23,200,000 (2001 census)

Distribution: 15% Urban, 85% Rural (2001 census)

Refugee issue over the presence in Nepal of approximately 100.000 Bhutanese refugees, 90% of whom are in 7 United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) camps.

Issues: Illegal trafficking in women is one of the biggest issues facing Nepal today. Lured by promises of employment in big Indian cities like New Delhi, Mumbia and Kolkatta, large numbers of Nepali young girls are smuggled by flesh traders and forced into prostitution. The flesh trade is made simpler due to the open border ensuring free movement of people. Nepali NGOs estimate that hundreds of thousands of Nepali women, mostly teenagers are forced to work in brothels in India. The United Nations has expressed concern over the growing trafficking and urged the Nepali and Indian authorities to initiate action to curb this trade.

Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world with nearly half of its population living below the poverty line. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for over 80% of the population and accounting for 40% of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural produce including jute, sugarcane, tobacco and grain. Production of textiles and carpets has expanded recently and accounted for about 80% of foreign exchange earnings in the past three years. Apart from agricultural land and forests, exploitable natural resources are mica, hydropower and tourism. Agricultural production is growing by about five percent on average as compared with annual population growth of 2.5%. Since May 1991, the government has been moving forward with economic reforms particularly those that encourage trade and foreign investment.

The government has also been cutting expenditures by reducing subsidies, privatizing state industries and laying off civil servants. More recently, however, political instability—five different governments over the past few years—has hampered Kathmandu’s ability to forge consensus to implement key economic reforms. Nepal has considerable scope for accelerating economic growth by exploiting its potential in hydropower and tourism, areas of recent foreign investment interest. Prospects for foreign trade or investment in other sectors remain poor due to the small size of the economy, its technological backwardness, its remoteness, its landlocked geographic location, and its susceptibility to natural disaster. The international community funds more than 60% of the development budget and more than 28% of total budgetary expenditures. Remittances from Nepalese working abroad, nearly $1 billion in 1997, continue to be a significant source of foreign exchange.

Economic Performance: Nepal experienced positive upswings in most economic sectors during the past fiscal year of 1999/2000, growth of just under 11%, and projected to achieve a growth rate of six% in 2000/01. Much of this growth was spawned by the growth in the agriculture sector. Inflation declined in the first half of 1999/2000 reaching 2% in Dec 2000 as food prices stabilized.

The agriculture sector in Nepal contributes 41% of the GDP and employs an estimated 81.2% of labor. The primary food crops produced are barley, coconuts, coffee, maize, potatoes, rice, soybeans, sugar cane and wheat. The primary meat products are beef and veal, buffalo, chicken, duck, lamb and pork. The largest agricultural exports in 1998 were sugar cane, lentils, pulses, oilseed and nutmeg, mace and cardamon. Agricultural exports in 1998 was $72.2 million, while agricultural imports in 1998 was $156.5

Swift rivers flowing south through the Himalayas have massive hydroelectricity potential to service domestic needs and the growing demand from India. Hydropower exports are one of the major domestic resources which can fuel economic growth in Nepal, but development of these resources requires significant capital investment.  Hydro projects currently under construction in Nepal should nearly double the country's total generating capacity over the next two years.

Environment: Nepal's environmental challenges are largely a consequence of its dependence on fuel derived from wood, and the expansion of agricultural lands through non-sustainable development methods. This includes removing trees without measures for replanting, which results in widespread deforestation and soil erosion. Water pollution and contaminated water also presents human health risks.

Head of Government: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba

Cabinet: appointed by the king on the recommendation of the PM

Sources: CountryWatch, BBC, IMF


Michael Di Gesu said...

Very interesting. You really did you homework on this post, Denise. Lot of information on Nepal.

Elliot Grace said...

...very informative, my dear. Lucky girl;)


notesfromnadir said...

Such a fascinating country. Thanks for all the great info.

gebro said...

Great Blog! I just started one to inspire people to travel, give me some feedback if you'd like

Donna Hole said...

That was intense! I almost feel as if I traveled there.

Love the bird picture. Exotic.


Lynda R Young said...

Yes, I trekked through Nepal and it's a breathtaking place. I remember watching a storm gathering over the snow capped mountains. Made me feel truly insignificant. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

baygirl32 said...

what a pretty bird. another place I'm adding to my someday list

L'Aussie said...

Nepal grabs your imagination doesn't it?

The Words Crafter said...

I think I wrote this before about another post....but it's interesting that some of the most beautiful places on earth, are the poorest.

Lovely post, and sad. It would be wonderful if they could harness the hydro power.....

Dawn Embers said...

Good choice. I really liked learning about Nepal, though I'm sure you could see why I might have guessed New Zealand. *winks*

You always find great pictures for these posts. Very fun to look at and the facts are great too.

Amie Kaufman said...

My Dad's worked on aid projects in Nepal, and it sounds like an amazing country. I'd love to visit one day!

Grandpa said...

Nepal is a fascinating place. Almost went there last year but due to last minute changes had to settle for Krabi, Thailand instead.

This has been a good pre- tour reading Denise. Thanks.

kmckendry said...

Thanks for all the great info! My hubby and I traveled to the Himalayan region in northern India. Our guides down the Ganges were all from Nepal. Their warm spirits made us want to visit Nepal some day.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

What a wonderful place, those pictures are awesome.

Thanks for visiting my blog about Nashville, I saw in the Hall Of Fame Johnny Cash's clothes and other belongings of his,it was agreat trip. I went there because my favourite Irish singer Daniel O Donnell was recording a TV show plus to see the home of C/W at first hand.

Aishah said...

Truly amazing. Thank you. I am glad you picked Nepal.

I always thought Nepal as a Buddhist country, maybe because at times, subconsciously I switch Nepal and Tibet. But your info here explains it.

You have passed the half-way point in the challenge. Good job and all the best ;)

Pk Hrezo said...

This is such a cool idea! Sorry I haven't been by sooner. I'll have to catch up. I've always wanted to visit Nepal. I mean Mt. Everest and all? The highest place on Earth? How could anyone resist? Thanks for all the fun facts. And I'm entirely jealous you're going to Morocco!

Nas Dean said...

I love your travel blog! First visit here, sorry to say. I'm amazed. We could do so much armchair travelling with you though this blog, thanks!

J.L. Campbell said...

Denise, I learned a lot of stuff about Nepal that I didn't know before. You touched on a lot of facts.

Trisha said...

Nepal would be amazing!

Ellie said...

Fascinating post about a fascinating country. Thank you!

Ellie Garratt