Nepal is a Himalayan country, which lies in South Asia between Tibet, an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China to the North, and India to the South. This country is rectangular in shape and 885 km in length from east to west and its breadth varies from 145 km to 241 km north to south. The elevation of the country ranges from 70 m above sea level to the highest point on earth, Mt. Everest, at 8,848 m; all within a distance of 150 km with climatic variations from sub-tropical to alpine. The country is popularly known in the world for an incredible variety of ecosystems, the greatest mountain ranges, thick tropical jungles teeming with a wealth of wildlife, thundering rivers, forested hills and frozen valleys. There are many temples and historical palaces full of architectural interest that display great craftsmanship and artistic ingenuity. Numerous religious and social festivals are celebrated all year round, and are part of the rich, religious and traditional heritage of people from this part of the world. Nepalese people are renowned for the welcome and hospitality they offer to visitors and it is often this experience that people remember more than any other.
Location: Situated between India and Tibet, an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China.
Area: 147,181 sq. km.
Latitude: 26'22'' and 30'27'' north.
Longitude: 80'4'' and 88'12'' east.
People: 61 ethnic groups and over 100 different spoken languages.
Population: 25 million
Topography: From the world�s deepest gorge 'Kali Gandaki' to highest point on earth 'Mt. Everest'
Vegetation: Nepal possesses a unique range of vegetation due to its unique topographical variation.
Weather: Climate ranges from tropical in the lowlands to arctic in higher altitudes.
Seasons: Winter (Dec-Feb)
People: Nepal has a composite population stemming from various racial and ethnic communities. It is a melting pot of diverse linguistic and ethnic groups with a population of 25 million living in different regions, wearing different costumes and speaking different languages and dialects. Ethnic groups range from the Indo-Aryan to Mongoloid. The Himalayan and central hilly regions are mostly inhabited by the people of the Tibeto-Burman stock while the people inhabiting the Terai lowlands may be grouped under the Indo-Aryan category. Its cultural traditions, art and literacy heritage go back many thousands of years. This varied mosaic of various races and ethnic groups has given Nepal its distinct character and culture.
Religion: Nepal was officially declared as Federal Democratic Republic in 2008 giving equal opportunity to all religions. The country is mainly Hindu and also Buddhist to a lesser extent. However, Hindu temples and Buddhist shrines are equally scattered all over the country. Hindus and Buddhists co-exist together to form one concordant social system. 89.9% of Nepal�s total populace is Hindu while 5.3% is Buddhist, but Hinduism and Buddhism are both equally revered in Nepal. The reflection of these unique Nepali cultures can be seen in people�s day to day lives as well as in architecture and the arts. There are many castes and creeds but no rigidity and the country has never experienced ethnic and religious conflict. Many of the same Gods and Goddesses are worshipped by both the Hindus and Buddhists but according to their different religious rites. The Kumari, or Vestal virgin Goddess of Kathmandu, for instance is a Hindu Goddess but selected from a Buddhist clan for worship. It is not unusual to have a Hindu temple within Buddhist shrines and vice-versa.
Nepal is the birth place of Sita, the consort of Lord Rama, who is the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana. It is also the birth place of Sakyamuni Gautama Buddha who gave the world a message of peace, tolerance and compassion. Throughout the course of history, both Hinduism and Buddhism have provided inspiration to Nepali folklore, art, architecture, music, dance and festivals. Islam and Christianity are other religions also practiced in Nepal.