There is a very popular quote in market nowadays “Heaven is a myth, Nepal is real” – well, you can’t agree on this fact unless you have visited here. And those who have already been here will rightfully agree that Nepal is a beautiful country, almost a piece of paradise.
This stunning land of Nepal homes the famous Himalaya range with eight out of fourteen tallest mountains in the world including the eminent one, Mount Everest at 8,848 meters.
Nepal also boasts a diverse array of religious and ethnic groups with a rich and unique culture, awe-inspiring natural beauty and most endearing of all is Nepali people, who are one of the most warm-hearted and friendly people in the world.
With such a diverse geographical setting, the biodiversity is also on point. From the snow-covered mountain region to lush forest Terai region, one can observe a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Looking at the stunning mountains, mesmerizing landscapes, astonishing geography, authentic culture, and custom, it really feels like Nepal is a god’s playground. So, today let’s take a scoop of interesting facts of this small yet stunning country.
Facts on Nepal’s History
-The ancient history of Nepal began from the Kathmandu valley, and over the centuries its boundaries grew to include tracts of what today are neighboring countries,i.e. India and China. The country gradually prospered as a crossroad resting place for two trade routes and became a cultural mixing pot.
-Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born in Nepal in Shakya royal family as Prince Siddhartha Gautam in 6th century BC. He grew to be a nobleman and embark on a path of contemplative thought and enlighten that led him to be the Buddha.
-As per the recorded history, Hindu Kirantis are known to be the first rulers of Kathmandu valley in 7th or 8th century BC. Then in 300 AD, people from northern India overthrew the Kirantis, and the country became predominant by Hindus ushering in an age of more prosperous trade and cultural brilliance.
-From late 600s to 1200, Nepal went through a rough time, often referred as “dark age.” In 700s, Nepal was invaded by Tibet as well Kashmir, but thanks to its strategic location which ensured the country’s survival and growth. The ultimate credit for founding Kathmandu (then Kantipur) goes to the King Gunakamadeva in the around 10th century.
-Bikram Sambhat, the Nepali lunar calendar was introduced during 9th century which is still in use. The Nepali calendar of Bikram Sambhat is approximately 67 years, eight and a half moth ahead of Gregorian calendar.
-The time of Malla kings is considered as the golden age of architecture in Nepal. In 15th century, architect Arniko traveled to Lhasa and Beijing with the design of pagoda style and forever changed the look of Asia’s religious temples.
-This next fact is quite an amazing one – although Nepal is small by size, it was never colonized and ruled by foreigner. We can thank the brave Nepali warrior who chooses death than giving up. Thus, Nepal has no Independence Day.
-Gurkha soldiers of Nepal are world-renowned for their bravery. Their motto of “Better to die than be a coward” has made the world speechless. If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or he is a Gurkha –Field Marshal Sam Maneshaw can’t be more right. Impressed by their bravery and fighting ability during Indian wars, British has made Nepali an integral salaried part of British Army since 1815.
-Nepal faced an ignominious defeat from East India Company during an expansion attempt which ended with the Sugauli Treaty in 1916 establishing Nepal’s current borders. Nepal cut itself from all the forge in contact for more than a hundred years because of the humiliation from the loss. The country finally reopened their borders in 1951.
Facts on Geography and Biodiversity
-After a constant struggle from a constitutional monarchy with a multiparty democracy to Maoist extremist to Riyal assassination to the present day, Nepal is currently led by an elected president and parliament.
-Northern part of Nepal is the most mountainous part of Nepal containing eight tallest mountains of the world all above 8,000 meters height including the tallest and famous Mount Everest. Everest is referred as Sagarmatha in Nepali dialect meaning forehead of the sky.
-Everest of Nepal itself has many interesting facts. It is first successfully scaled on May 29, 1953, by Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary. After twenty-five of first summit, the peak was successfully climbed without any supplement oxygen by Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler. Likewise, Everest holds many astonishing facts.
-In addition of being home to eight tallest mountains, Himalaya also harbors highest lakes on earth, Tilicho at 4,800 meters and deepest lake too, SheyPuksundo with 145 meters.
-Nepal is also the geologically alive country. The Indo Australian plate under Nepal is still moving and will travel 1,500 kilometers/932 miles into Asia in coming next 10 million years.
-The altitude variation of Nepal leaves one with surprise. It has a highest valley in the world (Arun) as well as the deepest gorge (Kaligandaki) with the altitude ranging from scant 59 meters to 8,848 meters. Also, Chitwan is the world’s tallest grassland.
-Along with the altitude variation comes climate variation. While traveling from south to north which is a span of only 100 kilometers, you will go through hot tropical weather to bone-chilling arctic-level cold.
-It is said that the Kali Gandaki river is older than the Himalayas and is a major ecological dividing line between western and eastern Himalayas.
-Nepal has 5,980 species of flowering plants including two percent of world’s orchid (more than 360 species), six percent of world’s rhododendron species and 250 species of plants that grow only in Nepal. It is also one of reason why Nepal is known as the Amazon of Asia.
-In Nepal, there are around 870 species of birds, which is more than the continents of North Africa and Europe combined. The number of birds in Nepal constitutes eight percent of world bird species. Also, Nepal has over 650 different species of butterflies with world’s largest moth (Atlas moth) and some of the largest wild honeybees.
Facts on Nepal’s culture
-Nepal has over 80 ethnic groups with people speaking 123 different languages, but despite such diversity, no religious or ethnic clashes took place. Nepal has been living in perfect peace and harmony without spilling a single drop of blood in the name of religion.
-Of all the unique cultural practices in Nepal, the Living Goddess Kumari is the most baffling one. Goddess Kumari is a pre-pubescent girl selected form a specific clan, who have towent through many rigorous tests to prove herself as an incarnation of Goddess Taleju. Kumaris retire after gaining puberty.
-Nepal was the last Hindu country in the world until 2006 when it was declared as a secular by parliament. However, it still has the world’s highest proportion of Hindu. Although Nepal is a secular country, killing cows is illegal and evil because of the religious belief, and it is a national animal as well.
-The flag is another interesting thing about this country. It is the only flag in the world which isn’t in a rectangular or a square shape. The flag has two triangles with moon in top and sun in bottom. The two triangles represent mountains as well as two major religion: Hinduism and Buddhism.
-Now, this is an uncommon one. In Nepal, touching anything with feet is offensive. In some ethnic groups, touching daughters with feet can be forgone only after touching ones head in her feet.