Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked country in South Asia with a population of 26.4 million. It is a multi-ethnic nation with Nepali as the official language. Kathmandu is the nation’s capital and largest city.
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal (Nepali: सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल Sanghiya Loktāntrik Ganatantra Nepāl), is a landlocked country in South Asia with a population of 26.4 million. It is a multiethnic nation with Nepali as the official language. Kathmandu is the nation’s capital and largest city. Modern Nepal is a secular parliamentary republic.
Nepal is bordered by China to the north and India to the south, east, and west. It borders neither Bangladesh nor Bhutan, due to a narrow Indian corridor and to the Indian state of Sikkim, respectively. Nepal is located in the Himalayas and is home to eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Its southern Madhesh region is fertile and humid. The country has an area of 147,181 square kilometres (56,827 sq mi), making it the world’s 93rd largest country by area. It is also the 41st most populous country.
Nepal has a diverse ancient cultural heritage. The name Nepal is first recorded in texts from the Vedic Age, the era that founded Hinduism, the country’s predominant religion. Nepal was the world’s last Hindu monarchy. Siddharta Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, was born in Lumbini in southern Nepal. The main minorities are Tibetan Buddhists, Muslims, Kiratans, and Christians. The Nepalese are also known as Gurkhas. They have been reputed for their valour in World War I and World War II.
Established in the 18th century, the early modern Kingdom of Nepal was led by the Shah dynasty, after Prithvi Narayan Shah unified many principalities in the region. Nepal is one of the few Asian countries which was never colonized. Following the Anglo-Nepalese War and the Treaty of Sugauli in 1816, Nepal became an ally of the British Empire. A multiparty democracy evolved from 1951 to 1960, when King Mahendra enacted the panchayat system. In 1990, parliamentary government was restored by King Birendra. Nepal faced a decade-long Communist Maoist insurgency and mass protests against the authoritarian King Gyanendra in 2005, which led to the abolition of the monarchy in 2008. Its 2nd constituent assembly promulgated a new constitution in 2015. Today, the main political blocs in Nepal are communists, social democrats and Hindu nationalists.
The Nepali government works in the framework of a representative democracy with seven federal provinces. Nepal is a developing nation, ranking 145th on the Human Development Index (HDI) in 2014. The country struggles with the transition from a monarchy to a republic. It also suffers from high levels of hunger and poverty. Despite these challenges, Nepal is making steady progress, with the government declaring its commitment to elevate the nation from least developed country status in 2022.
Nepal has friendship treaties with India and the United Kingdom. It is a founding member and hosts the permanent secretariat of SAARC. It is also a member of the United Nations and BIMSTEC. Nepal is strategically important due to its location between Asia’s great powers, China and India. It is also important for its hydropower potential.
Good To Know
Holidays and festivals
With 365 days a year, Nepal is the country with most public holidays. The Nepali year begins in 1st of Baisakh in official Hindu Calendar of the country, the Bikram Sambat which falls in mid-April and is divided into 12 months. Saturday is the official weekly holiday. Main annual holidays include the National Day, celebrated on the birthday of the king (28 December), Prithvi Jayanti (11 January), Martyr’s Day (18 February), and a mix of Hindu and Buddhist festivals such as Dashain in autumn, tihar in mid-autumn and Chhath in late autumn. During Swanti, the Newars perform the Mha Puja ceremony to celebrate New Year’s Day of the lunar calendar Nepal Sambat. Most of the festivals in Nepal are Hindu.
The staple Nepali meal is dal bhat. Dal is a lentil soup, and is served over bhat (boiled rice), with tarkari (curried vegetables) together with achar (pickles) or chutni (spicy condiment made from fresh ingredients). It consists of non-vegetarian as well as vegetarian items. Mustard oil is a common cooking medium and a host of spices, including cumin, coriander, black pepper, sesame seeds, turmeric, garlic, ginger, methi (fenugreek), bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, chilies and mustard seeds are used in cooking. Momo is a type of steamed dumpling with meat or vegetable fillings, and is a popular fast food in many regions of Nepal.