Country - Nepal
Nepal Country Information
Nepal takes pride in being home to the Mount Everest which is the tallest mountain in the world. The country is located in South Asia. It is bordered on all sides by India except the north where it is bounded by the disputed Tibetan land of China. Although the extreme eastern tip is 27 kilometers from Bhutan, the state of Sikkim and West Bengal of India intercept Nepal and Bhutan. Khatmandu is the capital and the largest city. Nepali is the main official language along with Maithili, Bhojpuri and English.
The biggest religion in Nepal is Hinduism accounting for 83.1% of the total population. About 9% of the population follows Buddhism while the rest belongs to Islam, Christianity and other sects. Nepal has a total population of 28,982,771 as per the census of 2016. The per capita GDP (nominal) has been estimated at US $919 in 2018.
Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. The main exports are carpets, beverage, textiles, tea and plastic. The total value of exports was US $696 million in 2016 and the goods worth US $6.51 billion were imported. Nepal is constrained to depend on various items of imports due to low domestic productivity. The chief imports are fuel, iron and steel, nuclear reactors, boilers, mechanical appliances, electrical machinery and equipment and vehicles.
Nepal is the place of origin for Buddhism as Gautama Buddha’s birthplace Lumbini. Mayadevi Temple is considered as the site where Lord Buddha was born according to historians. In 623 B.C., Mayadevi, who was the queen of the king Suddhodana of Kapilavastu, took bath in the pushkarini (the sacred pond) while perambulating in the Lumbini Gardens and gave birth to the prince Siddharth under a tree by the pond. The prince Siddharth at a very young age became an ascetic, abdicating his right to the throne. His concept of non-violence and righteousness came to be established as one of the biggest religions in the world, known as Buddhism. There are twenty five international Buddhist monasteries that have gained prominence of holy places and tourist destinations. In 249 B.C., the king Ashoka the great, who embraced Buddhism got erected the Ashokan Pillar which stands as a monument and religious structure of Buddhism. The sandstone statue of Mayadevi who was worshipped as a Hindu mother Goddess was installed by the King Ripu Malla in the 14th century and today the temple is in the list of important places of visit by tourists. The Panditarama Vipassana Centre is a beautiful centre for meditation where Buddhist monks can be interacted with visitors.
The capital city Khatmandu is very well famous for the massive holy Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, a version of Lord Shiva, a supreme God in Hinduism. The temple complex is pretty vast and many more innumerable mini-temples swarm about the main temple in close proximity imbuing the minds of visitors with spiritual mood. In spite of being the origin of Buddhism, the Hindu population is in great majority of more than 80%. The entire capital city of Khatmandu is full of temple complexes, individual temples, alfresco sacred ponds bordered with rectangular borders with manually constructed steps. The temples are so numerous that one wonders that temples might outnumber the houses in the place and occupy larger place than the houses.
Besides the religious places, trekking tracks, bungee jumping, rafting, kayaking, paragliding keep the tourists busy during the stay. Nepal is a self-contradictory mixture of spiritual peace and adventurous tourism.