Nepal

History of Nepal

Newars are thought to have lived in the Nepal Valley since the 4th century AD, raising a Buddhist-Hindu culture. The Gurkha majority was later time-honored by RAJPUT warriors from India, and in 1769 they dominated lands beyond the present-day borders of Nepal. After invasions into northern India in which the Gurkhas were beaten, Nepal lost part of its province to British India but retained its independence and enjoyed close ties with the British. It has maintained its close friendship with India since the latter achieved independence in 1947

Nepal, the world's only Hindu monarchy, was controlled by a hereditary prime ministership until 1951. The nation's first election was held in 1959, but in 1960, King Mahendra dismissed the cabinet, dissolved parliament, and banned political parties. A 1962 constitution created a nonparty panchayat (council) system of government. After a 1980 referendum approved a modified version of the panchayat system, direct parliamentary elections were held in 1981. A dispute with India led to India's closing of most border crossings from March 1989 to July 1990, and the resultant economic crisis fueled demands for political reform. After months of violence, King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev dissolved parliament. The opposition formed an interim government in April 1990, and a new constitution creating a constitutional monarchy and a bicameral legislature became effective on Nov. 9, 1990. Multiparty legislative elections held in May 1991 were won by the centrist Nepali Congress party; the Communists became the leading opposition party. Mid-term elections in November 1994, which were called after the government lost a parliamentary vote, resulted in a hung parliament and the communists, who emerged as the single largest party, formed a minority government

Culture

Nepal's culture is greatly influenced by its music, architecture, religion and literature. Your first sight of Nepal may leave you speechless, the great quantities of temples, churches, monasteries and other religious buildings, the hurly-burly in the streets and the number of people and animals socializing on every corner of the narrow cobble-stone lanes.

Nepal has about thirty-six different ethnic groups and multiple religions and languages. Its musicis similarly varied, with pop, religious, classical and folk music being popular. Musical genres from Tibet and Hindustan have greatly influenced Nepalese music. Usually, women, even of the musician castes, do not play music except for specific situations, such as at the traditional all-female wedding parties.

The architecture of Nepal is another art that has become an important part of the country's culture. Nepal's architecture can be divided into three broad groups, the stupa style, the pagoda style and the shikhara style.

Nepal is constitutionally a Hindu kingdom with legal provisions of no prejudice against other religions. The Hindu inhabitants in the country has been constantly over 80 percent since the 1950s. The second largest religion of Nepal is Buddhism, it is practiced by about 11 percent, while Islam comprises of about 4.2 percent of the population. The Kirat religion makes up nearly 3.6 percent of the population.

Nepal has many customs and beliefs that might be difficult to understand and not so easy to obey but this is the way of life to them and you should respect it when you are in their territory.
Do not feel offended if any Nepalese hesitates to shake hands with you because it hasn't been very long since the western traditions were introduced to them. Most Nepalese greet one another by a “Namaste”, a common act done by putting the palms together in a prayer like gesture.
It is customary to eat and deal with food with your right hand. They use their left hand to wash themselves after being to the toilet. Note that most Nepalese eat with their hands, forks and spoons are not very common.

Note that men and woman should always dress appropriately. Men should not walk or trek bare-chested, shorts are acceptable but it's recommended to rather wear long pants. Women are recommended to wear long skirts that cover the ankles, because exposure of a woman's legs can draw unnecessary attention.

Showing affection between men and woman in public is not acceptable. So avoid kissing, hugging, cuddling or even holding hands in public.

Cuisine

Nepalese cuisine is quite simple and has had many influences during its development. As with most things in Nepal, the cuisine varies according to ethnic groups and castes, depending on ingredients available and affordable. Indian, Chinese and Tibetan flavors and aromas can easily be detected in Nepalese meals although Nepal's cuisinemaintains its own flare. Nepal's climate has made it possible for the country to grow crops such as rice, lentils, wheat, corn and potatoes.

Whilst Nepalese cuisine is somewhat basic, it certainly does not lack in flavor, making extensive use of spices and flavorings such as ginger, garlic, coriander, pepper, cumin, chilies, cilantro, mustard oil, ghee and occasionally yak butter. The staple diet of Nepal's population is Dal (lentils), Bhat (rice) and Tarkari (curried vegetables). Beef is typically not eaten in Nepal for religious reasons. Local liquor, tongba and thon (rice beer) are popular drinks in Nepal. Let us take a closer look at some of the delicious foods of Nepalese cuisine.

Climate & Weather

Nepal’s weather is generally predictable and pleasant. There are four climatic seasons: March to May (spring), June to August (summer), September to November (autumn) and December to February (winter). The monsoon is approximately from the end of June to the middle of September. About 80% of the rain falls during that period, so the remainder of the year is dry. Spring and autumn are the most pleasant seasons; winter temperatures drop to freezing with a high level of snowfall in the mountains. Summer and late spring temperatures range from 28ºC (83ºF) in the hill regions to more

than 40ºC (104ºF) in the Terai. In winter, average maximum and minimum temperatures in the Terai range from a brisk 7ºC (45ºF) to a mild 23ºC (74ºF). The central valleys experience a minimum temperature often falling bellow freezing point and a chilly 12ºC (54ºF) maximum. Much colder temperatures prevail at higher elevations. The Kathmandu Valley, at an altitude of 1,310m (4,297ft), has a mild climate, ranging from 19-27ºC (67-81ºF) in summer, and 2-20ºC (36-68ºF) in winter.

Best time to visit

The best season to visit Nepal is after the monsoons that end in August, and before the winter sets in. The months between September and December are the most preferred ones by the visitors. The rains wash the dusty tracks and the valley looks magnificent with blooming flowers. Post -Monsoon Nepal welcomes you with flower-laden plains and brimming rivers. It is humid in plains at that time but it is still better than the scorching heat of the summers.

It is best to visit hilly areas in summers; that is, the month of May and June. The average temperature at that time hovers around 22-25 Celsius. Nights are a bit chilly in the lower Himalayan region but are comfortable. Mountainous areas are extremely unsafe in the Monsoons. The persistent rains make the hilly tracts slippery. The landslides are very common in the monsoons. Again in the post-monsoon months, you can start for the hill tours.

In winters, most of the hilly areas become out of bound due to very heavy snowfall and avalanches. But if you are fond of snowfall then you can opt for lower Himalayan regions that look beautiful in the blankets of snows.

Nepal attraction

Nepal, the adobe of snow, is one of the most picturesque regions in the world. In the northern part, you have lofty mountains almost talking to the sky and in the south stretches the limitless lands of grass, as far as horizon. Between them lies the kingdom of Nepal, the land of temples and pagodas.

The Kingdom of Nepal offers different genres of attraction for the visitors. On one hand you have Buddhist heritage sites that attract tourists from Indo-China region and on other hand there are famous Hindu temples that are very popular among Indians. Both of them attract droves of westerners. These include casual tourists as well as researchers. Then there are palaces erected by the various dynasties in Nepal. These places are famous for their distinct architecture and decoration works.
Among the Buddhist sites, the ones that are in Kathmandu will catch your fancy. Boudhnath Stupa, Machendranath Stupa and Swambhunath are some of the popular Stupas in Kathmandu. There are other Stupas too. The one called Muktinath is very popular among the followers of Mahayana sect of Buddhism. Besides, you have various smaller Stupas and monasteries at Lumbini, The birthplace of Gautam Buddha.

Among the temples, Pashupatinath attracts the major chunk of visitors. This temple is not only the most famous temple in Nepal but considered among the most famous in the world. The place has a mystic touch in itself. Apart from that you have Guhyeswar temple in Kathmandu. This temple is dedicated to Parvati, the wife of lord Shiva. There are other minor temples too. Most of them are located in the Tarai region. The one in Janakpur is notable for its decoration and historical value.

When it comes to palaces, Kathmandu can give any city a run for its money. The most famous among these palaces is the Narayanhiti Palace that also known as Royal Palace among the visitors. The monarch currently inhabits the palace. Then there are palaces built by different Rana Prime-ministers. The architecture of these palaces varies from palace to palace. Most of these are based on fusion architecture styles. Apart from that, Nepal offers various minor attractions such as Biratnagar, Janakpur and Bhaktapur. All these places have their distinct flavors.

This is just a glimpse of what Nepal is going to offer you. And that is not all. All these will be served with traditional Nepalese hospitality and a big smile.

Getting in to Nepal

BY LAND

You can go for overland travel to enter Nepal from both India and Tibet. If you are in Tibet, you can enter Nepal by crossing the border at Kodari. Thereafter, take a bus to Kathmandu. This will take you 7 to 12 hours depending on the road conditions. The easiest and hassle free overland route to Nepal from India is via Gorakhpur using train and the Sunauli/Belahiya border post. The only direct buses from this route to Kathmandu run at night and take approximately 9 hours. Raxaul/Birgung border post can also be used to visit Nepal. But this may not leave you with a pleasant travelling experience. If you are in Darjeeling you can come to Nepal via Karkabhitta. There are also several border crossings in west Nepal.

BY AIR
Kathmandu is the only international airport in Nepal. There are a number of International Airlines with direct flights to Kathmandu. Thai Airways International operates daily flight between Bangkok and Kathmandu. Qatar Airways flies daily between Doha and Kathmandu with connecting flights to/from Europe and America. Gulf Air has daily flight between UAE and Kathmandu with connecting flights to/from Europe and America. Air China flies between Lhasa, with connecting flights to/from mainland China. Austrian Airlines flies between Vienna and Kathmandu once a week. Indian Airlines have frequent flights between Delhi, Calcutta and Kathmandu. 

Visa

A Visa is necessary to enter Nepal and can be obtained for the following duration from any Royal Nepalese Embassy or Consulate or at the entry points in Nepal

  • Single entry tourist visas can be obtained by paying US$ 30 for 60 days.
  • If you wish to leave and re-enter the country, you'll need to pay additional fees. US$ 25 for Single Re-entry, US$ 40 for Double Re-entry and US$ 60 for Multiple Re-entries.
  • If you leave and wish to Re-enter Nepal as a tourist within 150 day of the same visa year, you may pay US$ 50 for 30 days.
  • Business visas with multiple entry facilities are available at a rate of US $100 for one year and US $250 for five years. Ministry of Industry 

Nepal Kathmandu tour

Duration: 03 nights/04 days
Destinations Covered: Kathmandu, Bhaktapur City, Pashupatinath and Boudhnath
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Duration: 04 nights/05 days
Destinations Covered: Kathmandu, Bhaktapur City, Pashupatinath and Boudhnath
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Duration:05 nights/06 days
Destinations Covered: Kathmandu, Chitwan, Kathmandu
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Destinations Covered:Kathmandu, Pokhra, Chitwan
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