Nepal (/nəˈpɔːl/ ( listen); Nepali: नेपाल
Nepāl [neˈpal]), officially the Federal Democratic
Nepal (Nepali: सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक
गणतन्त्र नेपाल Sanghiya Loktāntrik
Ganatantra Nepāl), is a landlocked country in
South Asia located
in the Himalaya. With an estimated population of 26.4 million, it is
48th largest country by population and 93rd largest country by
area. It borders
China in the north and
India in the south,
east, and west while
Bangladesh is located within only 27 km
(17 mi) of its southeastern tip and
Bhutan is separated from it
by the Indian state of Sikkim. A Himalayan state,
Nepal has a diverse
geography, including fertile plains, subalpine forested hills, and
eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest,
the highest point on Earth.
Kathmandu is the nation's capital and
Nepal is a multiethnic nation with Nepali as the
The name "Nepal" is first recorded in texts from the
Vedic Age, the
era which founded Hinduism, the predominant religion of the country.
In the middle of the first millennium BCE, Gautama Buddha, the founder
of Buddhism, was born in southern Nepal. Parts of northern
intertwined with the culture of Tibet. The centrally located Kathmandu
Valley was the seat of the prosperous
Newar confederacy known as Nepal
Mandala. The Himalayan branch of the ancient
Silk Road was dominated
by the valley's traders. The cosmopolitan region developed distinct
traditional art and architecture. By the 18th century, the Gorkha
Kingdom achieved the unification of Nepal. The Shah dynasty
Kingdom of Nepal
Kingdom of Nepal and later formed an alliance with the
British Empire, under its
Rana dynasty of premiers. The country was
never colonised but served as a buffer state between Imperial China
and Colonial India.
Parliamentary democracy was introduced
in 1951, but was twice suspended by Nepalese monarchs in 1960 and
Nepalese Civil War
Nepalese Civil War in 1990s and early 2000s resulted in the
proclamation of a republic in 2008, ending the reign of the world's
The Constitution of Nepal, adopted in 2017 establishes it as a federal
secular parliamentary republic divided in seven provinces.
admitted to the
United Nations in 1955, and friendship treaties were
India in 1950 and the People's
Nepal hosts the permanent secretariat of the South Asian
Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), of which it is a
Nepal is also a member of the Non Aligned Movement
and the Bay of Bengal Initiative. The military of
Nepal is the fifth
South Asia and is notable for its
particularly during the world wars, and has been a significant
United Nations peacekeeping operations.
Kingdom of Nepal
Kingdom of Nepal (1768–2008)
4.3 Foreign relations and military
6.3 Telecommunications and mass media
6.4 Science and technology
6.5 Community forestry
7 Crime and law enforcement
8.5 Largest cities
9.1 Holidays and festivals
9.4 Units of measurement
10 In popular media
12 See also
14 Further reading
15 External links
Local legends have it that a
Hindu sage named "Ne" established himself
in the valley of
Kathmandu in prehistoric times, and that the word
"Nepal" came into existence as the place was protected ("pala" in
Pali) by the sage "Nemi". It is mentioned in
Vedic texts that this
region was called
Nepal centuries ago. According to the Skanda Purana,
a rishi called "Nemi" used to live in the Himalayas. In the
Pashupati Purana, he is mentioned as a saint and a protector. He
is said to have practised meditation at the Bagmati and Kesavati
rivers and to have taught there.
The name of the country is also identical in origin to the name of the
Newar people. The terms "Nepāl", "Newār", "Newāl" and "Nepār" are
phonetically different forms of the same word, and instances of the
various forms appear in texts in different times in history.
Sanskrit form and
Newar is the colloquial Prakrit
Sanskrit inscription dated 512 CE found in Tistung, a
valley to the west of Kathmandu, contains the phrase "greetings to the
Nepals" indicating that the term "Nepal" was used to refer to both the
country and the people.
It has been suggested that "Nepal" may be a
"Newar", or "Newar" may be a later form of "Nepal". According to
another explanation, the words "Newar" and "Newari" are vulgarisms
arising from the mutation of P to V, and L to R.
Main article: History of Nepal
Lumbini, listed as the birthplace of
Gautama Buddha by the UNESCO
World Heritage Convention
Neolithic tools found in the
Kathmandu Valley indicate that people
have been living in the Himalayan region for at least eleven thousand
years. From the ancient records it seems that
Nepal was originally
inhabited by the
Mongoloid people. According to B.H. Hodgson in
1847 the earliest inhabitants of
Nepal were properly the Kusunda
people and were properly of Proto-Australoid origin.
Nepal is first mentioned in the late
Vedic Atharvaveda Pariśiṣṭa
as a place exporting blankets, and in the post-
Upanishad. In Samudragupta's
Allahabad Pillar it is mentioned as a
border country. The
Skanda Purana has a separate chapter known as
Nepal Mahatmya" which explains in more detail about the beauty and
power of Nepal.
Nepal is also mentioned in
Hindu texts such as the
Very little is known about the early history of Nepal, legends and
documented references reach far back to the 30th century BC. Gopal
Bansa, cow herding tribes are said to be one of the earliest
Kathmandu valley however the evidence and sources are
lacking. The earliest well known rulers of
Nepal were the Kirats or
Kiratis and often mentioned as
Kirata Kingdom) in Hindu
texts, documented references them ruling
Nepal from 3102 B.C. to 7th
century A.D. From various sources we can find the mentioning of 27
to 32 Kirati kings who had ruled over Nepal. Gopal genealogy mentions
32 Kirati Kings to have ruled over Nepal.
Around 500 BCE, small kingdoms and confederations of clans arose in
the southern regions of Nepal. From one of these, the
arose a prince who later renounced his status to lead an ascetic life,
founded Buddhism, and came to be known as Gautama Buddha
(traditionally dated 563–483 BCE).
By 250 BC, the southern regions had come under the influence of the
Maurya Empire of North
India and later became a vassal state under the
Gupta Empire in the 4th century AD.
There is a quite detailed description of the kingdom of
Nepal in the
account of the renowned Chinese Buddhist pilgrim monk Xuanzang, dating
from about 645 CE. Stone inscriptions in the
are important sources for the history of Nepal.
The kings of Lichhavi dynasty have been found to rule
Nepal after the
Kirat monarchical dynasty. The context that ‘Suryavansi Kshetriyas
had established new regime by defeating the Kirats’ can be found in
some genealogies and Puranas. It is not clear yet that when the
Lichhavi dynasty was established in Nepal. According to the opinion of
Baburam Acharya, the prominent historian of Nepal, Lichhavies were
able to establish their independent Lichhavi rule by abolishing Kirati
state that prevailed in
Nepal around 250 AD.
The Licchavi dynasty went into decline in the late 8th century and was
followed by a
Thakuri kings ruled over the
country up to the middle of the 12th century A.D, King Raghav Dev is
said to have founded the ruling dynasty in October, 869 A.D. King
Raghav Dev also started the
Main article: Malla (Nepal)
Tara, ca. 13th century, Nepal, Walters Art Museum
Basantpur royal complex
In the early 12th century, leaders emerged in far western
names ended with the
Sanskrit suffix malla ("wrestler"). These kings
consolidated their power and ruled over the next 200 years, until the
kingdom splintered into two dozen petty states. Another Malla dynasty
beginning with Jayasthiti emerged in the
Kathmandu valley in the late
14th century, and much of central
Nepal again came under a unified
rule. In 1482 the realm was divided into three kingdoms: Kathmandu,
Patan, and Bhaktapur.
Kingdom of Nepal
Kingdom of Nepal (1768–2008)
Main article: Kingdom of Nepal
A ceremonial crown of Nepalese royalty
King Tribhuvan giving an audience to British general Claude Auchinleck
at the royal palace in Kathmandu, 1945
Elvis Presley with
King Mahendra and
Queen Ratna of
Nepal in 1960
Prime Minister of Israel
Prime Minister of Israel
David Ben Gurion
David Ben Gurion and Prime Minister of Nepal
B. P. Koirala
In the mid-18th century, Prithvi Narayan Shah, a
Gorkha king, set out
to put together what would become present-day Nepal. He embarked on
his mission by securing the neutrality of the bordering mountain
kingdoms. After several bloody battles and sieges, notably the Battle
of Kirtipur, he managed to conquer the
Kathmandu Valley in 1769. A
detailed account of Prithvi Narayan Shah's victory was written by
Father Giuseppe, an eyewitness to the war.
Gorkha control reached its height when the North Indian
territories of the Kumaon and Garhwal Kingdoms in the west to Sikkim
in the east came under Nepalese control. A dispute with
Tibet over the
control of mountain passes and inner Tingri valleys of
the Qing Emperor of
China to start the Sino-Nepali War compelling the
Nepali to retreat and pay heavy reparations to Peking.
Kingdom of Nepal
Kingdom of Nepal and the East
India Company over the
control of states bordering
Nepal eventually led to the Anglo-Nepali
War (1815–16). At first the British underestimated the Nepali and
were soundly defeated until committing more military resources than
they had anticipated needing. They were greatly impressed by the
valour and competence of their adversaries. Thus
began the reputation of
Gurkhas as fierce and ruthless soldiers. The
war ended in the Sugauli Treaty, under which
Nepal ceded recently
captured lands as well as the right to recruit soldiers. Madhesis,
having supported the East
India Company during the war, had their
lands gifted to Nepal.
Factionalism inside the royal family led to a period of instability.
In 1846 a plot was discovered revealing that the reigning queen had
planned to overthrow Jung Bahadur Kunwar, a fast-rising military
leader. This led to the Kot massacre; armed clashes between military
personnel and administrators loyal to the queen led to the execution
of several hundred princes and chieftains around the country. Jung
Bahadur Kunwar emerged victorious and founded the Rana dynasty, later
known as Jung Bahadur Rana. The king was made a titular figure, and
the post of Prime Minister was made powerful and hereditary. The Ranas
were staunchly pro-British and assisted them during the Indian
Rebellion of 1857 (and later in both World Wars). Some parts of the
Terai region populated with non-Nepali peoples were gifted to
the British as a friendly gesture because of her military help to
sustain British control in
India during the rebellion. In 1923, the
United Kingdom and
Nepal formally signed an agreement of friendship
that superseded the
Sugauli Treaty of 1816.
Legalized slavery was abolished in
Nepal in 1924. Nevertheless, an
estimated 234,600 people are enslaved in modern day Nepal, or 0.82% of
the population. Debt bondage even involving debtors' children has
been a persistent social problem in the Terai. Rana rule was marked by
tyranny, debauchery, economic exploitation and religious
In the late 1940s, newly emerging pro-democracy movements and
political parties in
Nepal were critical of the Rana autocracy.
Meanwhile, with the invasion of
China in the 1950s, India
sought to counterbalance the perceived military threat from its
northern neighbour by taking pre-emptive steps to assert more
influence in Nepal.
India sponsored both
King Tribhuvan (ruled
1911–55) as Nepal's new ruler in 1951 and a new government, mostly
comprising the Nepali Congress, thus terminating Rana hegemony in the
After years of power wrangling between the king and the government,
King Mahendra (ruled 1955–72) scrapped the democratic experiment in
1959, and a "partyless" Panchayat system was made to govern Nepal
until 1989, when the "Jan Andolan" (People's Movement) forced King
Birendra (ruled 1972–2001) to accept constitutional reforms and to
establish a multiparty parliament that took seat in May 1991. In
Bhutan expelled roughly 100,000 Bhutanese citizens of
Nepali descent, most of whom have been living in seven refugee camps
Nepal ever since.
In 1996, the Communist Party of
Nepal started a violent bid to replace
the royal parliamentary system with a people's republic. This led to
Nepali Civil War
Nepali Civil War and more than 12,000 deaths.
On 1 June 2001, there was a massacre in the royal palace. King
Birendra, Queen Aishwarya and seven other members of the royal family
were killed. The alleged perpetrator was Crown Prince Dipendra, who
allegedly committed suicide (he died three days later) shortly
thereafter. This outburst was alleged to have been Dipendra's response
to his parents' refusal to accept his choice of wife. Nevertheless,
there is speculation and doubts among Nepali citizens about who was
Following the carnage, King Birendra's brother
Gyanendra inherited the
throne. On 1 February 2005, King
Gyanendra dismissed the entire
government and assumed full executive powers to quash the violent
Maoist movement, but this initiative was unsuccessful because a
stalemate had developed in which the Maoists were firmly entrenched in
large expanses of countryside but could not yet dislodge the military
from numerous towns and the largest cities. In September 2005, the
Maoists declared a three-month unilateral ceasefire to negotiate.
In response to the 2006 democracy movement, King
Gyanendra agreed to
relinquish sovereign power to the people. On 24 April 2006 the
dissolved House of Representatives was reinstated. Using its newly
acquired sovereign authority, on 18 May 2006 the House of
Representatives unanimously voted to curtail the power of the king and
Nepal a secular state, ending its time-honoured official
status as a
Hindu Kingdom. On 28 December 2007, a bill was passed in
parliament to amend Article 159 of the constitution – replacing
"Provisions regarding the King" by "Provisions of the Head of the
State" – declaring
Nepal a federal republic, and thereby
abolishing the monarchy. The bill came into force on 28 May
Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) won the largest number
of seats in the Constituent Assembly election held on 10 April 2008,
and formed a coalition government which included most of the parties
in the CA. Although acts of violence occurred during the pre-electoral
period, election observers noted that the elections themselves were
markedly peaceful and "well-carried out".
Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, the first President of Nepal
The newly elected Assembly met in
Kathmandu on 28 May 2008, and, after
a polling of 564 constituent Assembly members, 560 voted to form a new
government, with the monarchist Rastriya Prajatantra Party, which
had four members in the assembly, registering a dissenting note. At
that point, it was declared that
Nepal had become a secular and
inclusive democratic republic, with the government announcing
a three-day public holiday from 28–30 May. The king was thereafter
given 15 days to vacate
Narayanhity Palace so it could reopen as a
Nonetheless, political tensions and consequent power-sharing battles
have continued in Nepal. In May 2009, the Maoist-led government was
toppled and another coalition government with all major political
parties barring the Maoists was formed.
Madhav Kumar Nepal
Madhav Kumar Nepal of the
Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist)
Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) was made the
Prime Minister of the coalition government. In February 2011 the
Madhav Kumar Nepal
Madhav Kumar Nepal Government was toppled and
Jhala Nath Khanal
Jhala Nath Khanal of the
Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist)
Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) was made the
Prime Minister. In August 2011 the
Jhala Nath Khanal
Jhala Nath Khanal Government
was toppled and
Baburam Bhattarai of the Communist Party of Nepal
(Maoist) was made the Prime Minister.
The political parties were unable to draft a constitution in the
stipulated time. This led to dissolution of the Constituent
Assembly to pave way for new elections to strive for a new political
mandate. In opposition to the theory of separation of powers, then
Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi was made the chairman of the caretaker
government. Under Regmi, the nation saw peaceful elections for the
constituent assembly. The major forces in the earlier constituent
assembly (namely CPN Maoists and Madhesi parties) dropped to distant
3rd and even below.
In February 2014, after consensus was reached between the two major
parties in the constituent assembly, Sushil Koirala was sworn in as
the new prime minister of Nepal.
In 20 September 2015, a new constitution, the "Constitution of Nepal
2015" (Nepali: नेपालको संविधान
२०७२) was announced by President Ram Baran
Yadav in the
constituent assembly. The constituent assembly was transformed into a
legislative parliament by the then-chairman of that assembly. The new
Nepal has changed
Nepal practically into a federal
democratic republic by making 7 unnamed states.
On 25 April 2015, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal. Two
weeks later, on 12 May, another earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 hit
Nepal, which left more than 8,500 people dead and about 21,000,
In October 2015,
Bidhya Devi Bhandari
Bidhya Devi Bhandari was nominated as the first
Main article: Geography of Nepal
A map of Nepal.
A topographic map of Nepal.
Nepal map of Köppen climate classification.
Nepal is of roughly trapezoidal shape, 800 kilometres (497 mi)
long and 200 kilometres (124 mi) wide, with an area of
147,181 km2 (56,827 sq mi). See List of territories by
size for the comparative size of Nepal. It lies between latitudes 26°
and 31°N, and longitudes 80° and 89°E.
Nepal is commonly divided into three physiographic areas: Himal, Pahad
and Terai. These ecological belts run east–west and are vertically
intersected by Nepal's major, north to south flowing river systems.
The southern lowland plains or
India are part of the
northern rim of the Indo-Gangetic Plain.
Terai is a lowland region
containing some hill ranges. They were formed and are fed by three
major Himalayan rivers: the Kosi, the Narayani, and the Karnali as
well as smaller rivers rising below the permanent snowline. This
region has a subtropical to tropical climate. The outermost range of
Sivalik Hills or Churia Range cresting at 700 to
1,000 metres (2,297 to 3,281 ft) marks the limit of the Gangetic
Plain, however broad, low valleys called Inner Tarai Valleys (Bhitri
Tarai Uptyaka) lie north of these foothills in several places.
Pahad is a mountain region which does not generally contain snow. The
mountains vary from 800 to 4,000 metres (2,625 to 13,123 ft) in
altitude with progression from subtropical climates below 1,200 metres
(3,937 ft) to alpine climates above 3,600 metres
(11,811 ft). The
Lower Himalayan Range reaching 1,500 to 3,000
metres (4,921 to 9,843 ft) is the southern limit of this region,
with subtropical river valleys and "hills" alternating to the north of
this range. Population density is high in valleys but notably less
above 2,000 metres (6,562 ft) and very low above 2,500 metres
(8,202 ft) where snow occasionally falls in winter.
Himal is the mountain region containing snow and situated in the Great
Himalayan Range, makes up the northern part of Nepal. It contains the
highest elevations in the world including 8,848 metres
(29,029 ft) height
Mount Everest (Sagarmāthā in Nepali) on the
border with China. Seven other of the world's "eight-thousanders" are
Nepal or on its border with China: Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu,
Annapurna and Manaslu.
Nepal has five climatic zones, broadly corresponding to the altitudes.
The tropical and subtropical zones lie below 1,200 metres
(3,937 ft), the temperate zone 1,200 to 2,400 metres (3,937 to
7,874 ft), the cold zone 2,400 to 3,600 metres (7,874 to
11,811 ft), the subarctic zone 3,600 to 4,400 metres (11,811 to
14,436 ft), and the Arctic zone above 4,400 metres
Nepal experiences five seasons: summer, monsoon, autumn, winter and
Himalaya blocks cold winds from Central
Asia in the winter
and forms the northern limit of the monsoon wind patterns. In a land
once thickly forested, deforestation is a major problem in all
regions, with resulting erosion and degradation of ecosystems.
Nepal is popular for mountaineering, having some of the highest and
most challenging mountains in the world, including Mount Everest.
Technically, the southeast ridge on the Nepali side of the mountain is
easier to climb, so most climbers prefer to trek to Everest through
The highest mountains in
Nepal are given here:
Mount Everest (Highest in world)
Khumjung VDC, Solukhumbu District, Sagarmatha
Kangchenjunga (3rd highest)
Lelep VDC /
Yamphudin VDC, Taplejung District,
Mechi Zone (
Lhotse (4th highest)
Khumjung VDC, Solukhumbu District, Sagarmatha
Makalu (5th highest)
Makalu VDC, Sankhuwasabha District, Kosi Zone
Cho Oyu (6th highest)
Khumjung VDC, Solukhumbu District, Sagarmatha
Dhaulagiri (7th highest)
Mudi VDC /
Kuinemangale VDC, Myagdi District,
Manaslu (8th highest)
Gorkha District / Dharapani VDC,
Manang District, Gandaki Zone
Annapurna (10th highest)
Ghandruk VDC, Kaski District,
Gandaki Zone /
Narchyang VDC, Myagdi District, Dhawalagiri Zone
Main article: Geology of Nepal
Edmund Hillary and
Tenzing Norgay Sherpa from
New Zealand and Nepal
respectively became the first people to summit Mt Everest ; 'Top
of the World' in
Nepal in 1953
The collision between the
Indian subcontinent and Eurasia, which
Paleogene time and continues today, produced the Himalaya
and the Tibetan Plateau.
Nepal lies completely within this collision
zone, occupying the central sector of the Himalayan arc, nearly one
third of the 2,400 km (1,500 mi)-long
The Indian plate continues to move north relative to
Asia at the rate
of approximately 50 mm (2.0 in) per year. This is
approximately twice the speed at which human fingernails grow, which
is very fast given the size of the blocks of Earth's crust
involved.[original research?] As the strong Indian continental crust
subducts beneath the relatively weak Tibetan crust, it pushes up the
Himalayan Mountains. This collision zone has accommodated huge amounts
of crustal shortening as the rock sequences slide one over another.
Based on a study published in 2014, of the Main Frontal Thrust, on
average a great earthquake occurs every 750 ± 140 and
870 ± 350 years in the east
Nepal region. A study from 2015
found a 700-year delay between earthquakes in the region. The study
also suggests, that because of tectonic stress transfer, the
earthquake from 1934 in
Nepal and the 2015 earthquake are connected
– following a historic earthquake pattern.
Erosion of the
Himalayas is a very important source of sediment, which
flows via several great rivers: the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra
River systems to the Indian Ocean.
The dramatic differences in elevation found in
Nepal result in a
variety of biomes, from tropical savannas along the Indian border, to
subtropical broadleaf and coniferous forests in the Hill Region, to
temperate broadleaf and coniferous forests on the slopes of the
Himalaya, to montane grasslands and shrublands and rock and ice at the
At the lowest elevations is the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands
ecoregion. These form a mosaic with the Himalayan subtropical
broadleaf forests, which occur from 500 to 1,000 metres (1,600 to
3,300 ft) and include the Inner
Terai Valleys. Himalayan
subtropical pine forests occur between 1,000 and 2,000 metres (3,300
and 6,600 ft).
Above these elevations, the biogeography of
Nepal is generally divided
from east to west by the Gandaki River. Ecoregions to the east tend to
receive more precipitation and to be more species-rich. Those to the
west are drier with fewer species.
From 1,500 to 3,000 metres (4,900 to 9,800 ft), are temperate
broadleaf forests: the eastern and western Himalayan broadleaf
forests. From 3,000 to 4,000 metres (9,800 to 13,100 ft) are the
eastern and western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests. To 5,500
metres (18,000 ft) are the eastern and western Himalayan alpine
shrub and meadows.
Landscapes and Climates of Nepal
NASA Landsat-7 Image of Nepal.
Nepal shares its boundaries with India
Mount Everest, the highest peak on earth, lies on the Nepal-China
Barun Valley, one of many valleys in the
Himalaya created by glacier
Khartuwa village from
Thakuri village of Sitalpati,
Shankhuwasabha, eastern Nepal.
Annapurna range of the Himalayas.
Kali Gandaki Gorge
Kali Gandaki Gorge is one of the deepest gorges on earth.
Wind erosion in Kalopani
A field in Terai
Hills view of Ghorahi, Dang
View of mountains
Main article: Politics of Nepal
Main office holders
Bidhya Devi Bhandari,
President of Nepal
President of Nepal since 29 October 2015
Khadga Prasad Oli, Prime Minister since 15 February 2018
Nepal has seen rapid political changes during the last three decades.
Up until 1990,
Nepal was a monarchy under executive control of the
King. Faced with a communist movement against absolute monarchy, King
Birendra, in 1990, agreed to a large-scale political reform by
creating a parliamentary monarchy with the king as the head of state
and a prime minister as the head of the government.
Nepal's legislature was bicameral, consisting of a House of
Representatives called the Pratinidhi Sabha and a National Council
called the Rastriya Sabha. The House of Representatives consisted of
205 members directly elected by the people. The National Council had
60 members: ten nominated by the king, 35 elected by the House of
Representatives, and the remaining 15 elected by an electoral college
made up of chairs of villages and towns. The legislature had a
five-year term but was dissolvable by the king before its term could
end. All Nepali citizens 18 years and older became eligible to vote.
The executive comprised the King and the Council of Ministers (the
cabinet). The leader of the coalition or party securing the maximum
seats in an election was appointed as the Prime Minister. The Cabinet
was appointed by the king on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
Nepal tended to be highly unstable, falling either
through internal collapse or parliamentary dissolution by the monarch,
on the recommendation of the prime minister, according to the
constitution; no government has survived for more than two years since
The movement in April 2006 brought about a change in the nation's
governance: an interim constitution was promulgated, with the King
giving up power, and an interim House of Representatives was formed
with Maoist members after the new government held peace talks with the
Maoist rebels. The number of parliamentary seats was also increased to
330. In April 2007, the Communist Party of
Nepal (Maoist) joined the
interim government of Nepal.
In December 2007, the interim parliament passed a bill making
federal republic, with a president as head of state. Elections for the
constitutional assembly were held on 10 April 2008; the Maoist party
led the results but did not achieve a simple majority of seats.
The new parliament adopted the 2007 bill at its first meeting by an
overwhelming majority, and King
Gyanendra was given 15 days to leave
the Royal Palace in central Kathmandu. He left on 11 June.
On 26 June 2008, the prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who had
served as Acting Head of State since January 2007, announced that he
would resign on the election of the country's first president by the
Constituent Assembly. The first round of voting, on 19 July 2008, saw
Parmanand Jha win election as Nepali vice-president, but neither of
the contenders for president received the required 298 votes and a
second round was held two days later. Ram Baran
Yadav of the Nepali
Congress party defeated Maoist-backed
Ram Raja Prasad Singh with 308
of the 590 votes cast. Koirala submitted his resignation to the
new president after Yadav's swearing-in ceremony on 23 July 2008.
Prachanda speaking at a rally in Pokhara.
On 15 August 2008, Maoist leader
Prachanda (Pushpa Kamal Dahal) was
elected Prime Minister of Nepal, the first since the country's
transition from a monarchy to a republic. On 4 May 2009, Dahal
resigned over on-going conflicts with regard to the sacking of the
Army chief. Since Dahal's resignation, the country has been in a
serious political deadlock with one of the big issues being the
proposed integration of the former Maoist combatants, also known as
the People's Liberation Army, into the national security forces.
Jhala Nath Khanal
Jhala Nath Khanal of CPN (UML) was elected the Prime
Minister. Khanal was forced to step down as he could not succeed in
carrying forward the Peace Process and the constitution writing. On
August 2011, Maoist Babu Ram Bhattarai became third Prime Minister
after the election of constituent assembly. On 24 May 2012,
Nepals's Deputy PM Krishna Sitaula resigned. On 27 May 2012, the
country's Constituent Assembly failed to meet the deadline for writing
a new constitution for the country. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai
announced that new elections would be held thar later year. "We have
no other option but to go back to the people and elect a new assembly
to write the constitution," he said in a nationally televised speech.
One of the main obstacles has been disagreement over whether the
states which will be created will be based on ethnicity. This
election was delayed by the Election Commission for a year, eventually
occurring in late 2013 and electing the country's Second Constituent
Assembly. This assembly promulgated the extant Constitution of Nepal
Nepal is one of the few countries in
Asia to abolish the death
Nepal is the only Asian country where the possibility of
same-sex marriage has been proposed in the high court and in the
legislature although same-sex marriage currently does not exist in
Nepal (see also
LGBT rights in Nepal
LGBT rights in Nepal and
Same-sex marriage in Nepal).
The decision was based on a seven-person government committee study,
and enacted through Supreme Court's ruling November 2008. The ruling
granted full rights for
LGBT individuals, including the right to
marry, and Nepalese now can get citizenship as a third gender
rather than male or female as authorised by Nepal's Supreme Court in
Government of Nepal
Government of Nepal and Constitution of Nepal
Nepal is governed according to the Constitution of Nepal, which came
into effect on 20 September 2015, replacing the Interim Constitution
of 2007. The Constitution was drafted by the Second Constituent
Assembly following the failure of the First Constituent Assembly to
produce a constitution in its mandated period. The constitution is the
fundamental law of Nepal. It defines
Nepal as having multi-ethnic,
multi-lingual, multi-religious, multi-cultural characteristics with
common aspirations of people living in diverse geographical regions,
and being committed to and united by a bond of allegiance to national
independence, territorial integrity, national interest and prosperity
of Nepal. All the
Nepali people collectively constitute the nation.
Entrance to Singha Durbar, the seat of the Nepali government in
Constitution of Nepal
Constitution of Nepal has defined three organs of the
Executive: The form of governance of
Nepal is multi-party,
competitive, federal democratic republican parliamentary system based
on plurality. The executive power of
Nepal rest with the Council of
Ministers in accordance with the Constitution and law. The President
appoint the parliamentary party leader of the political party with the
majority in the House of Representatives as a Prime Minister, and a
Council of Ministers is formed in his/her chairmanship. The executive
power of the provinces, pursuant to the Constitution and laws, is
vested in the Council of Ministers of the province. The executive
power of the province shall be exercised by the province Head in case
of absence of the province Executive in a State of Emergency or
enforcement of the Federal rule. Every province has a ceremonial Head
as the representative of the Federal government. The President
appoints a Governor for every province. The Governor exercises the
rights and duties as specified in the constitution or laws. The
Governor appoints the leader of the parliamentary party with the
majority in the Provincial Assembly as the Chief Minister and the
Council of Ministers are formed under the chairpersonship of the Chief
Legislature of Nepal, called Federal Parliament,
consisting of two Houses, namely the House of Representatives and the
National Assembly. Except when dissolved earlier, the term of House of
Representatives is five years. The House of Representatives consist of
275 members. 165 members elected through the first-past-the-post
electoral system consisting of one member from each of the one hundred
and sixty five electoral constituencies formed by dividing
165 constituencies based on geography, and population. 110 elected
from proportional representation electoral system where voters vote
for parties, while treating the whole country as a single electoral
constituency. The National Assembly is a permanent house. The tenure
of members of National Assembly is six years. The National Assembly s
consist of two 59 members. 56 members elected from an Electoral
College comprising members of provincial Assembly and chairpersons and
vice-chairpersons of Village councils and Mayors and Deputy Mayors of
Municipal councils, with different weights of votes for each, with
eight members from each state, including at least three women, one
Dalit, one person with disability or minority. 3 members, including at
least one woman, to be nominated by the President on the
recommendation of Government of Nepal. A Pradesh Sabha or Provincial
Assembly is the unicameral legislative assembly for a federal
province. The term for the Provincial Assembly is five years,
except when dissolved earlier.
Judicial: Powers relating to justice in
Nepal exercised by courts and
other judicial institutions in accordance with the provisions of this
Constitution, other laws and recognised principles of justice. Nepal
has a unitary three-tier independent judiciary that comprises the
Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of Nepal, 7 High Courts,
and a large number of trial courts.
Main article: Administrative divisions of Nepal
As of 3 April 2018,
Nepal is divided into 7 provinces and 77
districts. It has 753 local units. There are 6 metropolises, 11
sub-metropolises, 276 municipal councils and 460 village councils for
official works. The constitution grants 22 absolute powers to the
local units while they share 15 more powers with the central and state
The administrative subdivisions of
Nepal (provinces and districts).
Province No. 1
Province No. 2
Province No. 3
Province No. 4
Province No. 5
Province No. 7
Foreign relations and military
Foreign relations of Nepal
Foreign relations of Nepal and Nepalese Armed Forces
Nepal in Washington, D.C.
Gurkha Memorial, London
Nepal has close ties with both of its neighbors,
India and China. In
accordance with a long-standing treaty, Indian and Nepali citizens may
travel to each other's countries without a passport or visa. Nepali
citizens may work in
India without legal restriction. The Indian Army
Gorkha regiments consisting of
Gorkha troops recruited
mostly from Nepal.
However, in the years since the
Government of Nepal
Government of Nepal has been
communised and dominated by socialists, and India's government has
been controlled by more right-wing parties,
India has been
remilitarising the "porous" Indo-Nepali border to stifle the flow of
Nepal established relations with the People's
China on 1
August 1955, and relations since have been based on the Five
Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.
Nepal has aided
China in the
aftermath of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, and
China has provided
economic assistance for Nepali infrastructure. Both countries have
cooperated to host the 2008 Summer Olympics summit of Mt. Everest.
Nepal has assisted in curbing anti-
China protests from the Tibetan
Nepal's military consists of the Nepali Army, which includes the
Nepali Army Air Service. The Nepali Police Force is the civilian
police and the Armed Police Force Nepal is the paramilitary force.
Service is voluntary and the minimum age for enlistment is 18 years.
Nepal spends $99.2 million (2004) on its military—1.5% of its GDP.
Much of the equipment and arms are imported from India. Consequently,
the US provided M16s, M4s and other Colt weapons to combat communist
(Maoist) insurgents. The standard-issue battle rifle of the Nepali
army is the Colt M16.
In the new regulations by Nepali Army, female soldiers have been
barred from participating in combat situations and fighting in the
frontlines of war. However, they are allowed to be a part of the army
in sections like intelligence, headquarters, signals and
Main article: Economy of Nepal
A proportional representation of Nepal's exports.
The Mountain Museum in Pokhara, the country's second largest city and
a hub of tourism in Nepal
Terraced rice farming in Nepal
Nepalese silver currency, 1695
Nepalese Chamber of Commerce, Lhasa, 1955
Nepal's gross domestic product (GDP) for 2012 was estimated at over
$17.921 billion (adjusted to nominal GDP). In 2010, agriculture
accounted for 36.1%, services comprised 48.5%, and industry 15.4% of
Nepal's GDP. While agriculture and industry are contracting, the
contribution by the service sector is increasing.
Agriculture employs 76% of the workforce, services 18% and
manufacturing and craft-based industry 6%. Agricultural
produce – mostly grown in the
Terai region bordering
India – includes tea, rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, root crops,
milk, and water buffalo meat. Industry mainly involves the processing
of agricultural produce, including jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and
grain. Its workforce of about 10 million suffers from a severe
shortage of skilled labour.
Nepal's economic growth continues to be adversely affected by the
political uncertainty. Nevertheless, real GDP growth was estimated to
increase to almost 5 percent for 2011–2012. This is an improvement
from the 3.5 percent GDP growth in 2010–2011 and would be the
second-highest growth rate in the post-conflict era. Sources of
growth include agriculture, construction, financial and other
services. The contribution of growth by consumption fuelled by
remittances has declined since 2010/2011. While remittance growth
slowed to 11 percent (in Nepali Rupee terms) in 2010/2011, it has
since increased to 37 percent. Remittances are estimated to be
equivalent to 25–30 percent of GDP. Inflation has been reduced to a
three-year low of 7 percent.
The proportion of poor people has declined substantially since 2003.
The percentage of people living below the international poverty line
(people earning less than US$1.25 per day) has halved in seven
years. At this measure of poverty the percentage of poor people
declined from 53.1% in 2003/2004 to 24.8% in 2010/2011. With a
higher poverty line of US$2 per-capita per day, poverty declined by
one-quarter to 57.3%. However, the income distribution remains
Kathmandu street vendors
In a recent survey,
Nepal has performed extremely well in reducing
poverty along with Rwanda and
Bangladesh as the percentage of poor
dropped to 44.2 percent of the population in 2011 from 64.7 percent in
2006—4.1 percentage points per year, which means that
Nepal has made
improvement in sectors like nutrition, child mortality, electricity,
improved flooring and assets. If the progress of reducing poverty
continues at this rate, then it is predicted that
Nepal will halve the
current poverty rate and eradicate it within the next 20
The spectacular landscape and diverse, exotic cultures of Nepal
represent considerable potential for tourism, but growth in the
industry has been stifled by political instability and poor
infrastructure. Despite these problems, in 2012 the number of
international tourists visiting
Nepal was 598,204, a 10% increase on
the previous year. The tourism sector contributed nearly 3% of
national GDP in 2012 and is the second-biggest foreign income earner
The rate of unemployment and underemployment approaches half of the
working-age population. Thus many Nepali citizens move to other
countries in search of work. Destinations include India, Qatar, the
United States, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Japan,
Brunei Darussalam, Australia, and Canada.
Nepal receives $50
million a year through the
Gurkha soldiers who serve in the Indian and
British armies and are highly esteemed for their skill and bravery. As
of 2010[update], the total remittance value is around $3.5
billion. In 2009 alone, the remittance contributed to 22.9% of
the nation's GDP.
A long-standing economic agreement underpins a close relationship with
India. The country receives foreign aid from the UK, India,
Japan, the US, the EU, China, Switzerland, and Scandinavian countries.
Poverty is acute; per-capita income is around $1,000. The
distribution of wealth among the Nepali is consistent with that in
many developed and developing countries: the highest 10% of households
control 39.1% of the national wealth and the lowest 10% control only
The government's budget is about $1.153 billion, with an expenditure
of $1.789 billion (FY 20005/06). The Nepali rupee has been tied to the
Indian rupee at an exchange rate of 1.6 for many years. Since the
loosening of exchange rate controls in the early 1990s, the black
market for foreign exchange has all but disappeared. The inflation
rate has dropped to 2.9% after a period of higher inflation during the
Nepal's exports of mainly carpets, clothing, hemp, leather goods, jute
goods and grain total $822 million. Import commodities of mainly gold,
machinery and equipment, petroleum products and fertiliser total US$2
European Union (EU) (46.13%), the US (17.4%), and Germany
(7.1%) are its main export partners. The
European Union has emerged
the largest buyer of Nepali ready-made garments (RMG). Exports to the
EU accounted for "46.13 percent of the country's total garment
exports". Nepal's import partners include
India (47.5%), the
United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates (11.2%),
Saudi Arabia (4.9%), and
Besides having landlocked, rugged geography, few tangible natural
resources and poor infrastructure, the ineffective post-1950
government and the long-running civil war are also factors in stunting
the nation's economic growth and development.
Main article: Energy in Nepal
Middle Marshyandi Hydroelectricity Dam.
Nepal has significant
potential to generate hydropower, which it plans to export across
The bulk of the energy in
Nepal comes from fuel wood (68%),
agricultural waste (15%), animal dung (8%), and imported fossil fuels
(8%). Except for some lignite deposits,
Nepal has no known
oil, gas or coal deposits. All commercial fossil fuels (mainly oil and
coal) are either imported from
India or from international markets
India and China. Fuel imports absorb over one-fourth of
Nepal's foreign exchange earnings.
Only about 1% energy need is fulfilled by electricity. The perennial
nature of Nepali rivers and the steep gradient of the country's
topography provide ideal conditions for the development of some of the
world's largest hydroelectric projects. Current estimates put Nepal's
economically feasible hydropower potential to be approximately 83,000
MW from 66 hydropower project sites. However, currently
Nepal has been able to exploit only about 600 MW from 20 medium to
large hydropower plants and a number of small and micro hydropower
plants. There are 9 major hydropower plants under construction,
and additional 27 sites considered for potential development.
Only about 40% of Nepal's population has access to electricity.
There is a great disparity between urban and rural areas. The
electrification rate in urban areas is 90%, whereas the rate for rural
areas is only 5%. Power cuts of up to 22 hours a day take place
in peak demand periods of winter and the peak electricity demand is
almost the double the capability or dependable capacity. The
position of the power sector remains unsatisfactory because of high
tariffs, high system losses, high generation costs, high overheads,
over staffing, and lower domestic demand.
Main article: Transport in Nepal
Means of transport in mountain area
Nepal remains isolated from the world's major land, air and sea
transport routes although, within the country, aviation is in a better
state, with 47 airports, 11 of them with paved runways; flights
are frequent and support a sizable traffic. The hilly and mountainous
terrain in the northern two-thirds of the country has made the
building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive. In
2007 there were just over 10,142 km (6,302 mi) of paved
roads, and 7,140 km (4,437 mi) of unpaved road, and one
59 km (37 mi) railway line in the south.
More than one-third of its people live at least a two hours walk from
the nearest all-season road. Only recently all district headquarters
(except for Simikot and Dunai) became reachable by road from
Kathmandu. In addition, around 60% of the road network and most rural
roads are not operable during the rainy season. The only
practical seaport of entry for goods bound for
West Bengal state of India. Internally, the poor state of development
of the road system makes access to markets, schools, and health
clinics a challenge.
Telecommunications and mass media
According to the
Nepal Telecommunication Authority MIS May 2012
report, there are seven operators and the total voice telephony
subscribers including fixed and mobile are 16,350,946 which gives a
penetration rate of 61.42%. The fixed telephone service account for
9.37%, mobile for 64.63%, and other services (LM, GMPCS) for 3.76% of
the total penetration rate. Similarly, the numbers of subscribers to
data/internet services are 4,667,536 which represents 17.53%
penetration rate. Most of the data service is accounted by GPRS users.
Twelve months earlier the data/internet penetration was 10.05%, thus
this represents a growth rate of 74.77%.
Not only has there been strong subscriber growth, especially in the
mobile sector, but there was evidence of a clear vision in the sector,
including putting a reform process in place and planning for the
building of necessary telecommunications infrastructure. Most
importantly, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) and
the telecom regulator, the National Telecommunications Authority
(NTA), have both been very active in the performance of their
Despite all the effort, there remained a significant disparity between
the high coverage levels in the cities and the coverage available in
the underdeveloped rural regions. Progress on providing some minimum
access had been good. Of a total of 3,914 village development
committees across the country, 306 were unserved by December
2009. In order to meet future demand, it was estimated that Nepal
needed to invest around US$135 million annually in its telecom
sector. In 2009, the telecommunication sector alone contributed
to 1% of the nation's GDP. As of 30 September 2012,
1,828,700 Facebook users.
As of 2007[update], the state operates two television stations as well
as national and regional radio stations. There are roughly 30
independent TV channels registered, with only about half in regular
operation. Nearly 400 FM radio stations are licensed with roughly 300
operational. According to the 2011 census, the percentage of
households possessing radio was 50.82%, television 36.45%, cable TV
19.33%, computer 7.23%. According to the Press Council Nepal, as of
2012[update] there are 2,038 registered newspapers in Nepal, among
which 514 are in publication. In 2013, Reporters Without Borders
Nepal at 118th place in the world in terms of press
Science and technology
Main article: Science and technology in Nepal
Erected by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1702,
Nyatapola is an important
tourist attraction in the historical city of Bhaktapur.
Historical kingdoms that existed in the
Kathmandu valley are found to
have made use of some clever technologies in numerous areas such as
architecture, agriculture, civil engineering, water management, etc.
The Gopals and Abhirs, who ruled the valley up until c. 1000 BC, used
temporary materials for construction such as bamboo, hay, timber, etc.
Kirat period (700 BC – 110 AD) employed the technology of brick
firing as well as produced quality woolen shawls. Similarly, stupas,
idols, canals, self-recharging ponds, reservoirs, etc. constructed
during the Lichhavi era (110–879 AD) are intact to this day, which
manifests the ingenuity of traditional architecture. Moreover, the
Malla period (1200–1768 AD) saw an impressive growth in
architecture, on par with its advanced contemporaries. An archetypal
example of Malla architecture is Nyatapola, a five-storied, 30-metre
tall temple in Bhaktapur, which has strangely survived at least four
major earthquakes, including the April 2015
Nepal was a late entrant into the modern world of science and
technology. Nepal’s first institution of higher education,
Tri-Chandra College, was established by Chandra Shumsher in 1918. The
college introduced science at the Intermediate level a year later,
marking the genesis of formal science education in the country.
However, the college was not accessible to the general public, but
only to a handful of members of the Rana regime. Throughout the Rana
regime that lasted for well over a century,
Nepal was effectively
isolated from the rest of the world. Owing to this isolation, Nepal
was relatively untouched by and unfamiliar of social transformations
brought about by the British invasion in
India and the Industrial
Revolution in the West. However, after the advent of democracy
and abolition of Rana regime in 1951,
Nepal broke free from the
shackles of self-imposed isolation and opened up to the outside world.
This opening marked the initiation of S&T activities in the
An underdeveloped country,
Nepal is plagued with problems such as
poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, and the like. Consequently, science
and technology have invariably lagged behind in the priority list of
the government. On the other hand, citing poor university education at
home, tens of thousands of Nepali students leave the country every
year, with half of them never returning. These factors have
been huge deterrents to the development of science and technology in
The Community Forestry Program in
Nepal is a participatory
environmental governance that encompasses well-defined policies,
institutions, and practices. The program addresses the twin goals of
forest conservation and poverty reduction. As more than 70 percent of
Nepal's population depends on agriculture for their livelihood,
community management of forests has been a critically important
intervention. Through legislative developments and operational
innovations over three decades, the program has evolved from a
protection-oriented, conservation-focused agenda to a much more
broad-based strategy for forest use, enterprise development, and
livelihood improvement. By April 2009, one-third of Nepal's population
was participating in the program, directly managing more than
one-fourth of Nepal's forest area.
The immediate livelihood benefits derived by rural households bolster
strong collective action wherein local communities actively and
sustainably manage forest resources. Community forests also became the
source of diversified investment capital and raw material for new
market-oriented livelihoods. Community forestry shows traits of
political, financial, and ecological sustainability, including an
emergence of a strong legal and regulatory framework, and robust civil
society institutions and networks. However, a continuing challenge is
to ensure equitable distribution of benefits to women and marginalised
groups. Lessons for replication emphasise experiential learning,
establishment of a strong civil society network, flexible regulation
to encourage diverse institutional modalities, and responsiveness of
government and policymakers to a multistakeholder collaborative
Crime and law enforcement
Main article: Law enforcement in Nepal
See also: Directorate of Military Intelligence, Nepal; National
Investigation Department of Nepal; and Human trafficking in Nepal
Law enforcement in Nepal is primarily the responsibility of the Nepali
Police Force which is the national police of Nepal. It is
independent of the Nepali Army. In the days of its establishment,
Nepal Police personnel were mainly drawn from the armed forces of the
Nepali Congress Party which fought against the feudal Rana autocracy
in Nepal. The
Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) and National
Investigation Department of
Nepal (NID) are the investigation agencies
of Nepal. They have offices in all 75 administrative districts
including regional offices in five regions and zonal offices in 14
zones. Numbers vary from three to five members at each district level
in rural districts, and numbers can be higher in urban districts. They
have both Domestic and International surveillance unit which mainly
deals with cross border terrorists, drug trafficking and money
A 2010 survey estimated about 46,000 hard drug users in the country,
with 70% of the users to be within the age group of 15 to 29. The
same survey also reported that 19% of the users had been introduced to
hard drugs when they were less than 15 years old; and 14.4% of drug
users were attending school or college. Only 12 of the 17
municipalities studied had any type of rehabilitation
centre. There has been a sharp increase in the seizure of
drugs such as hashish, heroin and opium in the past few years; and
there are indications that drug traffickers are trying to establish
Nepal as a transit point.
Human trafficking and child labour are major problems in
Nepal. Nepali victims are trafficked within Nepal, to
India, the Middle East, and other areas such as
Malaysia and forced to
become prostitutes, domestic servants, beggars, factory workers, mine
workers, circus performers, child soldiers, and others. Sex
trafficking is particularly rampant within
Nepal and to India, with as
many as 5,000 to 10,000 women and girls trafficked to
India alone each
Capital punishment was abolished in
Nepal in 1997. In 2008, the
Nepali government abolished the
Haliya system of forced labour,
freeing about 20,000 people. However, the effectiveness of this
has been questioned by the Asian Legal Resource Centre.
Main article: Demographics of Nepal
Nepalese gentlemen in 1940
Nepalese women dancing for Teej
Population density map of Nepal
According to the 2011 census, Nepal's population grew from 9 million
people in 1950 to 26.5 million. From 2001 to 2011, the average family
size declined from 5.44 to 4.9. The census also noted some 1.9 million
absentee people, over a million more than in 2001; most are male
labourers employed overseas, predominantly in
South Asia and the
Middle East. This correlated with the drop in sex ratio from 94.41 as
compared to 99.80 for 2001. The annual population growth rate is
The citizens of
Nepal are known as Nepali or Nepalese. The country is
home to people of many different national origins. As a result,
Nepalese do not equate their nationality with ethnicity, but with
citizenship and allegiance. Although citizens make up the majority of
Nepalese, non-citizen residents, dual citizens, and expatriates may
also claim a Nepalese identity.
Nepal is multicultural and multiethnic
country because it became a country by occupying several small
kingdoms such as Mustang,
Videha (Mithila), Madhesh, and
the 18th century. The oldest settlements in Mithila and
Nepal is historically inhabited by Kirants
Mongoloid, Rai and
Limbu people. The mountainous region is sparsely
populated above 3,000 m (9,800 ft), but in central and
Nepal ethnic Sherpa and Lamapeople inhabit even higher
semi-arid valleys north of the Himalaya. The Nepali speaking Khas
people mostly inhabit central and southern regions.
in the middle hill region, constitutes a small fraction of the
nation's area but is the most densely populated, with almost 5 percent
of the nation's population. The Nepali are descendants of three major
migrations from India, Tibet, and North Burma and the Chinese state of
Yunnan via Assam. Among the earliest inhabitants were the
east mid-region, Newars of the
Kathmandu Valley, aboriginal Tharus of
Despite the migration of a significant section of the population to
Madhesh (southern plains) in recent years, the majority of
Nepalese still live in the central highlands; the northern mountains
are sparsely populated. Kathmandu, with a population of over 2.6
million (metropolitan area: 5 million),[dubious – discuss] is the
largest city in the country and the cultural and economic heart.
According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the US
Refugees and Immigrants,
Nepal hosted a population of
refugees and asylum seekers in 2007 numbering approximately 130,000.
Of this population, approximately 109,200 persons were from
20,500 from People's
Republic of China. The government of
Bhutanese refugees to seven camps in the
Morang districts, and refugees were not permitted to work in most
professions. At present, the
United States is working towards
resettling more than 60,000 of these refugees in the US.
Population below 14 Years old
Population of age 15 to 59
Population above 60
Median age (Average)
Median age (Male)
Median age (Females)
Life expectancy (Average) (Reference:)
Life expectancy (Male)
Life expectancy (Female)
Literacy Rate (Average)
Literacy Rate (Male)
Literacy Rate (Female)
A Nepalese Tibetan monk
Main article: Languages of Nepal
Nepal's diverse linguistic heritage stems from three major language
groups: Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman, and various indigenous language
isolates. The major languages of
Nepal (percent spoken as native
language) according to the 2011 census are Nepali (44.6%), Maithili
Awadhi Language) (6.0%), Tharu (5.8%), Tamang
Nepal Bhasa (3.2%),
Bajjika (3%) and Magar (3.0%), Doteli
Urdu (2.6%) and Sunwar.
Nepal is home to at least four
indigenous sign languages.
Derived from Sanskrit, Nepali is written in
Devanagari script. Nepali
is the official language and serves as lingua franca among Nepali of
different ethnolinguistic groups. The regional languages Maithili,
Bhojpuri and rarely
Nepali Muslims are spoken in the
Madhesh region. Many Nepali in government and business speak
Maithili as the main language and Nepali as their de facto lingua
franca. Varieties of Tibetan are spoken in and north of the higher
Himalaya where standard literary Tibetan is widely understood by those
with religious education. Local dialects in the
Terai and hills are
mostly unwritten with efforts underway to develop systems for writing
Devanagari or the Roman alphabet.
Main article: Religion in Nepal
Religion in Nepal
Religion in Nepal (2011)
Sadhus in Pashupatinath Temple
The significant majority of the Nepalese population follows Hinduism.
Shiva is regarded as the guardian deity of the country.
home to the famous Lord
Shiva temple, the Pashupatinath Temple, where
Hindus from all over the world come for pilgrimage. According to Hindu
mythology, the goddess
Sita of the epic Ramayana, was born in the
Mithila Kingdom of King
Lumbini is a
Buddhist pilgrimage site and
UNESCO World Heritage Site
in the Kapilavastu district. Traditionally it is held to be the
birthplace in about 563 B.C. of Siddhartha Gautama, a Kshatriya caste
prince of the Sakya clan, who as the Buddha Gautama, founded Buddhism.
The holy site of
Lumbini is bordered by a large monastic zone, in
which only monasteries can be built. All three main branches of
Buddhism exist in
Nepal and the
Newa people have their own branch of
Buddhism is also the dominant religion of the thinly
populated northern areas, which are mostly inhabited by
Tibetan-related peoples, such as the Sherpa.
The Buddha, born as a Hindu, is also said to be a descendant of Vedic
Sage Angirasa in many Buddhist texts. The Buddha's family surname
is associated with Gautama Maharishi. Differences between Hindus
and Buddhists have been minimal in
Nepal due to the cultural and
historical intermingling of
Hindu and Buddhist beliefs. Moreover,
Hinduism were never two distinct religions
in the western sense of the word. In Nepal, the faiths share common
temples and worship common deities. Among other natives of Nepal,
those more influenced by
Hinduism were the Magar, Sunwar,
Rai and the Gurkhas.
Hindu influence is less prominent among the
Gurung, Bhutia, and Thakali groups who employ Buddhist monks for their
religious ceremonies. Most of the festivals in
Hindu. The Machendrajatra festival, dedicated to
Siddha, is celebrated by many Buddhists in
Nepal as a main
festival. As it is believed that Ne Muni established Nepal,
some important priests in
Nepal are called "Tirthaguru Nemuni". Islam
is a minority religion in Nepal, with 4.2% of the population being
Muslim according to a 2006 Nepali census. Mundhum, Christianity
Jainism are other minority faiths.
Main article: Education in Nepal
The overall literacy rate (for population age 5 years and above)
increased from 54.1% in 2001 to 65.9% in 2011. The male literacy rate
was 75.1% compared to the female literacy rate of 57.4%. The highest
literacy rate was reported in
Kathmandu district (86.3%) and lowest in
Rautahat (41.7%). While the net primary enrollment rate was 74% in
2005; in 2009, that enrollment rate was 90%.
However, increasing access to secondary education (grade 9–12)
remains a major challenge, as evidenced by the low net enrollment rate
of 24% at this level. More than half of primary students do not enter
secondary schools, and only one-half of them complete secondary
schooling. In addition, fewer girls than boys join secondary schools
and, among those who do, fewer complete the 10th grade.
Nepal has seven universities: Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu
Pokhara University, Purbanchal University, Mahendra
Sanskrit University, Far-western University, and Agriculture and
Forestry University. Some newly proposed universities are Lumbini
Bouddha University, and Mid-Western University. Some fine scholarship
has emerged in the post-1990 era.
Main article: Health in Nepal
Kunde Hospital in remote Himalayan region
Public health and health care services in
Nepal are provided by both
the public and private sectors and fare poorly by international
standards. According to 2011 census, more than
one-third (38.17%) of the total households do not have a toilet.
Tap water is the main source of drinking water for 47.78% of
households, tube well/hand pump is the main source of drinking water
for about 35% of households, while spout, uncovered well/kuwa, and
covered well/kuwa are the main source for 5.74%, 4.71%, and 2.45%
respectively. Based on 2010 World Health Organization (WHO) data,
Nepal ranked 139th in life expectancy in 2010 with the average Nepali
living to 65.8 years.
Diseases are more prevalent in
Nepal than in other South Asian
countries, especially in rural areas. Leading diseases and illnesses
include diarrhea, gastrointestinal disorders, goitres, intestinal
parasites, leprosy, visceral leishmaniasis and tuberculosis.
About 4 out of 1,000 adults aged 15 to 49 had human immunodeficiency
virus (HIV), and the HIV prevalence rate was 0.5%.
Malnutrition also remains very high: about 47% of children under five
are stunted, 15 percent wasted, and 36 percent underweight, although
there has been a declining trend for these rates over the past five
years, they remain alarmingly high. In spite of these figures,
improvements in health care have been made, most notably in
maternal-child health. In 2012, the under-five infant mortality was
estimated to be 41 out of every 1000 children. Overall
Human Development Index
Human Development Index (HDI) for health was 0.77 in 2011,
Nepal 126 out of 194 countries, up from 0.444 in
Largest cities or towns in Nepal
Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development 
Culture of Nepal
Culture of Nepal and Music of Nepal
The Nepalese actress and
UN Goodwill Ambassador Manisha Koirala
Folklore is an integral part of Nepali society. Traditional stories
are rooted in the reality of day-to-day life, tales of love, affection
and battles as well as demons and ghosts and thus reflect local
lifestyles, culture, and beliefs. Many Nepali folktales are enacted
through the medium of dance and music.
Most houses in the rural lowlands of
Nepal are made up of a tight
bamboo framework and walls of a mud and cow-dung mix. These dwellings
remain cool in summer and retain warmth in winter. Houses in the hills
are usually made of unbaked bricks with thatch or tile roofing. At
high elevations construction changes to stone masonry and slate may be
used on roofs.
Nepal's flag is the only national flag in the world that is not
rectangular in shape. The constitution of
instructions for a geometric construction of the flag. According
to its official description, the red in the flag stands for victory in
war or courage, and is also the colour of the rhododendron, the
national flower of Nepal. Red also stands for aggression. The flag's
blue border signifies peace. The curved moon on the flag is a symbol
of the peaceful and calm nature of Nepali, while the sun represents
the aggressiveness of Nepali warriors.
Holidays and festivals
Main article: List of festivals in Nepal
With 36 days a year,
Nepal is the country that enjoys the most number
of public holidays in the world. 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 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. Being a Secular
Nepal has holiday on main festivals of minority religions in
the nation too.
Main article: Nepalese cuisine
The national cuisine of
Dhindo and Gundruk.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
Main article: Sports in Nepal
Association football is the most popular sport in Nepal and was
first played during the
Rana dynasty in 1921. The one and only
international stadium in the country is the Dasarath Rangasala Stadium
where the national team plays its home matches.
Cricket has been gaining popularity since the last decade. Since the
establishment of the national team,
Nepal has played its home matches
Tribhuvan University International
Cricket Ground. The
national team has since won the 2012 ICC World
Cricket League Division
Four and the 2013 ICC World
Cricket League Division Three
simultaneously, hence qualifying for 2014
Cricket World Cup Qualifier.
They also qualified for the
2014 ICC World Twenty20
2014 ICC World Twenty20 in
Bangladesh, and this qualification has been the farthest the team
have ever made in an ICC event. On 28 June 2014, the ICC awarded T20I
status to Nepal, who took part and performed exceptionally well in the
2014 ICC World Twenty20.
Nepal had already played three T20I
matches before gaining the status, as ICC had earlier announced that
all matches at the
2014 ICC World Twenty20
2014 ICC World Twenty20 would have T20I
Nepal won the 2014 ICC World
Cricket League Division
Three held in
Malaysia and qualified for the 2015 ICC World Cricket
League Division Two.
Nepal finished fourth in the 2015 ICC World
Cricket League Division
Two in Namibia and qualified for the 2015–17 ICC World Cricket
League Championship. But
Nepal failed to secure promotion to
Division One and qualification to 2015–17 ICC Intercontinental Cup
after finishing third in the round-robin stage. Basanta
Regmi became the first bowler to take 100 wickets in the World Cricket
League. He achieved this feat after taking 2 wickets against
Netherlands in the tournament. After finishing 2018 ICC World
Cricket League Division Two at second place
Nepal claims the place in
Cricket World Cup Qualifier. On 15 March 2018
Nepal claimed One
Day International (ODI) status for the first time with their win over
Papua New Guinea in the 2018
Cricket World Cup Qualifier play off
Units of measurement
Main article: Nepalese customary units of measurement
Although the country has adopted the metric system as its official
standard since 1968, traditional units of measurement are still
commonplace. The customary units of area employed in the
– such as katha, bigha, etc. – sound similar to those used
elsewhere in South Asia. However, they vary markedly in size, as they
seem to have been standardised to different measures of area. For
instance, a katha in
Nepal is arbitrarily set at 338.63 m², while a
Bangladesh means about 67 m² of land area. In addition to
native ones, imperial units pertaining to length (specifically inch
and foot) and metric units such as kilogram and litre are also fairly
common in everyday trade and commerce.
In popular media
Some notable books and films set against the backdrop of Nepal
Suyin, Han (1958). The Mountain Is Young.
Matthiessen, Peter (1978). The Snow Leopard.
Thapa, Manjushree (2001). The Tutor of History.
Wilson-Howarth, Jane (2007). A Glimpse of Eternal Snows.
See also: List of foreign films shot in Nepal
The Golden Child
The Golden Child (1986)
Seven Years in
Little Buddha (1993)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Holi festival celebrations in Nepal
Traditional Pahadi folk dress
Nepal cricket team
Musicians playing devotional songs
One of the Rani palace of Nepal
Urban Newari cuisine
Outline of Nepal
Human rights in Nepal
Gender inequality in Nepal
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