Nepal

Nepal (officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal), is a small land-locked country. It is high in biodiversity and contains a wide range of flora and fauna. It occupies an area of 147,181 square kilometers and a population of about 28.98 million. The sad reality is that more than two million Nepalese have gone abroad, both to work and send money home as well as to study. This has resulted in a lack of skilled manpower remaining within the country. While Nepal is an underdeveloped country, it is transitioning toward a more sustainable development pathway. However, illiteracy and poverty have recently become serious issues. ​

Nepal sits between the neighboring countries of China and India. It consists of five distinct regions; the capital city of Kathmandu is in the Central Development Region. Nepal is home to the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest and is the birthplace of the Buddha; these are both the pride of the country.

Nepal is divided geographically into three sub regions; the Himalayan region, the Hilly region and the Terai region. Each of these regions has their own distinct climate and features. Mount Everest lies in the Himalayan region, whereas the Terai region is a flat, low land region in the south of the country. This is a major tourist area which offers safaris, hiking and trekking. The Chitwan National Park lies in Terai region.

Most Nepalese depend on the land for their daily livelihood. Some still go into the jungle to gather resources such as firewood, as well as to materials to build their houses.

The spectacular landscape and the diverse, exotic cultures of Nepal hold considerable promise for tourism, but growth in this hospitality industry has been stifled by recent political events.

Most energy needs are met through fuel wood (68%), agricultural waste (15%), animal dung (8%) and imported fossil fuel (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 routed through India. Fuel imports absorb over one-fourth of Nepal's foreign exchange earnings.

Electricity provides only about 1% of Nepal’s energy needs. Paradoxically, the constant flow of Nepal’s rivers and the steep gradient of the country's topography provide ideal conditions to develop some of the world's largest hydroelectric projects. Current estimates put Nepal's economically feasible hydro-power potential to be approximately 44,000 MW from 66 hydro-power project sites. However, currently Nepal has been able to exploit only about 600 MW from 20 major hydro-power plants and a number of small and micro hydro-power plants. There are 9 major hydro-power plants under construction, and additional 27 sites considered for potential development.

Only about 40% of Nepal's population has access to electricity and there is a great disparity between urban and rural areas. The electrification rate in urban areas is 90 percent whereas that in rural area is only 5 percent. The electrical system is very challenging due to high tariffs, high system losses, high generation costs, high overheads, over staffing and low domestic demand.

Nepal remains isolated from the world's major land, air and sea transport routes. Within the country, aviation is in a good state with 47 airports (11 of them with paved runways), flights are frequent and they support sizable traffic. The hilly and mountainous terrain has made the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive. In 2007 there were just over 10,142 km of paved roads, and 7,140 km of unpaved roads, and one 59 km railway line in the south. 15 out of 75 district headquarters are not connected by road. In addition, some 60% of road network and most rural roads are not operable during the rainy season. Internally, the poor state of development of the road system makes access to markets, schools, and health clinics a challenge.

By the mid-20th century, 20 out of Nepal’s 22 high schools were built, financed, and managed by local communities. Successive governments continued this model, treating education as a partnership with communities. In 1972, however, the government took over the more than 8,000 existing schools. Because of the country’s remoteness and diversity – and weak government capacity – results were disastrous.

Most houses in the rural lowlands of Nepal are made up of a tight bamboo frame, with 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 the roofs.

Most houses in the rural lowlands of Nepal are made up of a tight bamboo frame, with 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 the roofs.

Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park (CNP) is situated in South-central Nepal, covering an area of 952.63 sq.km, in the subtropical lowlands of inner Terai. In 1957, the area between Tikauli and the Mahabharat range was declared a “rhino sanctuary”, which was the first step towards formal wildlife management in the country. Due to heavy deforestation and rampant poaching, there was a sharp drop in the number of wild animals during 1950s. given this alarming situation, a national park to the north of Rapti River and a rhino sanctuary to the south were proposed. In 1963, the area to the south of Rapti was declared a rhino sanctuary and by April 1971, borders of the national park were fixed by a survey team. In 1973, the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act was enacted, and Chitwan National Park was declared as the first National Park of Nepal. In 1977, the promulgated boundaries were increased from 540 sq.km to 932 sq.km Recognizing its outstanding universal value of unique ecosystems of international significance, UNESCO declared the park a World Heritage Site in 1984.

In 1996, an area of 750 sq. km surrounding the park was declared as a buffer zone, consisting of forests and private lands. According to 17 October 2016 Gazette of Nepal, the area of Chitwan National Park and its Buffer zone has become 952.63 sq.km and 729.37 sq.km respectively.

One-horned rhinoceros, Gaur bison, Royal Bengal tiger, Wild elephant, Four-horned antelope, Pangolin, Golden monitor lizard, Python, Bengal forican, Lesser florican, Giant hornbill, Black stork and White Stork are major animals of CNP.

SOME FACTS ON CNP

NP Declared Year

1973 AD

National Park Area

952.63 Km^2

Location

Central Nepal

World Heritage Site Listed

1984 AD

Ramsar site declaration

2003

Bio climatic Zone

Sub-tropical

Elevation

140-800 from msl

Major Lakes

Tamor Taal, Devi Taal & Lami Taal

Major Rivers

Narayani, Rapti & Reu

Main Mammals

One-horned Rhinoceros, Bengal Tiger, Sloth Bear

Main Birds

Bengal Florican, Lesser Florican, Giant Hornbill

Main Reptiles

Asian Rock Python, Gharial Crocodile, Golden Monitor Lizard

Tourist Destinations

Bengal Florican, Lesser Florican, Giant Hornbill

Main Reptiles

Sauraha, Madi Valley, Kasara, Laukhani, Amaltari, Balmiki Ashram, Megauli

Buffer-zone Declared

1996 AD

Districts

Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Makwanpur and Parsa

Population

223,260

Major Caste Groups

Tharu, Brahin, Chhetri, Kumal, Gurung, Bote, Tamang

Economy

Agriculture, Poultry Farming, Animal Husbandry, Tourism, Service....

About Tharu

The Tharu people are an ethnic group indigenous to the southern foothills of the Himalayas; most of the Tharu people live in the Nepal Terai. The Tharus are officially recognized as the nationality by the Nepalese Government. The Tharu people themselves say that they are a people of the forest. In Chitwan, they have lived in the forests for hundreds of years practicing a short fallow shifting cultivation. Until 1950, Chitwan was the home base of Tharu people and after the farming business grew up, then other tribes of people migrated to Chitwan. Tharus plant rice, mustard, corn and lentils, but also collect forest products such as wild fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants and materials to build their houses; hunt deer, rabbit and wild boar, and go fishing in the rivers and oxbow lakes.

Tharu people of Nepal have different and special food items like dhikri and ghonghi. Dhikri is made of rice flour. The dough from the rice flour is given different shapes – many are stick-like but some are also given the shapes of birds, fish and animals. It is cooked over steam and eaten together with chutney or curry. Ghonghi is an edible snail collected in nearby water bodies, which in present time is consumed by "Brahmin" tribe also. The ghonghi are left overnight so that all the gooey material inside them comes out. Their tail end is cut so that it is easier to suck out the meat from the shell. They are boiled and later cooked like curry adding spices like coriander, chilies, garlic and onion.

They follow their rich cultural tradition, and are unique compared to other beliefs. Nepali Hindu's women festival "Teej" is somehow like renamed to say "Jiteya" by Tharu Community. During these festivals, the tharu women spend the night without eating any kinds of food, to be more specific some women don't even drink water, and keep on dancing whole day in a group occupying a larger area to make bigger circular dance. Nowadays, some Tharu people are seem to celebrating Dashain and Tihar also.

Nepal Festivals

As a multi-cultural and multi-lingual country, Nepal has a variety of festivals that celebrate the peace and harmony between people of different tribes.

If you are travelling at festival time you will have ample opportunity to join in the festivities. Festivals like Dashain, Deepawali, Jitya are celebrated with joy and happiness. During festival time local communities eat, sing and dance; this provides people with relief from their hectic lives and busy schedules. Because astrological calendars dictate the dates that festivals occur, we cannot provide the exact dates here. 

Dashain

During the month of Kartik (late September and early October), the Nepalese people indulge in the biggest festival of the year, Dashain. Dashain is the longest and the most special festival on the Nepalese calendar. It is celebrated by all castes in Nepal and throughout the whole country. The festival is celebrated over 15 days and ends up on a full moon night.

Tihar/Deepawali

Tihar, the festival of lights is one of the most dazzling of all Hindu festivals. In this festival we worship the Goddess Laxmi, the Goddess of wealth. It is also held during the month of Kartik (October/November). During festival time, Nepal looks like Christmas.

Fagun Purnima (Holi)

The ancient Hindu festival of Holi comes in late February or early March. The festival is named after the mythical demon Holika and is a day when the feast of colors is celebrated. The festival lasts for one week. However, it is only on the last day that color and water are thrown about.

Maha Shiva Ratri

​On this day we celebrate the Lord Shiva. This day falls in the month Fagun (February/March).

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