Anyone who has ever visited Nepal can confirm that it is a special destination. Not least because ten of the world’s highest mountains lie within the country’s borders. The description ’the roof of the world’ is therefore fully deserved.
But there are many more facets that make Nepal special in my eyes. Therefore, a random, non-scientifically substantiated list of things worth knowing about Nepal. Things that are useful and/or fun and help to understand how the country works and why things go the way they go.
- Nepal was never occupied by any foreign power and therefore has never celebrated Independence Day.
- Nepal is the oldest country in south Asia.
- Greeting each other in Nepal is done like this: place the palms of your hands together at the height of your chest, make a slight bow with your head and say ‘Namaste’. That means “I salute the godliness in you ‘…
- Although Nepal and India share many latitudes, there is still fifteen minutes time difference between them. In India, it is three/four and a half hours later than in the Netherlands and in Nepal and three/four hours and three quarters. Nepal doesn’t want to be the same as its big neighbour.
- A popular and affordable fast food in Nepal are momo’s. Delicious dumplings of flour and water, with different fillings, whether vegetarian or not and always with dipping sauce. Yam
- Nepal was a Hindu kingdom until 2001, and after the murder of the entire royal family has changed into the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal and holds free elections.
- 90% of the Nepalese people are Hindu.
- Kathmandu was once called Kantipur, that means ‘city of glory’.
- Nepal has the highest concentration of World Heritage sites within its borders. In the Kathmandu Valley alone, there are seven Cultural World Heritage sites in a radius of 15 kilometres.
- Nepal is completely landlocked, doesn’t have one centimetre of sea border.
- The territory of Nepal is 147,181 square kilometres, and thus it is number 92 on the list of largest countries in the world. Considering population size, Nepal stands at number 41.
- At the census of 2010 Nepal had 29.331.000 inhabitants.
- The national animal of Nepal is the cow, which is also sacred for hindu. Killing a cow for consumption is a punishable by law
- Many people in Nepal have a mobile phone, or at least pretend to have one. In many cases, there is no sim card in there.
- The book ‘Little Princes’ written by Conor Grennan is about child training in Nepal and has led to the establishment of NGO Next Generation Nepal, which works towards reuniting victims with their families and supports rural communities. It is a must-read of which part of the proceeds go towards charity and the fight against child trafficking.
- Kathmandu is situated in a kind of bowl between the surrounding hills/mountains. Because of that exhaust fumes and fumes of the wood and kerosene burners (still widely used) can’t get away easily. That is why there is smog and why Kathmandu is not a good place for people with airway problems.
- Nepalese call Mount Everest Sagarmatha or ‘goddess of the sky’.
- With 8848 meter Everest is the highest mountain of Nepal and the world.
- Eight of the world’s highest mountains are in Nepal: Mount Everest, Mount Kanchenjunga, Mount Lhotse, Mount Makalu, Mount Cho Oyu (shared by Nepal and Tibet), Mount DhaulagiriI, Mount Manaslu and Mount Annapurna
- Sherpa’s are an ethnic group from the mountain regions in the east of Nepal. Many of them work as truckers, carriers, guides of mountain climbing expeditions. Because of their unique genetic make-up and background they seem to have no problem with altitude sickness like most other people.
- The big and worshipped Gautam Buddha is born in Lumbini, Nepal.
- The Dashain and Tihar festivals are the most important religious Hindu festivals in Nepal.