Saturday, September 18, 2021

Nepal | Introduction

AsiaNepalNepal | Introduction

Geography

From south to north, Nepal is split into elevation zones:

  • Outer Terai – Northern India’s level plains are a cultural and linguistic expansion. Nepali is less widely spoken than the Hindi and Maithili languages Awadhi and Bhojpuri. This zone includes Lumbini (the birthplace of Lord Buddha) and Janakpur (the birthplace of Hindu Goddess Sita). Dhangadhi, Nepalgunj, Bhairawa, Butwal, Birgunj, Janakpur, and Biratnagar, for example, are more like transit hubs and border towns than tourist attractions. Nonetheless, the Terai may provide chances for close encounters with traditional Indian culture that are becoming less common in India.
  • Siwalik Range or Churia Hills – the lowest and westernmost series of foothills, rising to approximately 600 meters (2,000 feet). It stretches from east to west throughout the nation, although there are numerous gaps and subranges. Soils are poor, and there is no agriculture to speak of. There are no established tourist attractions, but the woods are untamed, and the small community of primitive hunters and gatherers is one of a kind.
  • Inner Terai – Between the Siwaliks and the higher foothills to the north are vast valleys. The biggest valleys are the Dang and Deukhuri valleys in the Mid West, which provide chances to learn about Tharu art and culture. Another of these valleys is Chitwan, south of Kathmandu, which is home to the Chitwan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where tigers, rhinos, crocodiles, deer, and birds may be seen. These valleys were formerly malarial and sparsely inhabited by Tharus who had acquired resistance and created architectural and behavioral adaptations to minimize exposure to the most deadly nighttime insects. Mosquito control using DDT in the 1960s allowed people from the hills to enter the lowlands, clearing forests and displacing and exploiting Tharus. Nonetheless, the most isolated sections of these valleys retain a Garden of Eden feel, with endless fields, meandering rivers, and intriguing aboriginal peoples.
  • Mahabharat Range – Except for small transecting valleys, a conspicuous foothill range runs from east to west throughout the nation, with heights reaching up to 3,000 meters (10,000 ft). The steep southern slopes constitute a cultural and linguistic crossroads between lowland and Pahari (hill) cultures and languages, which start along the crest and softer northern slopes. From nearly everywhere on the summit, there are panoramic views of the upper Himalaya in clear weather. Daman and Tansen are appealing tourist sites despite being underdeveloped in comparison to India’s ‘Hill Stations.’
  • Middle Hills – Valleys and hills up to 2,000 meters north of the Mahabharat Range (6,500 ft). are mostly populated by Hindus from the Bahun (priestly Brahmin) and Chhetri (warriors and kings) castes who speak Nepali as their primary language. The hill tribes from whom the British recruited Gurkha troops while the soldiers’ families cultivated crops suited to temperate temperatures are mostly Magar, Gurung, Tamang, Rai, or Limbu further up where it gets too cold to grow rice. These ethnic groups’ men may also work as porters or herders, bringing their flocks into the high mountains during the summer and into the lower valleys during the winter. With streams and terraced fields, beautiful towns, a diversity of ethnic groups wearing unique clothing, and vistas of the high Himalayas from high places, trekking across the highlands is unremittingly scenic.
  • Valleys – Kathmandu and Pokhara, to the west, are located in vast valleys in the highlands. Historic neighborhoods, temple complexes, pagodas, Buddhist stupas, palaces, and bazaars dot the Kathmandu Valley, which was developed long before the arrival of the first Europeans. Newar farmers, merchants, artisans, and government employees make up the majority of the population. Newar culture is a fascinating blend of Hindu and Buddhist influences. Unfortunately, views of the Himalaya are obstructed by a series of hills to the north of this valley. Pokhara has fewer urban attractions but offers spectacular views of the neighboring Annapurna Himalaya. The Newar population in Pokhara is limited to bazaars. Upper caste Hindus, whose origins were most likely Khas peoples from far western Nepal, rule elsewhere. Both valleys provide great chances to see Nepal without having to do hard hiking. In the highlands, narrower valleys around streams and rivers are significant rice-growing areas. Only a small portion of this land is available, and the most of it is held by higher caste Hindus.
  • Lekhs – Snow sometimes occurs over 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) in the winter and lasts days or weeks, but evaporates in the summer below approximately 5,500 meters (18,000 ft). The treeline is approximately 4,000 meters high (13,000 ft). Summer pastures are utilized in this zone, but not year-round living.
  • The snowy high Himalayas rise abruptly north of the lekhs along a fault zone to heights of over 6,700 m (22,000 ft) and even over 8,000 m. (26,000 ft). Himalaya means ‘abode of snow,’ and it is an abandoned mountain range. The valleys between the peaks are populated, particularly along trade routes where rice from the lowlands was exchanged for salt from the Tibetan Plateau, as well as other commodities. Since China conquered Tibet in the 1950s, trade has declined, but catering to trekkers and climbers has become an economic powerhouse. Although the people who live along these roads have Tibetan roots, they generally speak fluent Nepali.
  • Trans-Himalaya – Peaks north of the highest Himalayas in central and western Nepal are lower and gentler, with most being about 6,000 meters (20,000 ft). Below 5,000 m, there are valleys (17,000 ft). People that are basically Tibetan and have adapted to live at considerably greater altitudes than other Nepalis occupy these areas. Because roads have not yet reached thus far, travel is either costly by plane or difficult on foot. Nonetheless, it is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to immerse yourself in a historically important and appealing culture in breathtaking surroundings.

River basins

These are significant geographic divides as well. In Nepal and other areas of the Himalaya, the Mahabharat Range is a significant hydrologic barrier. In a few small valleys, south-flowing rivers combine in candelabra formations to burst through this mountain. Because travel within these candelabra drainage systems is generally simpler than between them, large gaps between river systems have traditionally served as significant political, linguistic, and cultural barriers.

Climate

Although a year was historically divided into six different climatic periods: Basanta (spring), Grishma (early summer), Barkha (summer monsoon), Sharad (early autumn), Hemanta (late autumn), and Shishir (late winter), Nepal has a monsoonal climate with four major seasons (winter).

  • From June through September, the Himalayas have heavy monsoonal rains; nevertheless, the rains are generally milder than in Kathmandu, and the mountain tops are often covered by clouds. Rains in the Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara last an hour or two every two or three days during the monsoon season. Rain purifies the air, makes the streets cleaner, and cools the environment. If you come, bring an umbrella, and expect lower hotel prices and fewer tourists.
  • The weather is clear and chilly from October to December, and there is less dust in the air after the monsoon, making this an excellent season to explore the hills and mountainous regions.
  • Kathmandu is frigid from January to March, with nighttime temperatures as low as 0°C (32°F) and severe cold at higher elevations. Although it is extremely cold, winter hiking is possible in places such as the Everest region, and snowfall may prevent ascending above 4,000-4,500 meters (13,000-15,000 feet). Because it remains below 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) and has expected minimum temperatures of -10°C (14°F), the Jomosom trek is a feasible choice (and much better chances of avoiding heavy snow.)
  • The Himalayas are covered with blooming flowers from April through June, with rhododendrons in particular adding a splash of color to the landscape. Temperatures in the Terai may reach or exceed 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), whereas Kathmandu is about 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). This is the best time to go mountain climbing.

The following is a broad guide of seasonal conditions:

Temperature and rainfall data for key sites throughout Nepal have been collected since 1962, and their averages are used to analyze the climatic trend.

Economy

Nepal’s gross domestic product (GDP) was projected to be more than $17.921 billion in 2012. (adjusted to nominal GDP). Agriculture contributed for 36.1 percent of Nepal’s GDP in 2010, services 48.5 percent, and industry 15.4 percent. While agriculture and manufacturing are shrinking, the service sector is growing in importance.

Agriculture employs 76% of the workforce, followed by services (18%), manufacturing, and craft-based industries (6%). Tea, rice, maize, wheat, sugarcane, root crops, milk, and water buffalo meat are among the agricultural products produced in the Terai area, which borders India. The processing of agricultural products such as jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain is the mainstay of industry. Its roughly ten million-strong workforce faces a serious labor shortage.

Political instability continues to have a negative impact on Nepal’s economic development. Despite this, real GDP growth is expected to rise to almost 5% in 2011–2012. This would be the second-highest growth rate in the post-conflict period, behind the 3.5 percent growth rate in 2010–2011. Agriculture, building, finance, and other services are all sources of development. Since 2010/2011, spending driven by remittances has contributed less to growth. While remittance growth dropped to 11% in 2010/2011 (in Nepali Rupee terms), it has subsequently accelerated to 37%. Remittances are projected to account for 25–30% of total GDP. The rate of inflation has dropped to a three-year low of 7%.

Since 2003, the number of impoverished individuals has decreased significantly. In the last seven years, the number of individuals living below the international poverty line (those earning less than US$1.25 per day) has decreased by half. The proportion of impoverished individuals fell from 53.1 percent in 2003/2004 to 24.8 percent in 2010/2011 on this metric. Poverty fell by one-quarter to 57.3 percent with a higher poverty threshold of US$2 per capita per day. The income distribution, on the other hand, remains very unequal.

According to a recent survey, Nepal, along with Rwanda and Bangladesh, performed exceptionally well in reducing poverty, with the percentage of the population living in poverty falling to 44.2 percent in 2011 from 64.7 percent in 2006—a drop of 4.1 percentage points per year, indicating that Nepal has improved in areas such as nutrition, child mortality, electricity, improved flooring, and assets. If the present pace of poverty reduction continues, Nepal is expected to half its current poverty rate and eliminate it entirely over the next 20 years.

Nepal’s beautiful scenery and varied, exotic cultures provide significant tourist potential, but the country’s development has been hampered by political instability and inadequate infrastructure. Despite these issues, the number of foreign visitors who visited Nepal in 2012 was 598,204, up 10% from the previous year. In 2012, tourism generated almost 3% of national GDP and is the second-largest source of foreign revenue after remittances.

Unemployment and underemployment affect almost half of the people of working age. As a result, many Nepalese people migrate to other nations in quest of employment. India, Qatar, the United States, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Brunei Darussalam, Australia, and Canada are among the countries visited. The Gurkha troops, who serve in the Indian and British forces and are highly regarded for their skill and courage, provide Nepal about $50 million each year. The overall remittance value was approximately $3.5 billion in 2010. Remittances accounted for 22.9 percent of the country’s GDP in 2009. [102]

A tight connection with India is based on a long-standing business agreement. The United Kingdom, India, Japan, the United States, the European Union, China, Switzerland, and Scandinavian nations all provide assistance to the country. The poverty rate is high, with a per-capita income of about $1,000. The wealth distribution in Nepal is similar to that in many developed and developing countries: the top ten percent of families own 39.1% of the national wealth, while the bottom ten percent own just 2.6 percent.

The government’s budget is about $1.153 billion, with $1.789 billion in spending (FY 20005/06). For many years, the Nepali rupee has been pegged to the Indian rupee at a rate of 1.6. The underground market for foreign currency has all but vanished since exchange rate restrictions were loosened in the early 1990s. After a period of greater inflation in the 1990s, the inflation rate has fallen to 2.9 percent.

Nepal exports $822 million in carpets, textiles, hemp, leather products, jute goods, and grain. Imports of US$2 billion in gold, machinery and equipment, petroleum products, and fertilizer are the most common. Its major export partners are the European Union (EU) (46.13 percent), the United States (17.4 percent), and Germany (7.1 percent). The European Union has emerged as Nepal’s biggest consumer of ready-to-wear clothing (RMG). “EU garment exports accounted for 46.13 percent of the country’s overall garment exports,” according to the report. India (47.5 percent), the United Arab Emirates (11.2 percent), China (10.7 percent), Saudi Arabia (4.9 percent), and Singapore are Nepal’s top import partners (4 percent ).

In addition to the country’s landlocked, harsh terrain, few tangible natural resources, and inadequate infrastructure, the country’s economic growth and development has been hampered by an ineffectual post-1950 administration and a long-running civil conflict.