Nepal सं घ ीय लोकतािििक गणतिि ने प ाल Sanghiya Loktāntrik Ganatantra Nepāl Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
a landlocked country withNepal Tibet to the north & India to the south Nepal is dwarfed in size and population by its neighboring countries, China and India. The population is just over thirty million people, over half of whom live on less than two dollars a day.
Landscape of Nepal Most of Nepal’s population lives in the southern and central regions.The flat Terai to the south has a longborder with India. The Pahad, or hillregion, sits between the Terai andthe high mountain region to thenorth called the Parbat, whichborders China and Tibet.Seven of the eight highest mountainsin the world are located in Nepal,including Mt. Everest in the Parbat.
The Economy of Nepal Over three-quarters of the people rely on agriculture for employment. The major crops are tea, rice, corn and wheat. Due to the seasonal nature of such work, unemploymentPer capita income is $1,200 can be as high as 50%.per year, just over $3 perday. Over a quarter of the Tourism has fallen off duepeople live on less than $1 to political disturbancesper day. Nepal is one of the within Nepal during theworld’s poorest countries. past decade and a half.
A Brief History of Nepal For much of its history, Nepal was a monarchy. From the late 14th century until 1768, there were actually three kingdoms of Nepal. After unification of the monarchies and until 2006, there was one royal family that ruled the country.
A Brief History of Nepal सं घ ीय लोकतािििक गणतिि ने प ालWhile never formally colonized, Nepal was defeated byBritish colonial forces in the early 1800’s. The British wereimpressed by Nepalese fighting skills and a term ofsurrender included the right to recruit soldiers. Thusbegan the famed Gurkha military force of Nepal.In 2001, Crown Prince Dipendra(far left) murdered his parents andother family members beforecommitting suicide.Dipendra’s uncle, Gyendra, assumed the throne after themassacre. A civil war started in 1996 between Maoistforces and the monarchy, leading finally in 2006 to thedissolution of the monarchy and the founding of theRepublic of Nepal.
Nepal & the capital of Kathmandu Although a large city of 1.5 million people and the most populous in Nepal, the capital still has only 5% of the country’s total population.
Funeral ghats in Kathmandu Funeral Ghatswhere bodies are crematedand the ashes spread in riverwaters.Many of the poor searchthrough the waters forjewelry or other valuables.
Religion in NepalAlthough Nepal is the birthplace of Buddhism, only10% of the population is Buddhist. Over 80% of thepopulation is Hindu, sharing that majority faith withIndia to the south. The majority of Buddhists live inthe mountainous north, close to Tibet.
Trekking in NepalMy time in Nepal was spent mostly on the two mostfamous & popular trekking routes, the Annapurna Circuitand within the Khumbu region. I joined two friends for amonth-long hike of the Annapurna Circuit. My friend Bonk gets his hair done up while on the Anaprurna Circuit.
The Annapurna Circuit This trek passes through four regions of Nepal, Lamjung & Myagdi at lower elevations and Manang & Mustang at higher elevations. The isolation of this route will soon be changed by a road project nearing completion.
Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit
The Annapurna CircuitThe lower elevations arewetter and forested, butthe trail eventually enterssome of the highestinhabited terrain in theworld.
The Annapurna Circuitterrain varies betweenlower and higher elevationsbut grows increasingly drierwith altitude. Closer to thenorthern frontier, there aremore Buddhist monasteries,stupas and monuments.
Bonk, Nicole & myself at Thorung La Pass, which at5,416 meters (17,769 feet) is one of the highestmountain passes in the world.
Mustang (once known as the Kingdom of Lo) Over 9,000 people live here and tourism is more strictly regulated. Elevation is over 2,500 meters (8,000 feet)
The Khumbu Region –after a month on the Annapurna Circuit in western Nepaland a week in Kathmandu, I spent six weeks on my ownhiking in the Khumbu region of eastern Nepal, where Mt.Everest is located. Part of this trek was a climb of a 6,000meter peak (20,000 feet) arranged with a mountaineeringcompany before I left Kathmandu. I spent two weeks onthe lower hill trails, working my way upwards to the higherregions.
The Pahad or hill regionof Nepal (before Khumbu)It is possible to fly into thehigher mountain region ofthe Khumbu, but I decidedto take more time and hikethrough this region.
The Khumbu Region
Daybreak along the Khumbu Trail…
With its proximity toTibet, the Khumbu regionalso has many signs ofBuddhist influence andmany monasteries.The monument to the leftis for climbing guide ScottFischer, who is featured inthe book, “Into Thin Air.”
I had arranged before leaving Kathmandu to meet with amountaineering company to make a climb of a peak calledLobuje East, the summit of which is 6,145 meters or20,161 feet. From there, I went up to Everest Base Campbefore heading west to the valley of Gokyo.
To the left is the Khumbu Glacier, which leads up to the base of Mt. Everest.Mt. Everest8,848 metersor 29,029 feetTibetan nameChomolungmaNepalese nameSagarmāthā
In the sky, there is nodistinction of east andwest. People createdistinctions out of theirown minds and thenbelieve them to be true. BuddhaMy father considered awalk among mountainsthe equivalent of church. Aldous HuxleyI have climbed mymountain, but I must stilllive my life. Tenzing Norgay