Nepal at a Glance

General Information
http://nepalexport.org.np/images/kathmandu.jpgNepal is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of bio-diversity due to its unique geographical position and altitude variation. The elevation of the country ranges from 60 meters above sea level to the highest point on earth, Mt. Everest at 8,848 meters, all within a distance of 150 kilometers resulting in climatic conditions from Sub-tropical to Arctic.
Nepal – occupying only 0.1% of the earth – is home to: 
- 2% of all the flowering plants in the world
- 8% of the world's population of birds (more than 848 species) 
- 4% of mammals on earth
- 11 of the world's 15 families of butterflies (more than 500 species) 
- 600 indigenous plant families
- 319 species of exotic orchids
Area: 147,181 sq. kilometers
Geography: Situated between China in the north and India in the south
Capital: Kathmandu
Population: 22 million
Language: Nepali is the national language. However, travel-trade people understand and speak English as well. 
Currency: Nepali Rupee (approximately US$ 1 equals Rs. 71.24 )
Political System: Multi-party democracy with constitutional monarchy
Religion: Nepal enjoys the distinction of being the only Hindu Kingdom in the world. However, there is a harmonious blending of Hinduism and Buddhism. 

Climate: Nepal has four major seasons, namely, 
(1) Winter: December-February
(2) Spring: March-May
(3) Summer: June-August 
(4) Autumn: September-November 
Nepal can be visited the whole year round. 

People: Nepal has more than 61 ethnic groups and 70 spoken languages. 
What to Wear: Lightweight clothing is recommended for May through October. Warm garments are required in October through March. An umbrella or raincoat is a must for the rainy season.
http://nepalexport.org.np/images/people_nepal.jpgPeople
ETHNIC DISTRIBUTION
The Northern Himalayan People
In the northern region of the Himalayas are the Tibetan-speaking groups namely Sherpas, Dolpas, Lopas, Baragaonlis, Manangis. The Sherpas are mainly found in the east in the Solu and Khumbu region; the Baragaonlis and Lopas live in the semi-deserted areas of Upper and Lower Mustang in the Tibetan rain-shadow area; the Managis live in Manang district area; while the Dolpas live in Dolpa district of West Nepal, one of the highest settlements on earth at 4,000 meters.
The Middle Hills and Valley People
Several ethnic groups live together in harmony in the middle hills and valleys. Among them are the Magars, Gurungs, Tamangs, Sunuwars, Newars, Thakalis, Chepangs and majority of Brahmans and Chhetris. The Brahmans and Chhetris have long dominance in all pervading social, religious and political realms. There are also some occupational castes namely: Damai (tailor), Sarki (cobbler), Kami (blacksmith) and Sunar (goldsmiths). Though, there exist numerous dialects, the language of unification is the national language, Nepali.
Ethnic Diversity in the Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu Valley represents a cultural cauldron of the country, where, people from varied backgrounds have come together to present a melting pot. The natives of the Kathmandu Valley are the Newars. Newari culture is an integration of both Hinduism and Buddhism. The Newars of Kathmandu Valley were traders or farmers by occupation in the old days.
The Terai People
The main ethnic groups in Terai are Tharus, Darai, Kumhal, Majhi and other groups that have roots in India. They speak north Indian dialects like Maithili, Bhojpuri. Owing to the fertile plains of Terai, most inhabitants live on agriculture. There are, however, some occupational castes like Majhi (fisherman), Kumhal (potter) and Danuwar (cart driver).
POPULATION OF MAJOR ETHNIC GROUPS 
ETH. GROUP POPULATION 
BRAHMAN 2388455 
CHHETRI 2968082 
CHEPANG 36656 
GURUNG 449189 
LIMBU 297186 
MUSLIM 653055 
MAGAR 1339308 
NEWAR 1041090 
RAI 525551 
RAUTE 2878 
SHERPA 110358 
THARU 1194224 
THAKURI 299473 
THAKALI 13731 
TAMANG 1018252 
Art
http://nepalexport.org.np/images/ranipokhari.jpgNepali art has been deeply influenced by religion since very early times. Early art of Nepal can be seen as stone sculpture and temple architecture. Other art include Newari Paubha and Tibetan Thanka paintings, wood and metal crafts, ceramics and clay pots, textiles, paper, Tibetan carpet, music and literature. Contemporary Nepali art represents two distinct segments, traditional idealistic paintings and the contemporary western style works. The contemporary painting is specially noted for either nature based compositions or compositions based on Tantric elements or social themes. Nepali painters have also earned international reputation for abstract works based on these themes.
Kathmandu Valley houses a number of museums and art galleries displaying art work of the past and present. Some are: The National Museum at Chhauni, Museums at Kathmandu Durbar Square, Museum of Natural History at Swayambhu, National Library at Puchowk, Kaiser Library at Thamel, National Birendra Art Gallery at Naxal, Asa Archives at Tangal, National Art Gallery at Bhaktapur Durbar Square, National Woodworking Museum at Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Bronze and Brass Museum at Bhaktapur, Nepal National Ehnographic Museum at Bhrikuti Mandap. Museums outside the Kathmandu Valley are such: Dhakuta Museum, Hattisar Museum in Bhimphedi, Mustang Eco Museum in Jomsom, Tharu Cultural Museum in Thakurdwara and International Mountain Museum in Pokhara.
Trade
Commerce has been a major occupation in Nepal since early times. Being situated at the crossroads of the ancient trans-Himalayan trade route, trading is second nature to the Nepali people. Foreign trade is characterized mainly by import of manufactured products and export of agricultural raw materials. Nepal imports manufactured goods and petroleum products worth about US$ 1 billion annually. The value of exports is about US$ 315 million. Carpets are Nepal's largest export, earning the country over US$ 135 million per year. Garment exports account for more than US$ 74 million and handicraft goods bring in about US$ 1 million. Other important exports are pulses, hides and skins, jute and medicinal herbs.
Manufacturing
Manufacturing is still at the developmental stage and it represents less than 10 percent of the GDP. Major industries are carpets, garments, textiles, leather products, paper and cement. Other products made in Nepal are steel utensils, cigarettes, beverages and sugar. There are many modern large-scale factories but the majority are cottage or small scale operations. Most of Nepal's industries are based in the Kathmandu Valley and a string of small towns in the southern Terai plains.
http://nepalexport.org.np/images/harvest.jpgAgriculture
Eight out of 10 Nepalese are engaged in farming and it accounts for more than 40 percent of the GDP. Rolling fields and neat terraces can be seen all over the Terai flatlands and the hills of Nepal. Even in the highly urbanized Kathmandu Valley, large tracts of land outside the city areas are devoted to farming. Rice is the staple diet in Nepal and around three million tons are produced annually. Other major crops are maize, wheat, millet and barley. Besides food grains, cash crops like sugarcane, oil seeds, tobacco, jute and tea are also cultivated in large quantities.
Economy
Nepal is a developing country with an agricultural economy. In recent years, the country's efforts to expand into manufacturing industries and other technological sectors have achieved much progress. Farming is the main economic activity followed by manufacturing, trade and tourism. The chief sources of foreign currency earnings are merchandise export, services, tourism and Gurkha remittances. The annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is about US$ 4.3 billion.