Nepal : Overview
Nepal officially the Federal democratic republic of Nepal is landlocked central Himalayan country in south Asia. Nepal is one of the smallest countries in the world map situated in between the China and India with the richest member of world cultural communities. It is the homeland of several tribes and races. Different lifestyles of the different people reflect varieties of culture. It is the one of the world’s best place to explore as religious, cultural and natural resources because of the presence of the fine art, culture and tradition along with the natural beauty. Nepal has great potential to attract all the types of tourism from all over the world. In Nepal there are more than hundred ethnic communities and over 103 languages. They are separated by geography. The Nepali people themselves are the tourism resources taking from the upper Himalaya to down terai you can explore different community with rich in culture and tradition following their own custom, lifestyle, religion, tradition, festival etc. Nepal is one of the gods gifted country, every country have different types of culture, tradition and attraction but Nepal being such a small in size you can find more than hundred of ethnic group having their own culture and language which varies from the Himalaya to terai. Nepal is a country within small territory but there is diversity in geography there is huge difference in climate, weather, floura, fauna etc. Different ethnic communities are separated along with geographical variation also the nature is divided, you can explore different kind of natural resources such as the great Himalayas to the inland plains, different Himalayan subtropical forest to tropical monsoon forest with varities of floura and fauna according to geographical diversity.
Cultural heritage of Nepal
The cultural aspect that cannot be felt by touch, not having actual form and substance is intangible culture that has also been attracting the visitors. Nepal’s intangible culture include various traditional dances and dramatic performance, staged in streets on the occasion of various Jatras particularly in Kathmandu Valley by Newars and various dances, performing art and dramas such as the Ghatunach of Gurungs, Dhannach and Yalangama dance of the Limbus, and the Deuda dance of far western Nepal. Nepal, a country of diverse people, is culturally very rich.
Intangible cultural properties include:
Language: folklore, proverb, etc.
Rites and rituals, tradition, sacraments (sanskaras)
Festivals: Jatras, dramatic performance and dance
Beliefs: religion and philosophy
World Heritage Sites in Nepal
The UNESCO had adopted the protection of the cultural and natural heritage of the world and recognized hundreds of sites in different countries of the world as World Heritage Sites (WHS) three decades ago. Two Cultural Heritage sites in Nepal, viz. Kathmandu valley and Lumbini, the birth place of the Buddha and two natural sites, viz. the Sagarmatha National Park and the Chitwan National Park have been declared as WHS. The following seven monuments of Kathmandu Valley have been listed in the UNESCO document in 1979:
Three Laykus or Durbars: Hanuman Dhoka, Bhaktapur and Patan (Lalitpur)
Two Buddhist Stupas: Swayambhunath and Bauddhanath, Kathmandu
Two Hindu temples complex: Pashupatinath and Changunarayan
Nepal Government has declared many cultural heritage sites, including Janakpurdham, Kapilavastu (capital of the Shakyas to whom lord Buddha belonged) and neighbouring archaeological sites and so on.
Ecology of the Himalayan peaks, glaciers, rivers, forests and wildlife sites are Nepal's natural resources, which have been used by the people from generation to generations for their own livelihood through a long period of time. The physical diversity of such parks, forests, river valleys, hill and plains makes the flora and fauna colourful with contrast species.
Tourism activities of Nepal
Trekking: Trekking is a journey undertaken by foot where collective means of transport system is normally lacking. Different areas of the Himalayas are still isolated. Trekking in such an area can be compared with a sport. Trekking has become one of the most popular tourist activities in Nepal. The unique landscape with diverse altitudes and deepest gorges of the rivers, spectacular scenery, varieties of flora and fauna and diverse people and their culture of the country .Trekking is the only way to explore national parks and wildlife reserves of the mountainous region. people and their culture of the country have been attracting hundreds of trekking tourists every year. Nepal has earned the fame of ‘trekkers’ paradise’. National parks and forest reserves in the Himalayas, such as Shey Phoksundo, Annapurna, Manaslu, Lamtang, Makalu-Barun, provides good trekking options. Other trekking routes include, Kathmandu-Namche Bazar, Kathmandu-Helambu, Pokhara-Annapurna, Pokhara-Manang, Jiri, Lamtang, Gosain Kunda, Jumla, Palpa, Dolpa, Ghandrung, Ghorepani, Rara, etc. The most popular trekking trail goes to Annapurna area.
Mountaineering: The high peaks of the Himalayas have been attracting the people of the world. Mountaineering was started in Nepal during 1921 by the British Everest expeditions and became more popular after the Everest was scaled successfully in 1953. So far more than a dozen Nepal’s Himalayan peaks have been scaled. A great number of peaks, however, are still virgin. The highest peak MT. Everest lies in Nepal. The total 8 out of 10 highest peak of world belongs to Nepal which are Mt. Everest,Kanchenjungha,Lotse , Makalu, Dhaulagiri, Cho oyu, Manaslu, Annapurna .
White Water Rafting: Other attractive mountain tourism is white water rafting or a journey by floating on water that has its own adventure, charm and fun. Glacial fed rivers, emerging right from the Himalayas and flowing through the deep gorges and topographical variation down to the Tarai are themselves alluring. Rafting offers to floaters an opportunity of sight-seeing and observing flora and fauna, rural life style in the surrounding areas along the banks of the river. All this made rafting in the Himalayan Rivers a popular activity of the visitors. The more popular river for rafting is the Trishuli (from Trishuli to Narayanghat). Other rivers suitable for rafting are the Sun Koshi, Kali Gandaki, Arun, Karnali, Bheri and Seti. Other routes being promoted include Tumlimgtar to Chatra, Birendranagar to Chisapani, Dolalghat to Chatra, Lamusangu to Dolalghat, Damauli to Tiger Tops and Nangdi to Bimal Nagar.
Canyoning: Canyon means a deep gorge. Canyoning is a water sport in which a person floats on a stream flowing through a narrow gorges or valley between high cliffs is a thrilling and adventurous activity. Some of the commercial rafting agencies have been granted permission to run the rafting services in some of the Himalayan Rivers, flowing through deep and narrow gorges.
Jungle Safari: The tropical forests in the Tarai such as the Chitwan National Park and Bardiya National Park and such Wildlife Reserves as Parsa and Shuklaphanta are most popular among the visitors. These forests preserve some of the best and rare wildlife in the South Asian Sub-Continent. As the weather of the tropical region is temperate in the winter, months beginning from November to February are the best for Jungle safari. Such activities as elephant riding, walking, jeep driving, canoe or boat riding inside the jungles are available in Chitwan, Bardiya and Parsa (where, however, boating is not available). Visitors on elephant back can see the wild life in the Shuklaphanta. Such accommodations as resort hotels and lodges are available in Chitwan, jungle lodges in Bardiya and Shuklaphanta.
Hunting: The Dhorpatan, situated in Myagdi and Baglung districts, in the western Nepal at altitudes varying between 3,000 m. and 7,000 m. is the only hunting reserve. Visitors holding license can chase certain animals and birds. Hunters can get there blue sheep, pheasants and partridges. March, April, October and November are the best months for trophy game. Visitors have to walk for four days from Baglung to reach Dhorpatan. Camping is the only available accommodation there.
Sight-seeing: One who is engaged in such tourism activities as trekking, hiking, rafting, mountaineering, mountain biking, hunting, jungle safari, and mountain flights can see or click the spectacular natural scenery.
Mountain flight: Airlines have been offering their internal services of one hour mountain flight to the visitors for a spectacular view of such Himalayan peaks as Everest, Gosainthan, Dorje Lhakpa, Phurbi Chyanchu, Gauri Shankar, Melungtse, Cho Oyu, Pumori, etc. Ultra light aircraft is also available in Pokhara, which offers its service around the Pokhara city and surrounding mountains, including the Machapuchhre for half an hour. Pokhara also offers a paragliding service to the visitors between October and April every year.
Bird watching: Interested visitors can go to Nagarjun and Taudah in Kathmandu, and Koshi Tappu, which is said to be the paradise for the birdlife as more than 500 species of birds can be seen there.
Rock Climbing: Climbing centres are located in the vicinity of the Nagarjun and the Shivapuri National Parks, near Kathmandu. Hiking and bird watching are also possible on the way.
Fishing: Approximately 118 varieties of fresh water fish are available in the rivers of Nepal. The most suitable time for fishing in the Himalayan rivers is between April and October.
Bungee Jump: The best site for this activity is situated 160 m. over the Bhote Koshi River at Barhabise close to the Nepal China border. you can reach there in a three hour bus journey from Kathmandu.
Entertainment: Cinema, bar, concert, disco, restaurant and gambling are more or less available in Nepal. Gambling casinos are growing tourist attraction in Kathmandu. The first casino was opened in Nepal three decade ago only for foreign citizens.
Honey Hunting: Trekkers of the Himalayan region can see local people harvesting honey combs of wild bees on the high cliffs through the bamboo ladders. It is an exciting traditional skill to climb (some time 300 m.) high cliffs by hanging bamboo ladders and struggling against the biting bees at the same time.
Mountain Biking: It is a service to visitors willing to trek by bicycle in different diverse terrains. It has being popular among young visitors.
Shopping: Shopping is another important tourism activity. There are shops selling gift items, local and ethnic handicrafts and art objects in different points of tourist destinations, such as airport, hotel arcades, resort, transport terminals, streets, cultural sites and other areas of touristic importance in Nepal. One can see such shops at Basantapur, Thamel, Bauddha, Patan in Kathmandu valley and Namche Bazar, Pokhara, Sauraha, etc. out of the valley.These shops deal with typical ethnic items such as wood masks, handy images, replicas of sculpture, temples and stupas, Mandalas, recently copied pieces of wood carving, copied paintings, ethnic costumes, flags, prayer wheels, Khukuri knives, silver jewellery, semi- precious and precious gems, Pashmina items, carpet, Mithila art/paintings, Thangka paintings, etc