Nepal Overview – Geography, Politics, Demographics and Climate

Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked country situated between China (to the North) and India (to the east, south and west). Located in South Asia, along the Himalayas, it is home to diverse geography, fauna and flora as well as culture and people. The last Hindu Kingdom is also the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautam (Buddha), a country that was never colonized, eight of the 10 tallest mountains in the world, and the most unusual flag in the world. In this article, we give a run down of some of the basic information of Nepal!

Where is Nepal?

Nepal lies between China and India in South Asia. Moreover, the landlocked, is bordered by the Indian states of Uttarakhand in the west, Uttar Pradesh in the south, Bihar in the southeast and West Bengal and Sikkim in the east. The northern border of Nepal Xizang, the autonomous region of China known as Tibet can be found.

The main latitude and longitude of Nepal is 28° North and 84° East. The total area of the Asian country is 147,181 square kilometer falls within the first and last latitude and longitude of Nepal. In terms of size, the country is slightly larger than the state of Arkansas! Furthermore, Nepal falls within the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle in the northern hemisphere.

Nepal Longitude & Latitude Map

Geography of Nepal

Nepal’s geography is broken up into three distinct regions with the flat lands or Terai in the south, hills in the central belt, and mountain region in the north. Furthermore, the mountain region to the north is home to eight of the 10 tallest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest (Sagarmatha) the tallest mountain in the world. A list of the eight tallest mountains found in Nepal can be seen in the table below:

MountainMetersFeetRemarks
Mount Everest8,84929,032Earth’s tallest mountain
Kanchenjunga8,58628,1693rd tallest
Lhotse8,51627,9404th tallest
Makalu8,46327,7665th tallest
Cho Oyu8,18826,8646th tallest
Dhaulagiri I8,16726,7957th tallest
Manaslu8,16326,7818th tallest
Annapurna I8,09126,54510th tallest
Eight tallest mountains in Nepal

Moreover, the distinct difference of altitude that can be experienced in Nepal is unique, whereas It rises from as low as 59 meters (194 ft) above sea level in the tropical Terai situated along the northern rim of the Gangetic Plain. And to some 90 peaks over 7,000 meters (22,966 ft) above sea level including Mount Everest (8848m).

RegionElevationsAreaGeographic setting
Terai<900 meters33%The Terai region lies in the southernmost part of Nepal. The land slopes gently southward while flattening and leveling out. Moreover, it supports most of the country’s agricultural production.
Siwalik zone900–1200 meters8%The Siwalik zone is located south of the middle mountains and forms the first and lowermost ridges of the Himalayan mountain. It has small valleys and cultivated hills.
Middle Hills1200–3000 meters30%Nepal’s middle mountain section houses the country’s central belt of land. The geography of the area is composed of high ridges and low valleys.
High Mountains3000–5000 meters20%High Mountains can be characterized by ridges and mountain tops with deep valleys in the middle to elevations reaching 1000 meters.
High Himalayas>5000 meters9%Nepal’s highest peaks are found in the high Himalayas and are usually covered by snow and ice throughout the year.
The three regions of Nepal

Nepal Geographical Facts and Wonders:

  • Tilicho Lake is the highest lake on earth at an elevation of 4800m in Manang district,
  • Shey Phoksundo Lake stands at an elevation of 3600m, and is the deepest lake in Nepal with a depth of 145m 
  • Kaligandaki Gorge is regarded as one of the deepest gorges on earth with a depth of 1200m
  • Arun Valley of Nepal is regarded as one of the deepest valleys in the world

Seven Provinces of Nepal:

The provinces of Nepal were formed in 2015 in accordance with Schedule 4 of the Constitution of Nepal. The current provincial system replaced the earlier system of governance in Nepal which was governed by 14 administrative zones in five development regions across the country.

ProvinceCapitalDistrictsArea (km2)Population (2011)
Province No. 1 Biratnagar1425,905 km24,534,943
Madhesh Province Janakpur 89,661 km25,404,145
Bagmati Province Hetauda 13 20,300 km2 5,529,452
Gandaki Province Pokhara 11 21,504 km2 2,403,757
Lumbini Province Deukhuri 12 22,288 km2 4,499,272
Karnali ProvinceBirendranagar 10 27,984 km2 1,570,418
Sudurpashchim ProvinceGodawari919,915 km22,552,517
Nepal's seven provinces

Nepal’s Environment and Wildlife:

When looking at Nepal’s flora and fauna, according to Flora of Nepal, even though Nepal occupies only 0.1% of the earth’s surface, it comprises 3.2% of the world’s flora. Moreover, Nepal is one of the most biodiversity-rich countries in the world, whereas it stands 27th position in the world and 10th position in Asia, and second position in South Asia.Flora and Fauna of Nepal:

Nepal Flora and Fauna Facts:

  • 900 species of birds – accounting for 8.9% of the total species of birds in the world. 
  • Home to 4.2% of the world’s butterfly species and 
  • Accounts to 3.96% of the world’s mammal species. 
  • Home to two percent of the world’s orchids (more than 360 species), 
  • Six percent of the world’s rhododendron species (national flower of Nepal) grows in Nepal, of which 250 species are endemic to Nepal.
National flower of Nepal - Rhododendron

Nepal’s Climate and Weather:

Most people consider there to be four main seasons in Nepal: summer/monsoon, spring, autumn and winter. The changing of the seasons coincide with the two best times to visit Nepal.

Winter in Nepal is during December, January, and February. Temperature decline and extreme cold can be felt in the northern regions, as well as in parts of the Terai. Winter usually has clear skies and provides great views of the mountains

Spring is during the months of March, April and May. Tourism is high during that time as it provides opportunities for trekking and mountain climbing. Additionally, this is when a lot of flowers bloom including the national flower: Rhododendron. Typically the temperature and weather conditions are mild.

Summer/Monsoon season is during the months of June, July and August. During this time heavy rainfall makes it difficult to travel and dangerous with landslides in the hills. This is the lowest time for tourists and you can find discounts on hotels and other activities.

Fall is during September, October and November is the peak season for tourists to visit Nepal for tours and trekking activities. With clear mountain views, popular trekking regions like Annapurna and Everest are typically quite busy.

SeasonMonthWeatherGood for Tourism?
FallSeptember –  NovemberMild temperatures and clear skies (around 20-25C / 68-77F)Yes – for trekking and cultural festivals
WinterDecember – FebruaryCold, with clear skiesGood time to visit if you are not planning on trekking
SpringMarch – MayMild temperatures and clear skiesYes – for trekking
Summer/MonsoonJune – AugustRain and hot weather (up to 30C / 90F or warmer)No – Raining and difficult to travel. There are lots of discounts on hotels and activities during this time.

Demographics of Nepal:

In addition to being diverse in terms of environment and geography, Nepal is also home to a multi- ethnic, religious, lingual and cultural population. Nepal, home to approximately 30 million people is said, in best estimates, to include over 100-odd caste and ethnic nationalities, and speak 90 languages and dialects. Although the new constitution signed in 2015 declares the nation as a secular state, the vast majority of people are Hindu. According to Nepal’s 2011 census the religious breakdown of Nepal is: 81.3% of the Nepalese population is Hindu, 9.0% are Buddhist, 4.4% are Muslim, 3.0% are Kiratist (indigenous ethnic religion), 1.4% are Christian, 0.1% are Sikhs, 0.1% are Jains and 0.7% follow other religions or no religion.

Quick Facts: Demographics

  • Population of Nepal is 29,192,480 as per the 2021 census. 
  • The population growth rate is 0.93% per year.
  • Estimates have Nepal being home to 100-odd caste and ethnic nationalities (some estimates put it well over 120)
  • It is believed that more than 90 languages and dialects are spoken in Nepal
  • The top populous caste/ethnic groups are: Chhetri/khas (16.6%), Behun (12.2%), Magar (7.3%), Tharu (6.6%), Newar (5.9%)

Nepal Politics:

By the 18th century, the unification of Nepal was achieved by the Gorkha Kingdom. The Shah dynasty then began ruling over the Kingdom of Nepal from the Kathmandu valley. The royal family stayed in power from 1768 to 28 May 2008. However, the royal family were reduced to figureheads as the Rana dynasty gained power in 1846, lasting until 1951 when the Shah Kings regained power. The Royal family held onto power until 2008 when the last Shah King, Gyanendra stepped down from power. Nepal is now functioning within the framework of a parliamentary republic with a multi-party system.

Political Quick Facts:

  • Nepal has never been colonized
  • Nepalese Civil War in the 1990s and early 2000s resulted in the establishment of a secular republic in 2008, ending the world’s last Hindu monarchy.
  • The Constitution of Nepal, adopted in 2015, divided the country into seven provinces 
  • Nepal became a member of the United Nations in 1955
  • Friendship treaties were signed with the two regional powers – India in 1950 and China in 1960

Nepal Final Thoughts:

Nepal is a fascinating country with mystery around every turn. Even though it is a small country in South Asia, it has a lot to offer its tourists and visitors. If you are looking for an adventure, a rich cultural experience or a trip to a country rich with nature, Nepal is the destination for you! 

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