Nepal is a land-locked country located in South Asia. The country shares borders with India and China. Nepal borders on the Tibetan plateau of China, with the Himalayas stretching along the border region.
Nepal’s climate is highly varied, due to its wide range of altitudes. In general, the lower altitude regions are warmer, with cooler weather prevailing above 1,200 metres. Sub-zero temperatures are the norm in the snowy peaks of Everest and the country’s other high mountains. In the more temperate zones, temperatures reach 20 to 30 degrees Celsius during the warmer months. In the winter, the temperature dips below 0 regularly, especially at night, although daytime temperatures still reach 20 degrees on the warmest days.
Nepal is most famous as the location of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain. In fact, eight of the tallest mountains in the world are located within the Himalayas, impressive in their own right, although none reach the incredible heights of Everest, which stands at 8,848 metres.
Nepal is also the birthplace of Buddhism, the ancient religion that was founded around 2,700 years ago by a Shakya Prince who renounced his sovereign status in favour of a life of asceticism, and became known as Gautama Buddha.
Humans have been living in the Nepalese region for at least 11,000 years, with historically significant settlements first arising around 500 BCE. In Medieval times, Nepalese leaders banded together to rule the country for several centuries, until their alliance dissolved and the kingdom became splintered once again.
During the 18th century, Gorkhan king Prithvi Narayan Shah embarked on a series of battles in an attempt to unite the country and secure its borders. In 1923, Nepal signed a formal agreement with the UK, recognising Nepal’s independence and establishing an official friendship between the two countries. Consequently, Nepal supplied both logistical and military aid to Britain during both world wars.
In 1846, the absolute power of Nepal’s monarchy had been overthrown; in 1950 this situation was reversed. However, by the 1990s the people of Nepal were demanding a return to democracy, which led to elections in 1991, and the creation of a new constitution. After decades of instability Nepal’s monarchy was abolished in 2008, and the country became a republic.
As a result of the enormous altitude range in the country, Nepal is also a country of high biological diversity. A huge range of plants and animals live here, including many iconic species. Nepal’s national flower is the rhododendron, which is abundant throughout much of the country, along with bamboo and palms, and tall sal trees, which hold great significance in Buddhist tradition.
In the mammalian world, Nepal’s natives include the Bengal tiger, Bengal fox, clouded leopard, Indian rhinoceros, Indian elephant, and red panda. One particularly elusive animal is the snow leopard, which lives high in the Himalayas, and thanks to its incredible skill at self-camouflage, is rarely seen or photographed.
Another of Nepal’s unique native animals is the spiny babbler, which has breast feathers like spiny shafts, and a complex song that alternatives between full-throated warbles, sharp chirps, and mimicry of other sounds.
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