Nepal is a small but wondrous land of approximately 30,000,000 people, wedged in between India and China (Tibet). Its defining landscapes as well as many aspects of the rich cultural and spiritual life of its people, have been created through both the privations, yet also through the magnificence of the towering edifices of the Himalayan ranges. The mountains, which form the border with China, have bestowed upon Nepal immeasurable natural beauty. It is a country in which the unique mountainous terrain begets the deep spirituality of the ethnically varied inhabitants and provides the backdrop for a plethora of diverse and splendid religious festivals and rituals which take place throughout the year. Even from the hot jungles and fertile plains of the lowlands adjacent to the Indian border known as “The Terai”, the imposing peaks of the famous Anna Purna Range are clearly visible under clear skies. Mt Everest, 8884metres, known as Sagarmartha in Nepali and Chonmolongma in Tibetan, is Nepal’s most renowned sight. Nepal may possess on her border with Tibet an enviable jewel in Earth’s highest mountain, but Nepal is still a very poor country. The partially impenetrable mountains and the rugged, undulating terrain contribute in part to this situation. Life for most of the people consists of a constant, wearying physical struggle just to meet the basic human needs of food and shelter. In the past, the provision of education to all people has also been hampered in large part because of Nepal’s topography.
What a paradox! The land is blessed with many natural beauteous treasures, yet her people are amongst the most impoverished in the world. The geophysical conditions of the region which have created the mighty snow clad mountains, the steep green slopes, the deep ravines and gorges through which surging river torrents pour, fed by melting snows and the monsoonal rains, also compound the challenges of life for most of the population. Access to many remote mountain villages in the past was always only on foot along well - worn mountain paths, which is why the country has been known in recent decades as such a desirable “trekking” destination. The movement of two major tectonic plates, which created and is still causing the Himalayas to continue to edge heavenward, makes Nepal at times earthquake prone. In the most recent catastrophe, around 9,000 people lost their life in the April 25 2015 earthquake and aftershocks. The ensuing landslides also massively disrupted the supply of essential provisions and medical aid to the many mountain villages which suffered virtual decimation during this major geophysical event. Yet even in the face of such calamity, the people of Nepal demonstrated inspirational stoicism and resilience. Nepal needs visitors from overseas to come to share their undulating landscapes and their vibrant cultural life. Nepali people want to share their “riches” with you. By spending time here, you in turn are contributing resources which will help engender further optimism abut the future for the sons and daughters of this developing nation.
Time spent in Nepal has been a life changing experience for so many travellers who simply become enthralled by the impressive interplay of landscape and culture. Come and visit Nepal. Expect to see life differently afterwards.