Help Wikitravel grow by contributing to an article! Learn how.

Difference between revisions of "Template talk:Quickbar/working"

From Wikitravel
Jump to: navigation, search
(New page: ==Understand== <!-- begin quick bar --> <div id="quickbar" style="float: right; margin: 0 0 1em 1em"> {| cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0" style="border: 1px solid #9866FF; font-size:85%; b...)
 
(Understand)
 
(4 intermediate revisions by one user not shown)
Line 25: Line 25:
 
| valign="top" style="padding-left:5px; padding-right:5px; white-space:nowrap;" | '''[[Electrical systems|Electricity]]'''
 
| valign="top" style="padding-left:5px; padding-right:5px; white-space:nowrap;" | '''[[Electrical systems|Electricity]]'''
 
| 127V/60Hz
 
| 127V/60Hz
 +
|-
 +
| valign="top" style="padding-left:5px; padding-right:5px; white-space:nowrap;" | '''[[List of country calling codes|Calling Code]]'''
 +
| +52
 
|-
 
|-
 
| valign="top" style="padding-left:5px; padding-right:5px; white-space:nowrap;" | '''[[Time zones|Time Zone]]'''
 
| valign="top" style="padding-left:5px; padding-right:5px; white-space:nowrap;" | '''[[Time zones|Time Zone]]'''
Line 68: Line 71:
 
* Mexico uses the 24-hour clock system for time keeping.
 
* Mexico uses the 24-hour clock system for time keeping.
 
Mexico observes daylight savings time (DST) the same way as the USA did pre-2007, from first Sunday in April to last Sunday in October.  This now includes the tropical regions of southern Mexico as well. Note there will be several weeks each year when the U.S. is on DST, but Mexico is not.  The state of Sonora south of [[Arizona]], does not observe DST since Arizona doesn't have it either.
 
Mexico observes daylight savings time (DST) the same way as the USA did pre-2007, from first Sunday in April to last Sunday in October.  This now includes the tropical regions of southern Mexico as well. Note there will be several weeks each year when the U.S. is on DST, but Mexico is not.  The state of Sonora south of [[Arizona]], does not observe DST since Arizona doesn't have it either.
 +
 +
 +
== Template test cases ==
 +
 +
{{Quickbar/working
 +
| name=No Flag<br />No Location
 +
| capital=[[Mexico City]] (Distrito Federal)
 +
| currency=Mexican peso (MXN)
 +
| population=106,202,903 (July 2006 est.)
 +
| callingcode=+52
 +
| electricity=127V/60Hz
 +
| timezone=UTC &minus;6 to UTC &minus;8
 +
}}
 +
 +
Mexico is one of the most popular tourist countries on earth (over 20 million foreign visitors last year). Much of the tourist industry is centered around the beach resorts as well as the altiplano in the central part of the country. Visiting the northern interior allows visitors to get off the beaten path a bit. American tourists tend to predominate on the [[Baja]] peninsula and the more modernized beach resorts ([[Cancún]], [[Puerto Vallarta]]), while European tourists congregate around the smaller resort areas in the south like [[Playa del Carmen]] and colonial towns [[San Cristóbal de las Casas]].
 +
 +
Mexico is one of the most popular tourist countries on earth (over 20 million foreign visitors last year). Much of the tourist industry is centered around the beach resorts as well as the altiplano in the central part of the country. Visiting the northern interior allows visitors to get off the beaten path a bit. American tourists tend to predominate on the [[Baja]] peninsula and the more modernized beach resorts ([[Cancún]], [[Puerto Vallarta]]), while European tourists congregate around the smaller resort areas in the south like [[Playa del Carmen]] and colonial towns [[San Cristóbal de las Casas]].
 +
 +
===Climate===
 +
 +
{{Quickbar/working
 +
| name=No Flag
 +
| location = Image:LocationMexico.png
 +
| capital=[[Mexico City]] (Distrito Federal)
 +
| currency=Mexican peso (MXN)
 +
| population=106,202,903 (July 2006 est.)
 +
| callingcode=+52
 +
| electricity=127V/60Hz
 +
| timezone=UTC &minus;6 to UTC &minus;8
 +
}}
 +
 +
Mexico uses the [[Metric and Imperial equivalents|metric sytem]] for all measurements. All weather forecasts will be in celsius (°C).
 +
 +
Mexico uses the [[Metric and Imperial equivalents|metric sytem]] for all measurements. All weather forecasts will be in celsius (°C).
 +
 +
Mexico uses the [[Metric and Imperial equivalents|metric sytem]] for all measurements. All weather forecasts will be in celsius (°C).
 +
 +
Varies from desert-like regions on the northwest part of the country (cities like Hermosillo, Ciudad Juárez, or Los Cabos);  and temperate in the northeastern part (cities like  Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo, Ciudad Acuña), but note that much of the northern Mexican territory gets rather cold during the winter with average day time highs from 8°C (39F) to 12°C (59F), overnight lows average around -4°C (24F) and snow is sometimes frequent in certain northern places like (the Sierra Madre of Chihuahua, Durango, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and northern Tamaulipas) but can also occur at higher altitudes in the temperate forests in the central part of Mexico. Also, northern Mexico gets very hot during the summer with sudden violent storms in the afternoon, with heavy rain and hail, also an isolated tornado can occur with these storms but rarely, and the temperatures during the day can quickly exceed 39°C (100F). The Bajío region is semiarid (cities like Aguascalientes, León and Zacatecas); and temperate forests in the central part of the country {Mexico City, Toluca}, and tropical rain forests in the south and southeast regions like (Chiapas, Cancún). The region stretching from Guadalajara to Morelia enjoys what many consider one of the best climates in the world, with daily high temps in the high 70s and 80s (21°C to 26°C) year round. During hurricane season, hurricanes are common in the coastal cities specially those near the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.
 +
 +
===Landscape===
 +
 +
{{Quickbar/working
 +
| name=No Location
 +
| flag=Image:mx-flag.png
 +
| capital=[[Mexico City]] (Distrito Federal)
 +
| currency=Mexican peso (MXN)
 +
| population=106,202,903 (July 2006 est.)
 +
| callingcode=+52
 +
| electricity=127V/60Hz
 +
| timezone=UTC &minus;6 to UTC &minus;8
 +
}}
 +
 +
High, rugged mountains; low coastal plains; high plateaus; temperate plains with grasslands and Mezquite trees in the northeast, desert and even more rugged mountains in the northwest, tropical rainforests in the south and southeast {Chiapas, Cancún} semiarid in places like {Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosí} and temperate coniferous and deciduous forests in the central part of the country {Mexico City, Toluca}.
 +
 +
High, rugged mountains; low coastal plains; high plateaus; temperate plains with grasslands and Mezquite trees in the northeast, desert and even more rugged mountains in the northwest, tropical rainforests in the south and southeast {Chiapas, Cancún} semiarid in places like {Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosí} and temperate coniferous and deciduous forests in the central part of the country {Mexico City, Toluca}.
 +
 +
High, rugged mountains; low coastal plains; high plateaus; temperate plains with grasslands and Mezquite trees in the northeast, desert and even more rugged mountains in the northwest, tropical rainforests in the south and southeast {Chiapas, Cancún} semiarid in places like {Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosí} and temperate coniferous and deciduous forests in the central part of the country {Mexico City, Toluca}.
 +
 +
===Holidays===
 +
 +
{{Quickbar/working
 +
| name=Mexico
 +
| flag=Image:mx-flag.png
 +
| location = Image:LocationMexico.png
 +
| capital=[[Mexico City]] (Distrito Federal)
 +
| currency=Mexican peso (MXN)
 +
| population=106,202,903 (July 2006 est.)
 +
| callingcode=+52
 +
| electricity=127V/60Hz
 +
| timezone=UTC &minus;6 to UTC &minus;8
 +
}}
 +
 +
* January 1st
 +
* January 6th: The Three Wise Men day, celebrating arrival of the Three Wise Men to see and bring gifts to baby Jesus.
 +
* February 2nd: The Candelaria Virgin Day, celebrated in many places around the country (not an official holiday)
 +
* February 5th: Constitution Day(1917)
 +
* February 24th: Flag Day (not official)
 +
* March 21st: Birth of Benito Juárez (1806). 2006 was the bicentennial year.
 +
* May 1st: Labor Day.
 +
* May 5th: The Battle of Puebla against the French army, 19th century. (Not an official holiday)
 +
* September 1st: Dia del Informe. Although no longer official, it is still important as it is the day in which the Mexican President addresses to the Nation of the progress his administration on a yearly basis. Every President makes six ''Informes''
 +
* September 16th: Independence day (celebrates the start of the fight for the independence from Spain in 1810, achieved until September 27th, 1821).
 +
* October 12: Discovery of America (''Descubrimiento de America'')(not an official holiday)
 +
* November 2nd: Day of the dead (Not an official holiday)
 +
* November 20th: Revolution day (1910)
 +
* December 12th: Virgin Mary of Guadalupe Day. Unless is not official, is one of the most important Mexican Holidays
 +
* December 24th: Christmas Eve (Not an official holiday, but usual full non working day or only half day)
 +
* December 25th: Christmas
 +
* December 31st: New Years Eve (Not an official holiday, but usual full non working day or only half day)
 +
 +
Easter is widely observed nationwide, according to the yearly Catholic calendar (the first Sunday after the first full moon in Spring). Actual non working days may shift to the Monday before the holiday, so check an up to date calendar.
 +
 +
===Time===
 +
* Mexico uses the 24-hour clock system for time keeping.
 +
Mexico observes daylight savings time (DST) the same way as the USA did pre-2007, from first Sunday in April to last Sunday in October.  This now includes the tropical regions of southern Mexico as well. Note there will be several weeks each year when the U.S. is on DST, but Mexico is not.  The state of Sonora south of [[Arizona]], does not observe DST since Arizona doesn't have it either.
 +
 +
=Nepal=
 +
 +
[[Image:Patan1.jpg|250px|thumb|Kathmandu, city of Patan]]
 +
 +
'''Nepal''' [http://www.welcomenepal.com] is a landlocked country in [[South Asia|Southern]] [[Asia]], between the [[Tibet]] autonomous region of [[China]] and [[India]]. It contains eight of the world's 10 highest peaks, including [[Mount Everest]] - the world's tallest - on the border with [[Tibet]], and [[Lumbini]], the birth place of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Nepal recently was declared a republic and has abolished the monarchy.
 +
 +
 +
==Regions==
 +
 +
Nepal is officially divided into 14 administrative zones and five development regions, but travellers might be more comfortable with the conceptual division below (based on the country's elevation). From north to south:
 +
 +
{{Regionlist|
 +
 +
regionmap=Nepal-regions-map.png |
 +
regionmaptext=Regions of Nepal |
 +
regionmapsize=450px |
 +
 +
region1name=[[Himalayas (Nepal)|Himalayas]] |
 +
region1color=#748ab7 |
 +
region1items= |
 +
region1description=The roof of the world, including [[Mount Everest]], [[Annapurna]], [[Langtang National Park]] and [[The Great Himalaya Trail]] with numerous sightseeing, trekking, and other adventure sport opportunities. |
 +
 +
region2name=[[Kathmandu Valley]] |
 +
region2color=#c55a26|
 +
region2items= |
 +
region2description=Home to [[Kathmandu]], [[Patan]] and [[Bhaktapur]], this is the heart of Nepal and a crossroads of cultures with numerous sacred temples and monuments. |
 +
 +
region3name=[[Middle Hills]] |
 +
region3color=#b6b65 |
 +
region3items= |
 +
region3description=The Hill Region (''Pahar'' in Nepali) is mostly between 700 and 4,000 meters altitude. This region is split from the Terai Range by the Mahabharat Lekh (Lesser Himalaya) and forms a geographic midlands between the Terai and the Himalayas. It includes the scenic [[Pokhara]] valley, a popular base for activities in the area.|
 +
 +
region4name=[[Western Tarai]] |
 +
region4color=#945394 |
 +
region4items= |
 +
region4description=The western side of the Terai mountain range with the Chitwan National Park and Bardia National Park. |
 +
 +
region5name=[[Eastern Tarai]] |
 +
region5color=#50b250 |
 +
region5items= |
 +
region5description=Quite a populated area with [[Biratnagar]], Nepal's second largest municipality. |
 +
 +
}}
 +
 +
==Cities==
 +
 +
* [[Kathmandu]] {{-}} capital & cultural center of Nepal, with the stupas at [[Boudhanath]] and [[Swayambhu]]
 +
* [[Bhaktapur]] {{-}} well-preserved historical city, center of Nepali pottery making, no motorized vehicles allowed!
 +
* [[Biratnagar]] {{-}} this city is in eastern Nepal near Dharan and famous for political reason
 +
* [[Birgunj]] {{-}} business gateway between India and Nepal. It is in mid-southern Nepal
 +
* [[Boudhanath]] {{-}} (Boudha) Home of the largest Buddhist Stupa in Nepal and a very important place of pilgrimage & meditation for Buddhists, local Nepalis, & tourists.
 +
* [[Janakpur]] {{-}} a historical religious centre and home to the 500-year old Janaki Temple
 +
* [[Namche Bazaar]] {{-}} a Sherpa settlement located in the Solu Khumbu region - popular with trekkers
 +
* [[Nepalgunj]] {{-}} the main hub for the Mid- and Far-Western Development Region; Bardiya National Park is close-by
 +
* [[Patan]] {{-}} Beautiful, historic Patan Durbar Square was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979
 +
* [[Pokhara]] {{-}} picturesque lake-side town fast becoming the destination of choice for travelers due to the scenery, adventure sports, dining, hotels & live music scene
 +
 +
==Other destinations==
 +
 +
Locked between the snow peaks of the [[Himalayas]] and the seething Ganges plain, Nepal has long been home to wandering ascetics and tantric yogis. Consequently, the country has a wealth of sacred sites and natural wonders:
 +
 +
* [[Annapurna]] {{-}} popular trekking region of Nepal with the world-famous [[Annapurna Circuit]]
 +
* [[Chitwan National Park]] {{-}} see tigers, rhinos and animals in the jungle
 +
* [[Daman (Nepal)|Daman]] {{-}} tiny village in the mountains offering panoramic views of the Himalayas; especially stunning at sunrise and sunset
 +
* [[Haleshi]] (Tibetan: ''Maratika'') {{-}} the site of a mountain cave where Padmasambhava attained a state beyond life and death
 +
* [[Lumbini]] {{-}} the sacred site of the Buddha Shakyamuni's birth
 +
* [[Khumbu|Mount Everest]] {{-}} the tallest peak of the world in the [[Khumbu]] region
 +
* [[Nagarkot]] {{-}} a hill station one hour from Kathmandu offering excellent views of the Himalayan Range
 +
* [[Parping]] {{-}} the site of several sacred caves associated with Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism
 +
* [[Tangting]]{{-}} a beautiful and undiscovered traditional Gurung village with a stunning view of the Annapurna range
 +
 +
''See also: [[Sacred sites of the Indian sub-continent]].''
 +
 +
==Understand==
 +
 +
{{quickbar/working
 +
| name=Nepal
 +
| location=Image:LocationNepal.png
 +
| flag=Image:Np-flag.png
 +
| flagwidth=40px
 +
| capital=[[Kathmandu]]
 +
| currency=Nepalese rupee (NPR)
 +
| population=27,676,547 (July 2006 est.)
 +
| electricity=
 +
| callingcode=+977
 +
| timezone=UTC+5:45
 +
}}
 +
 +
===Geography===
 +
 +
====Elevation Zones====
 +
 +
Nepal has been divided into elevation zones, south to north:
 +
* '''Outer [[Terai]]''' - Level plains, a cultural and linguistic extension of northern India. Nepali is spoken less than '''Awadhi''' and '''Bhojpuri''' dialects related to Hindi and '''Maithili'''.  Lumbini, '''Buddha's birthplace''' and Janakpur, Sita's birthplace are in this zone.  Other cities -- Dhangadhi, [[Nepalgunj]], [[Sunauli|Bhairawa]], Butwal, [[Birgunj]], [[Janakpur]] and [[Biratnagar]] -- are transportation hubs and border towns more than travel destinations.  Nevertheless the Terai may offer opportunities for intimate exposure to traditional Indian culture that have become less available in India itself.
 +
 +
* '''Siwalik Range''' or Churia Hills - the outermost and lowest range of foothills, about 600 m (2,000 ft) high.  Extends across the country east to west but with significant gaps and many subranges.  Poor soils and no agriculture to speak of.  No developed tourist destinations, however the forests are wild and the sparse population of primitive hunters and gatherers is unique.
 +
 +
* '''Inner Terai''' - large valleys between the Siwaliks and higher foothills to the north.  The '''Dang''' and '''Deukhuri''' valleys in the Mid West are the largest, offering opportunities to experience Tharu art and culture.  '''Chitwan''' south of Kathmandu is another of these valleys, known for '''Royal Chitwan National Park''' where tigers, rhinos, crocodiles, deer and birds can be observed.  Originally these valleys were malarial and lightly populated by '''Tharus''' who had evolved resistance and developed architectural and behavioral adaptations limiting exposure to the most dangerous nocturnal mosquitos.  Suppression of mosquitos with DDT in the 1960s opened these these valleys to settlers from the hills who cleared forests and displaced and exploited Tharus.  Nevertheless remoter parts of these valleys still have a Garden of Eden quality - forests broken by indefinite fields, lazy rivers, fascinating aboriginal peoples.
 +
 +
* '''Mahabharat Range''' - a prominent foothill range continuous across the country from east to west except for narrow transecting canyons, with elevations ascending up to 3,000 m (10,000 ft).  Steep southern slopes are a no-man's land between lowland and '''Pahari''' (hill) cultures and languages, which begin along the crest and gentler northern slopes.  Given clear skies, there are panoramic views of high himalaya from almost anywhere on the crest.  Underdeveloped as a tourist venue compared to India's 'Hill Stations', nevertheless [[Daman (Nepal)|Daman]] and [[Tansen]] are attractive destinations. 
 +
 +
* '''Middle Hills''' - Valleys north of the Mahabharat Range and hills up to about 2,000 m (6,500 ft). are mainly inhabited by Hindus of the '''Bahun''' (priestly brahmin) and '''Chhetri''' (warriors and rulers) castes who speak Nepali as their first language.  Higher where it becomes too cold to grow rice, populations are largely '''Magar''', '''Gurung''', '''Tamang''', '''Rai''' or '''Limbu''', the '''hill tribes''' from which the British recruited '''Gurkha''' soldiers while the soldiers' families grew crops suited to temperate climates.  Men in these ethnic groups also work as porters or may be herders moving their flocks into the high mountains in summer and the lower valleys in winter.  Trekking through the hills is unremittingly scenic with streams and terraced fields, picturesque villages, a variety of ethnic groups with distinctive costumes, and views of the high himalayas from high points.
 +
 +
* '''Valleys''' - '''[[Kathmandu]]''' and to the west '''[[Pokhara]]''' occupy large valleys in the hills The Kathmandu Valley was urbanized long before the first europeans reached the scene and has historic neighborhoods, temple complexes, pagodas, buddhist stupas, palaces and bazaars.  Its natives are predominantly '''Newar''' farmers, traders, craftsmen and civil servants.  Newar culture is an interesting synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist elements. Unfortunately a range of hills north of this valley limit views of the himalaya. Pokhara has fewer urban points of interest but outstanding views of the nearby '''[[Annapurna]] Himalaya'''.  Pokhara's Newar population is confined to bazaars.  Elsewhere upper caste Hindus dominate, whose ancestors probably were '''Khas''' peoples from far western Nepal.  Both valleys offer excellent opportunities to experience Nepal without strenuous trekking.  Narrower valleys along streams and rivers are important rice-growing centers in the hills.  There is a limited amount of this land and most of it is owned by upper caste Hindus.
 +
 +
* '''Lekhs''' - Snow occasionally falls and lasts days or weeks in the winter above 3,000 m (10,000 ft), but melts away in summer below about 5,500 m (18,000 ft).  Treeline is about 4,000 m (13,000 ft).  This zone is used for summer pasturage but not year-round habitation. 
 +
 +
* North of the lekhs, the snowy high himalayas rise abruptly along a fault zone to peaks over 6,700 m (22,000 ft) and even over 8,000 m (26,000 ft).  Himalaya means 'abode of snow', which is uninhabited.  Valleys among the peaks are inhabited, especially along trade routes where rice from the lowlands was traded for salt from the Tibetan Plateau along with other goods.  Trade has diminished since [[China]] annexed [[Tibet]] in the 1950s but catering to trekkers and climbers has become an economic engine.  People living along these routes have Tibetan affinities but usually speak fluent Nepali.
 +
 +
* '''Trans-Himalaya''' - Peaks in this region north of the highest himalayas in central and western Nepal are lower and gentler, mostly around 6,000 m (20,000 ft).  Valleys below 5,000 m (17,000 ft). are inhabited by people who are essentially '''Tibetan''' and have adapted to living at much higher elevations than other Nepalis.  Roads have not yet penetrated this far and travel is expensive by air or arduous on foot.  Nevertheless, it is a unique opportunity to experience a very significant and attractive culture in spectacular surroundings.
 +
* <see name="" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=""></see>
 +
 +
====River Basins====
 +
 +
are also important geographic divisions. The '''Mahabharat Range''' is a major hydrologic barrier in Nepal and other parts of the Himalaya.  South-flowing rivers converge in '''candelabra''' shapes to break through this range in a few narrow gorges.  Travel is usually easier within these candelabra drainage systems than between them, so high divides between river systems became historically important political, linguistic and cultural boundaries.
 +
 +
=====Karnali-Seti-Bheri=====
 +
 +
The '''Karnali''' system in the far west is the birthplace of Pahari ('hill') culture.  It was settled by people called '''Khas''' speaking an '''indo-european''' language called '''Khaskura''' ('Khas talk') that was related to other north indian languages, all claiming descent from classical '''Sanskrit'''.
 +
 +
East of the Karnali proper, along a major tributary called the '''Bheri''' and further east in another basin called the '''Rapti''' lived a Tibeto-Burman people called '''Kham'''.  Khas and Kham people seem to have been allies and probably intermarried to create the synthesis of aryan and mongoloid features that especially characterizes the second-highest '''Chhetri''' (Kshatriya) caste.  It appears that Khas kings recruited Kham men as guards and soldiers.  Khas and Kham territories in the far west were subdivided into small kingdoms called the '''Baisi''', literally '22' as they were counted.
 +
 +
Nepal has one of the world's highest birthrates because Hindu girls usually marry by their early teens, causing their entire reproductive potential to be utilized.  Furthermore, men who can afford it often take multiple wives.  This may trace back to Khas culture, explaining relentless Khas colonization eastward as finite amounts of land suitable for rice cultivation were inevitably outstripped by high birthrates.
 +
 +
=====Rapti''' and '''Gandaki=====
 +
 +
The Rapti river system east of the Karnali-Bheri had few lowlands suitable for growing rice and extensive highlands that were not attractive for Khas settlement but were a barrier to migration.  However the Rapti's upper tributaries rose somewhat south of the Himalaya.  Between these tributaries and the Dhaulagiri range of the Himalaya, a large east-west valley called '''Dhorpatan''' branching off the upper Bheri provided a detour eastward, over an easy pass called Jaljala into the '''Gandaki''' river system further east. The Gandaki is said to have seven major tributaries, most rising in or beyond the high Himalaya.  They merge to cut through the Mahabharat and Siwalik ranges.  In this basin  elevations were generally lower and rainfall was higher compared to the Karnali-Bheri and Rapti basins. There was great potential for rice cultivation, the agricultural base of the Khas way of life.  A collection of small principalities called the '''Chaubisi''' developed.  Chaubisi literally means '24', as these kingdoms were counted.  Not all were Khas kindoms.  Some were Magar -- a large indigenous hill tribe people related to the Kham.  Other kingdoms were Gurung and Tamang.  Several Gandaki tributaries rose in the transhimalayan region where inhabitants and rulers became increasingly Tibetanized to the north.
 +
 +
* Emergence of '''Shah Dynasty''' from '''Gorkha'''
 +
Within the Chaubisi kingdoms of the Gandaki basin, Gorkha was a small valley east of Pokhara ruled by a Khas family now called Shah, an honorific title that may have come later, however any earlier name seems to be forgotten.  In 1743 A.D. '''Prithvi Narayan Shah''' became the ruler of Gorkha after his father Nara Bhupal Shah died.  Prithvi Narayan already had a reputation as a hotheaded upstart.  Resolving to modernize Gorkha's army, he was bringing modern arms from India when customs officers demanded inspection and payment of duties.  Prithvi Narayan refused and attacked the officers, killing several before escaping with his arms and men.  He also visited Benares to study the situation of local rulers and the growing encroachment of British interests.  Prithvi concluded that invasion was a chronic danger to rulers on the plains of northern India, whereas the hills were more defensible and offered more scope to carve out a lasting empire.
 +
 +
====='''Kathmandu Valley''' (Bagmati)=====
 +
 +
Prithvi Narayan must have been a charismatic figure, for he recruited, equipped and trained a formidable army and persuaded his subjects to underwrite all this from his ascension until his death in 1775.  Through conquest and treaty, he consolidated several Chaubisi kingdoms.  As his domain expanded, '''Khaskura''' became known as '''Gorkhali''', i.e. the language of the Gorkha kingdom.  Then he moved east into the next river basin, the '''Bagmati''' which drains the Kathmandu Valley that held three small but prosperous urban kingdoms.  Like the Rapti, the Bagmati rises somewhat south of the Himalaya.  Unlike the Rapti basin, this valley had once held a large lake and the remaining alluvial soil was exceptionally fertile.  Between the agricultural abundance, local crafts, and extensive trade with Tibet, the cities were prosperous.  Prithvi Narayan encircled the valley, cutting off trade and restricting ordinary activities, even farming and getting water.  With a combination of stealth, brutality and intimidation he  he prevailed and deposed the local kings in 1769, making Kathmandu his new capital.  This was the high point of Prithvi Narayan's career, however he continued consolidating the Kathmandu Valley with  the Chaubisi and Baisi federations to the west until his death in 1775.  Gorkhali was re-dubbed '''Nepali''' as 'Nepal' came to mean not only the urbanized Kathmandu Valley, but all lands ruled by the Shahs.
 +
 +
=====Koshi=====
 +
 +
Prithvi Narayan's heirs Pratap Singh, Rana Bahadur and Girvan Yuddha continued expansion of their kingdom into the '''Koshi''' river basin east of the Bagmati system. Like the Gandaki, the Koshi traditionally has seven major tributaries descending from the Himalaya before joining forces to break through the Mahabharat and  Siwalik ranges.  Ranges drained by Koshi tributaries include Mount [[Everest]] and its neighboring peaks, as well as the western side of the Kangchenjunga massif.  Kangchenjunga and a high ridge to the south are the watershed between the Koshi and Tista basins as well as the border between Nepal and the former kingdom [[Sikkim]] that India annexed it in 1975.
 +
 +
=====Containment by British=====
 +
 +
The Shah dynasty's expansion continued eastward across Sikkim and westward across Kumaon and beyond Dehra Dun  to the Sutlej River, until the British declared war in 1814 and finally defeated Nepalese forces in 1816.  The British wanted a buffer state between British India and the Chinese empire that ultimately controlled Tibet, so it trimmed Nepal back approximately to its present size and let it remain independent.
 +
 +
====='''Informal Settlement''' in Sikkim and Bhutan=====
 +
 +
Nevertheless Nepalese eastward colonization beyond the Kosi continued informally, still driven by high birthrates.  By the 1800s  land-hungry Nepalis were settling in the '''Tista''' basin, which happened to be a different country, '''[[Sikkim]]'''.  In the 1900s they were settling beyond Sikkim in the kingdom of '''[[Bhutan]]'''.  This kingdom -- where late marriage and low population densities prevailed among the indigenous, culturally Tibetan population -- saw the demographic writing on the wall and expelled as many as 100,000 Nepalis in 1990.
 +
 +
===Caste, Ethnicity, Religion and languages===
 +
 +
The caste and ethnic groups of Nepal according to the 2001 census are classified into five main categories: (a)Castes originating from Hindu groups (b) Newars (c) the ethnic groups or janajati (d)
 +
Muslims (e)Others.
 +
 +
====Hindu Groups====
 +
 +
Hindu castes migrated from India to Nepal after 11th century due to Muslim invasion of northern India. The traditional Hindu caste system is based on the four Varna Vyawastha "the class system" of '''Brahman''' (Bahun) priests, scholars and advisors; '''Kshatriya''' (Chhetri) rulers and warriors, '''Vaishya''' (merchants); '''Shudra''' (farmers and menial occupations not considered polluting).  Below the Shudra '''Dalit''' perform 'polluting' work such as tanning and cleaning latrines.  However the middle Vaishya and Shudra are underrepresented in the hills, apparently because they did not have compelling reason to leave the plains while Muslim invaders tried to eliminate previous elites.  Dalits seem to have accompanied the upper castes into the hills because they were bound by longstanding patronage arrangements.
 +
 +
Traditional caste rules govern who can eat with whom, especially when boiled rice is served, and who can accept water from whom.  Until the 1950s these rules were enforced by law.
 +
 +
Dalits are subject to caste-based discrimination and so called ‘untouchability’ in social, economic, educational, political and religious areas. The National Dalit Commission (2002) categorized 28 cultural groups as Dalits. Some argue that the use of the term Dalit will never ever help to abolish caste-based untouchability. (Literally, 'Dalit' translates to 'suppressed' in Nepali.) There are suggestions that the term should not be used because it not only breeds inferiority but is also insulting.
 +
 +
====Newar====
 +
 +
Newars -- the indigenous people of the Kathmandu valley -- follow both Hinduism and Buddhism. According to the 2001 census they can be classified into 40 distinct cultural groups, but all speak a common language called Nepal bhasa (Newa bhaaya). Newars use prevailing lingua francas to communicate outside their community: Nepali in the hills and Maithili, Bhojpuri and Awadhi in the Terai.
 +
 +
====Indigenous peoples====
 +
 +
The ethnic groups of the hills, Terai and mountain areas are grouped as Janajati. According
 +
to the National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities (NFDIN), ethnic
 +
groups are those “who have their own mother tongue and traditional customs, a distinct
 +
cultural identity, a distinct social structure and written or oral history all of their own"
 +
(NFDIN, 2003). A total of 61 ''Adibasi Janajatis'' have been recognised by the Nepal Government, 5 are from the mountain regions, 20 from the Hills, 7 from inner Terai and 11 from the Terai region. A Janajati is a community who has its own mother tongue and traditional culture and yet does not fall under the conventional fourfold Varna of the Hindu system or the Hindu hierarchical caste structure[http://www.nefin.org.np/]. Many of these ethnic groups are Hinduized to some degree, although Hindu practices supplement rather than replace more ancient beliefs and practices. Unlike the Hindus, many indigenous nationalities of Nepal such as the Sherpa people as well as the people of Muslim & Christian faiths, have a culture of eating beef.
 +
 +
Other caste and ethnic groups included in the ‘other’ category are; Sikhs, Christians, Bengalis, and Marawadis.
 +
 +
Different indigenous nationalities are in different stages of development. Some indigenous nationalities are nomads, e.g. Raute, and some are forest dwellers, e.g. Chepang and Bankaria. Most of the indigenous nationalities rely on agriculture and pastoralism and very few are cosmopolitan, e.g. Newar.
 +
 +
====Religion====
 +
 +
The census of 2001 has listed 8 religions—Hindu, Buddhist, Islam, Kiranti, Christian, Jain, Sikh and Bahai. In addition, are animism or Bon are still practiced. Hindu comprises 80.6% and other religions are 19.4%.
 +
 +
===Climate===
 +
 +
Nepal has a Monsoonal climate with four main seasons - though traditionally a year was categorized into six distinct climate periods: Basanta (spring), Grishma (early summer), Barkha (summer monsoon), Sharad (early autumn), Hemanta (late autumn) and Shishir (winter).
 +
 +
Below is a general guide to conditions at different seasons:
 +
*Heavy monsoonal rains from '''June to September''' - the rains are generally lighter high in the Himalayas than in Kathmandu, though the mountain peaks are often not visible due to clouds. In the Kathmandu Valley & Pokhara  - monsoon rains typically consist of an hour or two of rain every two or three days. The rains clean the air, streets, & cool the air. If you come, bring an umbrella, expect lower lodging prices & fewer tourists.
 +
*Clear and cool weather from '''October to December''' - after the monsoon, there is little dust in the air so this is the best season to visit the hilly and mountainous regions.
 +
*Cold from '''January to March''', with the temperature in Kathmandu often dropping as low as  0°C (32°F) at night, with extreme cold at high elevations.  It is possible to trek in places like the [[Everest]] region during the winter, but it is extremely cold and snow fall may prevent going above 4,000 - 4,500 meters (13,000 - 15,000 feet).  The Jomosom trek is a reasonable alternative, staying below 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) with expected minimum temperatures about -10°C (14°F) (and much better chances of avoiding heavy snow.)
 +
*Dry and warm weather from '''April to June''' - there is an abundance of blooming flowers in the Himalayas at this time, with rhododendrons, in particular, adding a splash of color to the landscape.  Terai temperatures may reach or exceed 40°C (104°F) while Kathmandu temperatures are about 30°C (86°F). This is the best time to undertake mountain expeditions.
 +
 +
The recording of temperatures and rainfall of the major locations across Nepal was started in 1962 and their averages [http://exoticbuddha.com/2008/11/05/how-is-weather-in-nepal-in-different-seasons/] provides a reference point for analyzing the climate trend.

Latest revision as of 17:31, 18 August 2011

Contents

Understand[edit]

Mexico noframe
noframe
Capital Mexico City (Distrito Federal)
Currency Mexican peso (MXN)
Population 106,202,903 (July 2006 est.)
Electricity 127V/60Hz
Calling Code +52
Time Zone UTC −6 to UTC −8

Mexico is one of the most popular tourist countries on earth (over 20 million foreign visitors last year). Much of the tourist industry is centered around the beach resorts as well as the altiplano in the central part of the country. Visiting the northern interior allows visitors to get off the beaten path a bit. American tourists tend to predominate on the Baja peninsula and the more modernized beach resorts (Cancún, Puerto Vallarta), while European tourists congregate around the smaller resort areas in the south like Playa del Carmen and colonial towns San Cristóbal de las Casas.

Climate[edit]

Mexico uses the metric sytem for all measurements. All weather forecasts will be in celsius (°C).

Varies from desert-like regions on the northwest part of the country (cities like Hermosillo, Ciudad Juárez, or Los Cabos); and temperate in the northeastern part (cities like Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo, Ciudad Acuña), but note that much of the northern Mexican territory gets rather cold during the winter with average day time highs from 8°C (39F) to 12°C (59F), overnight lows average around -4°C (24F) and snow is sometimes frequent in certain northern places like (the Sierra Madre of Chihuahua, Durango, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and northern Tamaulipas) but can also occur at higher altitudes in the temperate forests in the central part of Mexico. Also, northern Mexico gets very hot during the summer with sudden violent storms in the afternoon, with heavy rain and hail, also an isolated tornado can occur with these storms but rarely, and the temperatures during the day can quickly exceed 39°C (100F). The Bajío region is semiarid (cities like Aguascalientes, León and Zacatecas); and temperate forests in the central part of the country {Mexico City, Toluca}, and tropical rain forests in the south and southeast regions like (Chiapas, Cancún). The region stretching from Guadalajara to Morelia enjoys what many consider one of the best climates in the world, with daily high temps in the high 70s and 80s (21°C to 26°C) year round. During hurricane season, hurricanes are common in the coastal cities specially those near the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

Landscape[edit]

High, rugged mountains; low coastal plains; high plateaus; temperate plains with grasslands and Mezquite trees in the northeast, desert and even more rugged mountains in the northwest, tropical rainforests in the south and southeast {Chiapas, Cancún} semiarid in places like {Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosí} and temperate coniferous and deciduous forests in the central part of the country {Mexico City, Toluca}.

Holidays[edit]

  • January 1st
  • January 6th: The Three Wise Men day, celebrating arrival of the Three Wise Men to see and bring gifts to baby Jesus.
  • February 2nd: The Candelaria Virgin Day, celebrated in many places around the country (not an official holiday)
  • February 5th: Constitution Day(1917)
  • February 24th: Flag Day (not official)
  • March 21st: Birth of Benito Juárez (1806). 2006 was the bicentennial year.
  • May 1st: Labor Day.
  • May 5th: The Battle of Puebla against the French army, 19th century. (Not an official holiday)
  • September 1st: Dia del Informe. Although no longer official, it is still important as it is the day in which the Mexican President addresses to the Nation of the progress his administration on a yearly basis. Every President makes six Informes
  • September 16th: Independence day (celebrates the start of the fight for the independence from Spain in 1810, achieved until September 27th, 1821).
  • October 12: Discovery of America (Descubrimiento de America)(not an official holiday)
  • November 2nd: Day of the dead (Not an official holiday)
  • November 20th: Revolution day (1910)
  • December 12th: Virgin Mary of Guadalupe Day. Unless is not official, is one of the most important Mexican Holidays
  • December 24th: Christmas Eve (Not an official holiday, but usual full non working day or only half day)
  • December 25th: Christmas
  • December 31st: New Years Eve (Not an official holiday, but usual full non working day or only half day)

Easter is widely observed nationwide, according to the yearly Catholic calendar (the first Sunday after the first full moon in Spring). Actual non working days may shift to the Monday before the holiday, so check an up to date calendar.

Time[edit]

  • Mexico uses the 24-hour clock system for time keeping.

Mexico observes daylight savings time (DST) the same way as the USA did pre-2007, from first Sunday in April to last Sunday in October. This now includes the tropical regions of southern Mexico as well. Note there will be several weeks each year when the U.S. is on DST, but Mexico is not. The state of Sonora south of Arizona, does not observe DST since Arizona doesn't have it either.


Template test cases[edit]

No Flag
No Location
Capital Mexico City (Distrito Federal)
Currency Mexican peso (MXN)
Population 106,202,903 (July 2006 est.)
Electricity 127V/60Hz
Calling Code +52
Time Zone UTC −6 to UTC −8


Mexico is one of the most popular tourist countries on earth (over 20 million foreign visitors last year). Much of the tourist industry is centered around the beach resorts as well as the altiplano in the central part of the country. Visiting the northern interior allows visitors to get off the beaten path a bit. American tourists tend to predominate on the Baja peninsula and the more modernized beach resorts (Cancún, Puerto Vallarta), while European tourists congregate around the smaller resort areas in the south like Playa del Carmen and colonial towns San Cristóbal de las Casas.

Mexico is one of the most popular tourist countries on earth (over 20 million foreign visitors last year). Much of the tourist industry is centered around the beach resorts as well as the altiplano in the central part of the country. Visiting the northern interior allows visitors to get off the beaten path a bit. American tourists tend to predominate on the Baja peninsula and the more modernized beach resorts (Cancún, Puerto Vallarta), while European tourists congregate around the smaller resort areas in the south like Playa del Carmen and colonial towns San Cristóbal de las Casas.

Climate[edit]

No Flag
noframe
Capital Mexico City (Distrito Federal)
Currency Mexican peso (MXN)
Population 106,202,903 (July 2006 est.)
Electricity 127V/60Hz
Calling Code +52
Time Zone UTC −6 to UTC −8


Mexico uses the metric sytem for all measurements. All weather forecasts will be in celsius (°C).

Mexico uses the metric sytem for all measurements. All weather forecasts will be in celsius (°C).

Mexico uses the metric sytem for all measurements. All weather forecasts will be in celsius (°C).

Varies from desert-like regions on the northwest part of the country (cities like Hermosillo, Ciudad Juárez, or Los Cabos); and temperate in the northeastern part (cities like Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo, Ciudad Acuña), but note that much of the northern Mexican territory gets rather cold during the winter with average day time highs from 8°C (39F) to 12°C (59F), overnight lows average around -4°C (24F) and snow is sometimes frequent in certain northern places like (the Sierra Madre of Chihuahua, Durango, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and northern Tamaulipas) but can also occur at higher altitudes in the temperate forests in the central part of Mexico. Also, northern Mexico gets very hot during the summer with sudden violent storms in the afternoon, with heavy rain and hail, also an isolated tornado can occur with these storms but rarely, and the temperatures during the day can quickly exceed 39°C (100F). The Bajío region is semiarid (cities like Aguascalientes, León and Zacatecas); and temperate forests in the central part of the country {Mexico City, Toluca}, and tropical rain forests in the south and southeast regions like (Chiapas, Cancún). The region stretching from Guadalajara to Morelia enjoys what many consider one of the best climates in the world, with daily high temps in the high 70s and 80s (21°C to 26°C) year round. During hurricane season, hurricanes are common in the coastal cities specially those near the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

Landscape[edit]

No Location noframe
Capital Mexico City (Distrito Federal)
Currency Mexican peso (MXN)
Population 106,202,903 (July 2006 est.)
Electricity 127V/60Hz
Calling Code +52
Time Zone UTC −6 to UTC −8


High, rugged mountains; low coastal plains; high plateaus; temperate plains with grasslands and Mezquite trees in the northeast, desert and even more rugged mountains in the northwest, tropical rainforests in the south and southeast {Chiapas, Cancún} semiarid in places like {Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosí} and temperate coniferous and deciduous forests in the central part of the country {Mexico City, Toluca}.

High, rugged mountains; low coastal plains; high plateaus; temperate plains with grasslands and Mezquite trees in the northeast, desert and even more rugged mountains in the northwest, tropical rainforests in the south and southeast {Chiapas, Cancún} semiarid in places like {Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosí} and temperate coniferous and deciduous forests in the central part of the country {Mexico City, Toluca}.

High, rugged mountains; low coastal plains; high plateaus; temperate plains with grasslands and Mezquite trees in the northeast, desert and even more rugged mountains in the northwest, tropical rainforests in the south and southeast {Chiapas, Cancún} semiarid in places like {Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosí} and temperate coniferous and deciduous forests in the central part of the country {Mexico City, Toluca}.

Holidays[edit]

Mexico noframe
noframe
Capital Mexico City (Distrito Federal)
Currency Mexican peso (MXN)
Population 106,202,903 (July 2006 est.)
Electricity 127V/60Hz
Calling Code +52
Time Zone UTC −6 to UTC −8


  • January 1st
  • January 6th: The Three Wise Men day, celebrating arrival of the Three Wise Men to see and bring gifts to baby Jesus.
  • February 2nd: The Candelaria Virgin Day, celebrated in many places around the country (not an official holiday)
  • February 5th: Constitution Day(1917)
  • February 24th: Flag Day (not official)
  • March 21st: Birth of Benito Juárez (1806). 2006 was the bicentennial year.
  • May 1st: Labor Day.
  • May 5th: The Battle of Puebla against the French army, 19th century. (Not an official holiday)
  • September 1st: Dia del Informe. Although no longer official, it is still important as it is the day in which the Mexican President addresses to the Nation of the progress his administration on a yearly basis. Every President makes six Informes
  • September 16th: Independence day (celebrates the start of the fight for the independence from Spain in 1810, achieved until September 27th, 1821).
  • October 12: Discovery of America (Descubrimiento de America)(not an official holiday)
  • November 2nd: Day of the dead (Not an official holiday)
  • November 20th: Revolution day (1910)
  • December 12th: Virgin Mary of Guadalupe Day. Unless is not official, is one of the most important Mexican Holidays
  • December 24th: Christmas Eve (Not an official holiday, but usual full non working day or only half day)
  • December 25th: Christmas
  • December 31st: New Years Eve (Not an official holiday, but usual full non working day or only half day)

Easter is widely observed nationwide, according to the yearly Catholic calendar (the first Sunday after the first full moon in Spring). Actual non working days may shift to the Monday before the holiday, so check an up to date calendar.

Time[edit]

  • Mexico uses the 24-hour clock system for time keeping.

Mexico observes daylight savings time (DST) the same way as the USA did pre-2007, from first Sunday in April to last Sunday in October. This now includes the tropical regions of southern Mexico as well. Note there will be several weeks each year when the U.S. is on DST, but Mexico is not. The state of Sonora south of Arizona, does not observe DST since Arizona doesn't have it either.

Nepal[edit]

Kathmandu, city of Patan

Nepal [1] is a landlocked country in Southern Asia, between the Tibet autonomous region of China and India. It contains eight of the world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest - the world's tallest - on the border with Tibet, and Lumbini, the birth place of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Nepal recently was declared a republic and has abolished the monarchy.


Regions[edit]

Nepal is officially divided into 14 administrative zones and five development regions, but travellers might be more comfortable with the conceptual division below (based on the country's elevation). From north to south:

Regions of Nepal
Himalayas
The roof of the world, including Mount Everest, Annapurna, Langtang National Park and The Great Himalaya Trail with numerous sightseeing, trekking, and other adventure sport opportunities.
Kathmandu Valley
Home to Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, this is the heart of Nepal and a crossroads of cultures with numerous sacred temples and monuments.
Middle Hills
The Hill Region (Pahar in Nepali) is mostly between 700 and 4,000 meters altitude. This region is split from the Terai Range by the Mahabharat Lekh (Lesser Himalaya) and forms a geographic midlands between the Terai and the Himalayas. It includes the scenic Pokhara valley, a popular base for activities in the area.
Western Tarai
The western side of the Terai mountain range with the Chitwan National Park and Bardia National Park.
Eastern Tarai
Quite a populated area with Biratnagar, Nepal's second largest municipality.

Cities[edit]

  • Kathmandu — capital & cultural center of Nepal, with the stupas at Boudhanath and Swayambhu
  • Bhaktapur — well-preserved historical city, center of Nepali pottery making, no motorized vehicles allowed!
  • Biratnagar — this city is in eastern Nepal near Dharan and famous for political reason
  • Birgunj — business gateway between India and Nepal. It is in mid-southern Nepal
  • Boudhanath — (Boudha) Home of the largest Buddhist Stupa in Nepal and a very important place of pilgrimage & meditation for Buddhists, local Nepalis, & tourists.
  • Janakpur — a historical religious centre and home to the 500-year old Janaki Temple
  • Namche Bazaar — a Sherpa settlement located in the Solu Khumbu region - popular with trekkers
  • Nepalgunj — the main hub for the Mid- and Far-Western Development Region; Bardiya National Park is close-by
  • Patan — Beautiful, historic Patan Durbar Square was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979
  • Pokhara — picturesque lake-side town fast becoming the destination of choice for travelers due to the scenery, adventure sports, dining, hotels & live music scene

Other destinations[edit]

Locked between the snow peaks of the Himalayas and the seething Ganges plain, Nepal has long been home to wandering ascetics and tantric yogis. Consequently, the country has a wealth of sacred sites and natural wonders:

  • Annapurna — popular trekking region of Nepal with the world-famous Annapurna Circuit
  • Chitwan National Park — see tigers, rhinos and animals in the jungle
  • Daman — tiny village in the mountains offering panoramic views of the Himalayas; especially stunning at sunrise and sunset
  • Haleshi (Tibetan: Maratika) — the site of a mountain cave where Padmasambhava attained a state beyond life and death
  • Lumbini — the sacred site of the Buddha Shakyamuni's birth
  • Mount Everest — the tallest peak of the world in the Khumbu region
  • Nagarkot — a hill station one hour from Kathmandu offering excellent views of the Himalayan Range
  • Parping — the site of several sacred caves associated with Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism
  • Tangting— a beautiful and undiscovered traditional Gurung village with a stunning view of the Annapurna range

See also: Sacred sites of the Indian sub-continent.

Understand[edit]

Nepal noframe
noframe
Capital Kathmandu
Currency Nepalese rupee (NPR)
Population 27,676,547 (July 2006 est.)
Calling Code +977
Time Zone UTC+5:45


Geography[edit]

Elevation Zones[edit]

Nepal has been divided into elevation zones, south to north:

  • Outer Terai - Level plains, a cultural and linguistic extension of northern India. Nepali is spoken less than Awadhi and Bhojpuri dialects related to Hindi and Maithili. Lumbini, Buddha's birthplace and Janakpur, Sita's birthplace are in this zone. Other cities -- Dhangadhi, Nepalgunj, Bhairawa, Butwal, Birgunj, Janakpur and Biratnagar -- are transportation hubs and border towns more than travel destinations. Nevertheless the Terai may offer opportunities for intimate exposure to traditional Indian culture that have become less available in India itself.
  • Siwalik Range or Churia Hills - the outermost and lowest range of foothills, about 600 m (2,000 ft) high. Extends across the country east to west but with significant gaps and many subranges. Poor soils and no agriculture to speak of. No developed tourist destinations, however the forests are wild and the sparse population of primitive hunters and gatherers is unique.
  • Inner Terai - large valleys between the Siwaliks and higher foothills to the north. The Dang and Deukhuri valleys in the Mid West are the largest, offering opportunities to experience Tharu art and culture. Chitwan south of Kathmandu is another of these valleys, known for Royal Chitwan National Park where tigers, rhinos, crocodiles, deer and birds can be observed. Originally these valleys were malarial and lightly populated by Tharus who had evolved resistance and developed architectural and behavioral adaptations limiting exposure to the most dangerous nocturnal mosquitos. Suppression of mosquitos with DDT in the 1960s opened these these valleys to settlers from the hills who cleared forests and displaced and exploited Tharus. Nevertheless remoter parts of these valleys still have a Garden of Eden quality - forests broken by indefinite fields, lazy rivers, fascinating aboriginal peoples.
  • Mahabharat Range - a prominent foothill range continuous across the country from east to west except for narrow transecting canyons, with elevations ascending up to 3,000 m (10,000 ft). Steep southern slopes are a no-man's land between lowland and Pahari (hill) cultures and languages, which begin along the crest and gentler northern slopes. Given clear skies, there are panoramic views of high himalaya from almost anywhere on the crest. Underdeveloped as a tourist venue compared to India's 'Hill Stations', nevertheless Daman and Tansen are attractive destinations.
  • Middle Hills - Valleys north of the Mahabharat Range and hills up to about 2,000 m (6,500 ft). are mainly inhabited by Hindus of the Bahun (priestly brahmin) and Chhetri (warriors and rulers) castes who speak Nepali as their first language. Higher where it becomes too cold to grow rice, populations are largely Magar, Gurung, Tamang, Rai or Limbu, the hill tribes from which the British recruited Gurkha soldiers while the soldiers' families grew crops suited to temperate climates. Men in these ethnic groups also work as porters or may be herders moving their flocks into the high mountains in summer and the lower valleys in winter. Trekking through the hills is unremittingly scenic with streams and terraced fields, picturesque villages, a variety of ethnic groups with distinctive costumes, and views of the high himalayas from high points.
  • Valleys - Kathmandu and to the west Pokhara occupy large valleys in the hills The Kathmandu Valley was urbanized long before the first europeans reached the scene and has historic neighborhoods, temple complexes, pagodas, buddhist stupas, palaces and bazaars. Its natives are predominantly Newar farmers, traders, craftsmen and civil servants. Newar culture is an interesting synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist elements. Unfortunately a range of hills north of this valley limit views of the himalaya. Pokhara has fewer urban points of interest but outstanding views of the nearby Annapurna Himalaya. Pokhara's Newar population is confined to bazaars. Elsewhere upper caste Hindus dominate, whose ancestors probably were Khas peoples from far western Nepal. Both valleys offer excellent opportunities to experience Nepal without strenuous trekking. Narrower valleys along streams and rivers are important rice-growing centers in the hills. There is a limited amount of this land and most of it is owned by upper caste Hindus.
  • Lekhs - Snow occasionally falls and lasts days or weeks in the winter above 3,000 m (10,000 ft), but melts away in summer below about 5,500 m (18,000 ft). Treeline is about 4,000 m (13,000 ft). This zone is used for summer pasturage but not year-round habitation.
  • North of the lekhs, the snowy high himalayas rise abruptly along a fault zone to peaks over 6,700 m (22,000 ft) and even over 8,000 m (26,000 ft). Himalaya means 'abode of snow', which is uninhabited. Valleys among the peaks are inhabited, especially along trade routes where rice from the lowlands was traded for salt from the Tibetan Plateau along with other goods. Trade has diminished since China annexed Tibet in the 1950s but catering to trekkers and climbers has become an economic engine. People living along these routes have Tibetan affinities but usually speak fluent Nepali.
  • Trans-Himalaya - Peaks in this region north of the highest himalayas in central and western Nepal are lower and gentler, mostly around 6,000 m (20,000 ft). Valleys below 5,000 m (17,000 ft). are inhabited by people who are essentially Tibetan and have adapted to living at much higher elevations than other Nepalis. Roads have not yet penetrated this far and travel is expensive by air or arduous on foot. Nevertheless, it is a unique opportunity to experience a very significant and attractive culture in spectacular surroundings.

River Basins[edit]

are also important geographic divisions. The Mahabharat Range is a major hydrologic barrier in Nepal and other parts of the Himalaya. South-flowing rivers converge in candelabra shapes to break through this range in a few narrow gorges. Travel is usually easier within these candelabra drainage systems than between them, so high divides between river systems became historically important political, linguistic and cultural boundaries.

Karnali-Seti-Bheri[edit]

The Karnali system in the far west is the birthplace of Pahari ('hill') culture. It was settled by people called Khas speaking an indo-european language called Khaskura ('Khas talk') that was related to other north indian languages, all claiming descent from classical Sanskrit.

East of the Karnali proper, along a major tributary called the Bheri and further east in another basin called the Rapti lived a Tibeto-Burman people called Kham. Khas and Kham people seem to have been allies and probably intermarried to create the synthesis of aryan and mongoloid features that especially characterizes the second-highest Chhetri (Kshatriya) caste. It appears that Khas kings recruited Kham men as guards and soldiers. Khas and Kham territories in the far west were subdivided into small kingdoms called the Baisi, literally '22' as they were counted.

Nepal has one of the world's highest birthrates because Hindu girls usually marry by their early teens, causing their entire reproductive potential to be utilized. Furthermore, men who can afford it often take multiple wives. This may trace back to Khas culture, explaining relentless Khas colonization eastward as finite amounts of land suitable for rice cultivation were inevitably outstripped by high birthrates.

Rapti and Gandaki[edit]

The Rapti river system east of the Karnali-Bheri had few lowlands suitable for growing rice and extensive highlands that were not attractive for Khas settlement but were a barrier to migration. However the Rapti's upper tributaries rose somewhat south of the Himalaya. Between these tributaries and the Dhaulagiri range of the Himalaya, a large east-west valley called Dhorpatan branching off the upper Bheri provided a detour eastward, over an easy pass called Jaljala into the Gandaki river system further east. The Gandaki is said to have seven major tributaries, most rising in or beyond the high Himalaya. They merge to cut through the Mahabharat and Siwalik ranges. In this basin elevations were generally lower and rainfall was higher compared to the Karnali-Bheri and Rapti basins. There was great potential for rice cultivation, the agricultural base of the Khas way of life. A collection of small principalities called the Chaubisi developed. Chaubisi literally means '24', as these kingdoms were counted. Not all were Khas kindoms. Some were Magar -- a large indigenous hill tribe people related to the Kham. Other kingdoms were Gurung and Tamang. Several Gandaki tributaries rose in the transhimalayan region where inhabitants and rulers became increasingly Tibetanized to the north.

  • Emergence of Shah Dynasty from Gorkha

Within the Chaubisi kingdoms of the Gandaki basin, Gorkha was a small valley east of Pokhara ruled by a Khas family now called Shah, an honorific title that may have come later, however any earlier name seems to be forgotten. In 1743 A.D. Prithvi Narayan Shah became the ruler of Gorkha after his father Nara Bhupal Shah died. Prithvi Narayan already had a reputation as a hotheaded upstart. Resolving to modernize Gorkha's army, he was bringing modern arms from India when customs officers demanded inspection and payment of duties. Prithvi Narayan refused and attacked the officers, killing several before escaping with his arms and men. He also visited Benares to study the situation of local rulers and the growing encroachment of British interests. Prithvi concluded that invasion was a chronic danger to rulers on the plains of northern India, whereas the hills were more defensible and offered more scope to carve out a lasting empire.

Kathmandu Valley (Bagmati)[edit]

Prithvi Narayan must have been a charismatic figure, for he recruited, equipped and trained a formidable army and persuaded his subjects to underwrite all this from his ascension until his death in 1775. Through conquest and treaty, he consolidated several Chaubisi kingdoms. As his domain expanded, Khaskura became known as Gorkhali, i.e. the language of the Gorkha kingdom. Then he moved east into the next river basin, the Bagmati which drains the Kathmandu Valley that held three small but prosperous urban kingdoms. Like the Rapti, the Bagmati rises somewhat south of the Himalaya. Unlike the Rapti basin, this valley had once held a large lake and the remaining alluvial soil was exceptionally fertile. Between the agricultural abundance, local crafts, and extensive trade with Tibet, the cities were prosperous. Prithvi Narayan encircled the valley, cutting off trade and restricting ordinary activities, even farming and getting water. With a combination of stealth, brutality and intimidation he he prevailed and deposed the local kings in 1769, making Kathmandu his new capital. This was the high point of Prithvi Narayan's career, however he continued consolidating the Kathmandu Valley with the Chaubisi and Baisi federations to the west until his death in 1775. Gorkhali was re-dubbed Nepali as 'Nepal' came to mean not only the urbanized Kathmandu Valley, but all lands ruled by the Shahs.

Koshi[edit]

Prithvi Narayan's heirs Pratap Singh, Rana Bahadur and Girvan Yuddha continued expansion of their kingdom into the Koshi river basin east of the Bagmati system. Like the Gandaki, the Koshi traditionally has seven major tributaries descending from the Himalaya before joining forces to break through the Mahabharat and Siwalik ranges. Ranges drained by Koshi tributaries include Mount Everest and its neighboring peaks, as well as the western side of the Kangchenjunga massif. Kangchenjunga and a high ridge to the south are the watershed between the Koshi and Tista basins as well as the border between Nepal and the former kingdom Sikkim that India annexed it in 1975.

Containment by British[edit]

The Shah dynasty's expansion continued eastward across Sikkim and westward across Kumaon and beyond Dehra Dun to the Sutlej River, until the British declared war in 1814 and finally defeated Nepalese forces in 1816. The British wanted a buffer state between British India and the Chinese empire that ultimately controlled Tibet, so it trimmed Nepal back approximately to its present size and let it remain independent.

Informal Settlement in Sikkim and Bhutan[edit]

Nevertheless Nepalese eastward colonization beyond the Kosi continued informally, still driven by high birthrates. By the 1800s land-hungry Nepalis were settling in the Tista basin, which happened to be a different country, Sikkim. In the 1900s they were settling beyond Sikkim in the kingdom of Bhutan. This kingdom -- where late marriage and low population densities prevailed among the indigenous, culturally Tibetan population -- saw the demographic writing on the wall and expelled as many as 100,000 Nepalis in 1990.

Caste, Ethnicity, Religion and languages[edit]

The caste and ethnic groups of Nepal according to the 2001 census are classified into five main categories: (a)Castes originating from Hindu groups (b) Newars (c) the ethnic groups or janajati (d) Muslims (e)Others.

Hindu Groups[edit]

Hindu castes migrated from India to Nepal after 11th century due to Muslim invasion of northern India. The traditional Hindu caste system is based on the four Varna Vyawastha "the class system" of Brahman (Bahun) priests, scholars and advisors; Kshatriya (Chhetri) rulers and warriors, Vaishya (merchants); Shudra (farmers and menial occupations not considered polluting). Below the Shudra Dalit perform 'polluting' work such as tanning and cleaning latrines. However the middle Vaishya and Shudra are underrepresented in the hills, apparently because they did not have compelling reason to leave the plains while Muslim invaders tried to eliminate previous elites. Dalits seem to have accompanied the upper castes into the hills because they were bound by longstanding patronage arrangements.

Traditional caste rules govern who can eat with whom, especially when boiled rice is served, and who can accept water from whom. Until the 1950s these rules were enforced by law.

Dalits are subject to caste-based discrimination and so called ‘untouchability’ in social, economic, educational, political and religious areas. The National Dalit Commission (2002) categorized 28 cultural groups as Dalits. Some argue that the use of the term Dalit will never ever help to abolish caste-based untouchability. (Literally, 'Dalit' translates to 'suppressed' in Nepali.) There are suggestions that the term should not be used because it not only breeds inferiority but is also insulting.

Newar[edit]

Newars -- the indigenous people of the Kathmandu valley -- follow both Hinduism and Buddhism. According to the 2001 census they can be classified into 40 distinct cultural groups, but all speak a common language called Nepal bhasa (Newa bhaaya). Newars use prevailing lingua francas to communicate outside their community: Nepali in the hills and Maithili, Bhojpuri and Awadhi in the Terai.

Indigenous peoples[edit]

The ethnic groups of the hills, Terai and mountain areas are grouped as Janajati. According to the National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities (NFDIN), ethnic groups are those “who have their own mother tongue and traditional customs, a distinct cultural identity, a distinct social structure and written or oral history all of their own" (NFDIN, 2003). A total of 61 Adibasi Janajatis have been recognised by the Nepal Government, 5 are from the mountain regions, 20 from the Hills, 7 from inner Terai and 11 from the Terai region. A Janajati is a community who has its own mother tongue and traditional culture and yet does not fall under the conventional fourfold Varna of the Hindu system or the Hindu hierarchical caste structure[2]. Many of these ethnic groups are Hinduized to some degree, although Hindu practices supplement rather than replace more ancient beliefs and practices. Unlike the Hindus, many indigenous nationalities of Nepal such as the Sherpa people as well as the people of Muslim & Christian faiths, have a culture of eating beef.

Other caste and ethnic groups included in the ‘other’ category are; Sikhs, Christians, Bengalis, and Marawadis.

Different indigenous nationalities are in different stages of development. Some indigenous nationalities are nomads, e.g. Raute, and some are forest dwellers, e.g. Chepang and Bankaria. Most of the indigenous nationalities rely on agriculture and pastoralism and very few are cosmopolitan, e.g. Newar.

Religion[edit]

The census of 2001 has listed 8 religions—Hindu, Buddhist, Islam, Kiranti, Christian, Jain, Sikh and Bahai. In addition, are animism or Bon are still practiced. Hindu comprises 80.6% and other religions are 19.4%.

Climate[edit]

Nepal has a Monsoonal climate with four main seasons - though traditionally a year was categorized into six distinct climate periods: Basanta (spring), Grishma (early summer), Barkha (summer monsoon), Sharad (early autumn), Hemanta (late autumn) and Shishir (winter).

Below is a general guide to conditions at different seasons:

  • Heavy monsoonal rains from June to September - the rains are generally lighter high in the Himalayas than in Kathmandu, though the mountain peaks are often not visible due to clouds. In the Kathmandu Valley & Pokhara - monsoon rains typically consist of an hour or two of rain every two or three days. The rains clean the air, streets, & cool the air. If you come, bring an umbrella, expect lower lodging prices & fewer tourists.
  • Clear and cool weather from October to December - after the monsoon, there is little dust in the air so this is the best season to visit the hilly and mountainous regions.
  • Cold from January to March, with the temperature in Kathmandu often dropping as low as 0°C (32°F) at night, with extreme cold at high elevations. It is possible to trek in places like the Everest region during the winter, but it is extremely cold and snow fall may prevent going above 4,000 - 4,500 meters (13,000 - 15,000 feet). The Jomosom trek is a reasonable alternative, staying below 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) with expected minimum temperatures about -10°C (14°F) (and much better chances of avoiding heavy snow.)
  • Dry and warm weather from April to June - there is an abundance of blooming flowers in the Himalayas at this time, with rhododendrons, in particular, adding a splash of color to the landscape. Terai temperatures may reach or exceed 40°C (104°F) while Kathmandu temperatures are about 30°C (86°F). This is the best time to undertake mountain expeditions.

The recording of temperatures and rainfall of the major locations across Nepal was started in 1962 and their averages [3] provides a reference point for analyzing the climate trend.

Variants

Actions

Destination Docents

In other languages