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Revision as of 07:27, 15 September 2008 by (talk) (Cities)

King's Name

"GYANENDRA" is written in all caps as if it were his family name. It isn't; as I understand it, it's his given name, and his family name is "Bir Bikram". -phma 06:06, 6 Dec 2003 (PST)

According to this site his full name is Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev. It seems that "Gyanendra" could be his given name and "Bir Bikram" his family name, as you say. I understand that "Shah" is the name of the dynasty he belongs to. I'm not sure what "Dev" means, although it seems to be the male form of "Devi" -- perhaps an honorific title? DhDh 07:30, 6 Dec 2003 (PST)
"Dev" means "god" (at least in Hindi, which is closely related). Some of the kings on that page are named "Bikram" without "Bir", so I think we'll have to ask a Nepali to sort it out. -phma 07:42, 6 Dec 2003 (PST)

i am a nepali. Gyanendra is his first name and shah his last name, and also the name of the dynasty. 'Bir Bikram' is just a middle name. The first king of Nepal, as a kingdom, was Prithvi Narayan Shah, Narayan being his middle name and Shah his last name. just to prove a point.

The royal family probably replaced a more ordinary family name with 'Shah' at some point, just as the Ranas originally were the Kunwars. Apparently Shah is a Persian word that comes from the same root as 'Kshatriya', both meaning 'preserver'.
Although contemporary accounts say Prithvi Narayan's forefathers were already 'Shah', that seems pretentious in Gorkha, which was not a big kingdom in its day. If I were a neighborhing king, I might have been tempted to attack just to put those pretentious people in their place! So is there more than a little creative fiction in the royals' family history? LADave 03:18, 7 June 2007 (EDT)

"Dev" means "deity". It may be tacked on because of the belief that the king is divine. This only applies to the current king. Dead kings have outlived divinity and crown princes don't have it yet. LADave 02:06, 8 June 2007 (EDT)

The part Bikram is interesting. It did not exist in the name of the kings until Rana Bahadur Shah. After him, the tradition of Bikram started because Rana Bahadur Shah made Girban Juddha, not the first child born to him, a king. It literal translation means 'not in order'. So all the kings after Girban Juddha are called Bikram and this applies to the currently 'suspended' king.

CIA Factbook

We're not really disputing the facts in the CIA World Factbook 2002 import, are we? B-) I've stripped the CIA factbook crap off this article -- it needed to be done -- and moved it to Talk:Nepal/CIA World Factbook 2002 import. --Evan 10:25, 6 Dec 2003 (PST)


Hmm, I dont think I agree with moving the whole Volunteer in Nepal article into the Nepal article. It was never part of the Nepal page before. We have seperate travel issue articles for driving in different places, etc, so there is a precedent for detailed info. I'd include a graph or two about it on the Nepal page of course... but there is a difference between the travel info and the travel topic. Majnoona 23:32, 25 Mar 2004 (EST)

It's short info for a specific country. If it was really long and had various subsections and detailed info, I'd agree... but why make an article for a few sentences? Doesn't make much sense IMO. It's not like Nepal is overflowing with written material either. I think a much better idea would be a general "volunteer work" article; many underdeveloped countries could stand from such help and several organizations exist that organize such projects. -- Nils 05:59, 26 Mar 2004 (EST)
It's not a few sentence-- it's several graphs at this point and I hope it grows with added information. A general "volunteer" article may be ok, but it sounds too general too me-- like a "Driving" article. I would be happy to see travel topic pages on volunteering in all areas of the globe, but you have to start somewhere and I started with Volunteer in Nepal. Majnoona 19:04, 26 Mar 2004 (EST)


I'm all for the big warning at the top, but is there some way to deal with the crummy layout? There's about two pages of white space along the side-bar... I don't get wikimarkup enough to do anything about it, but maybe just moving the sidebar down or something? Help? Majnoona 10:56, 8 Feb 2005 (EST)

Not mention of the civil war?

The article fails to mention that about 60% of the country is under Maoist-rebel controll and that sporadic firefights occur near military bases. There should be quite an extensive section added to it. -- 20:11, 13 Feb 2006 (EST)

There is a mention in the 'Stay safe' section, but if you feel that more needs to be added, please click the 'edit' button and write. However, please bear in mind that this is a guide not an encyclopedia, so the information should be more traveler based. WindHorse 14 Feb 06


The Parliament has been reinstated by the popular movement in April 2006 (the Jana Andolan-II) So the type of the government should be changed in the Infoox. 04:30, 17 May 2006 (EDT)

Please feel free to do so. -- Mark 05:00, 17 May 2006 (EDT)

Rs500 notes

Regarding the latest addition, are you sure it's a punishable offense to carry the notes, or just unwise? My understanding was that, due to excessive counterfeiting, they were just pretty hard to get rid of... but this is the first I've heard of it being illegal... – cacahuate talk 16:35, 18 April 2007 (EDT)

Carrying Indian currency of 500 is punishable offence under the act! I understand this was due to many bad experiences of fake notes of 500 in the past.


there is nothing else to drink than alcoholic drinks?

I'm pretty sure you can find water somewhere in the country too... if you know of something that should be added, go ahead and add it to the article or put it here and I'll do it for you... – cacahuate talk 17:54, 29 April 2007 (EDT)
Sure there's water. With most people doing their 'business' outdoors, it's practically guaranteed to make you sick, so it should always be boiled or chemically treated enough to kill resistant cysts and eggs as well as bacteria and protozoans. A great excuse for adding alcohol prophylactically, even if it doesn't really work. Tea is safer because it's made with boiling water and won't have you stumbling off the trail. LADave 16:47, 7 June 2007 (EDT)

Nepal regions

The following comments were added to my Talk page by contributor David. WindHorse 01:06, 6 June 2007 (EDT)

The government's super-zones must have been set up for administrative convenience. They lack geographic, historical & cultural validity. Of course travelers might be better equipped to deal with the bureaucracy if they are somewhat familiar with the government's schema. So let's leave this scheme alone for bureaucratic purposes.

However for other travel purposes it made more sense to me to organize things by drainage basins: (1) Kosi in the east, (2) Bagmati (Kathmandu Valley), (3) most of the Gandaki basin, (4) (west) Rapti and Babai basins and stuff north of them (technically in the Gandaki and Karnali/Bheri basins) through the Dhaulagiri range and valleys behind, and (5) the remainder of the Karnali/Bheri basin and Mahakali up to the Indian border. Perhaps these could be called Kosi, Bagmati, Gandaki, Rapti-Dhaulagiri, and Karnali-Mahakali Regions.

For travel purposes it seemed really unnatural to divide Mid-West and Far-west at the Karnali River! Nepalis and trekkers quickly get across rivers via primitive ferryboats or bridges. Major drainage divides -- these tend to be high ridges -- make more sense than rivers as boundaries. Getting up to these ridges can be a serious hike! Nepalis are as practical as anyone else and try to avoid it, thus drainage divides are cultural divides too.

The way I did it has more historical validity too. Khas peoples speaking the progenitor of Nepali developed their core identity in the Mahakali and Karnali/Bheri basins. They detoured around the Babai/Rapti basins into the Gandaki basin to settle and grow rice. Prithvi Narayan appears there in the 1700s and heads east to conquer the Bagmati region (Kathmandu valley), then the Kosi region beyond. He or his heirs also consolidate the rest of the country -- the "Chaubisi" (24 principality confederation of the Gandaki basin) and the "Baisi" (22 principality confederation of the Karnali/Bheri basin).

Each river-oriented region can also be subdivided by elevation into Terai (Madesi and Tharu), Lower hills (Brahman-Chhetri), upper hills (Magar, Gurung, Tamang, etc.), then Bhote (Tibetan). It may be a little complicated, but travelers exposed to this stuff will be better prepared for "ground truth".


The new district designations are very practical and helpful, and as a frequent visitor to Nepal, your efforts are appreciated. It should be a final goal, however, to produce a totally new hierarchy to replace the government designated zones, and so we could keep the information on the front page short and succinct (like perhaps Bhutan or even India). Do think we could use your list as it stands? It needs to be kept to no more than nine places max (which it is). Under this hierarchy, where are the Solu Khumbu and Dolpo regions. Presumably they are classified under Himalaya? This article might be helpful: Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy#Regions. Maybe some of the more popular tourist areas could be mentioned in the blurb. What do you think? However, I replaced the dab for Pashupatinath and Dakshinkali as these are just temple complexes, not destinations with hotels like Boudhanath. Please see: Wikitravel:What is an article?. Anyway, thanks for all your input. Your practical knowledge is very helpful. So, at the moment, do you want to replace the original list with your new hierarchy? That is fine with me. We can tweak as we go along. WindHorse 01:09, 7 June 2007 (EDT)

Moved my detailed discussion of regions to ;Understand' section and put capsule summaries in 'Regions'. I hope this improves flow of this article: lay out key concepts first, develop them later. I also added topic headers under 'Understand' for future development. LADave 14:20, 10 June 2007 (EDT)


Hi Dave, thanks for continuing to add your knowledge and insights to the Nepal page. It is looking good. However, Wikitravel has a policy that lists of places (cities, other destinations etc) should not exceed nine, and so I have removed 4 of the places you recently added to the list. Sorry about that. Anyway, please check to see if you agree with my choice of deletions. The cities that are listed should be chosen by their popularity with tourists, and is drawn up to give them easy access to info, like an index. It is not a promotion of places. Obviously, KTM, Pokhara, Patan, Bhaktapur and Namche Bazaar should be listed, but the others are open. Also, the info on the front page should be kept succinct (see India and Bhutan as examples), and more in depth info should be placed on the actual articles themselves. Anyway, thanks for all your efforts. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me or one of the regular contributors. Take it easy. WindHorse 21:08, 8 June 2007 (EDT) Ps. you might find the info on this page of use: Wikitravel: Manual of style

Maybe the administrative districts should be tossed out. Development workers need to know them, but not travelers.

So now we have kind of a matrix: south to north and west to east. I think we need to explain both. The south to north is obviously important in understanding the geography. West to east explains the flow of history, as well as certain aspects of geography.

Most treks are along the north-south axis, along rivers and streams. Going east or west means going against the grain with a lot more up and down. Exceptions might be Trisuli(Nuwakot)-Gorkha-Pokhara, Baglung-Dhorpatan(-Jumla), and the Terai or Inner-Terai. This seems to argue for a structure like this:

   * Mahakali, Karnali-Bheri, (west) Rapti region
         o Terai, Siwaliks and Inner Terai
         o Mahabharat Range and Hills
         o Himalaya
         o transHimalaya 
   * Gandaki
         o (repeat elevation structure) 
   * Bagmati
         o Kathmandu Valley 
   * Kosi
         o (repeat elevation structure without transhimalaya) 

Probably the text about regions can be boiled down some. However after looking at the India article, I don't think the Nepal article has gotten too long. Bhutan is far simpler.

Hi Dave - Personally, I am fine with replacing the regional list based on administrative zones with a more traveler-based hierarchy. However, irrespective on how we divide up the Cities and Other destinations, they still should not exceed nine. That is the same for a small place like Bhutan or huge countries like China or India, so I'm afraid I have had to revert that edit. Apologies for that. Think of the front page as merely an index in a book. People don't want to be overwhelmed with info at this stage of their search. They just want easy access to the places they seek. Take a look at Wikitravel: Manual of style and Wikitravel:Geographical hierarchy. I think you'll find them useful. Anyway, thanks again for your contributions. They are really helping improve the quality of the Nepal article. Incidentally, any further discussions regarding Nepal should be conducted here so thatother contributors may add their opinions. WindHorse 21:26, 9 June 2007 (EDT)

OK, Let's collapse Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur into a single entry. Something like "Kathmandu (the capital) and its satellite cities Patan and Bhaktapur. Also we can delete Biratnagar, Birganj and Nepalganj in that top-level city list because they are transportation hubs, not tourist destinations. Transportation hubs can be dealt with regionally and in conjunction with itineraries.

For the western half of the country, I would add Tansen, Gorkha (possibly combined with Pokhara) and maybe Jumla. This leaves slots open for tourist destinations in eastern Nepal besides Namche. I hardly know eastern Nepal at all, so let others advocate for their faves.

BTW, -gunj endings (Birgunj, Nepalgunj) break with conventions for transliterating devanagari into roman and should be changed to 'ganj'. 'U' in a transliterated word should always rhyme with 'moo', but the sound we call a 'short u' gets transliterated as 'a', which must be where the confusion arose. 05:13, 10 June 2007 (EDT)

Hi Dave. Combining cities to form one entry has been discussed many times before and rejected. The 'Cities' and 'Other destinations' lists should not exceed 9, and that's the absolute max. Sorry about that (though it was it good suggestion). In addition, if we can draw up a list of nine popular cities for huge countries like India, China and the US, then Nepal should be no problem. So, I suggest Kathmandu, Patan, Bhaktapur, Pokhara and Namche Bazaar. Gorkha is another possible option. As for the others, I'll leave it up to you. However, in making your decision, don't forget that the list of nine cities is to supply info based on majority usage. It is not a promotion. So, if, for example, thousands of people pass through a transportation hub, it is not for me or Wikitravel contributors to deny them easy access to information about that place just because we do not think the town is beautiful or interesting to travelers. If the hard facts state that more people visit, say, Biratnagar than Tansen, then information for Biratnagar should be given priority because more people will be searching for it. It is about offering convenience for popular articles. However, I am not saying that the transportation hubs do receive more visitors than the other towns you mentioned, but am just pointing out the philosophy behind the system. As for changing the names of towns ending in 'gunj' to 'ganj, Wikitravel policy states that the most popular English name has preference, not the official or best transliteration. (Please see: Wikitravel:Article naming conventions), and according to Google hits, Birgunj and Nepalgunj are more popular than Birganj and Nepalganj by a two to one margin. So, based on that, we should leave the names as they are (even though I personally agree with you that 'ganj' is a better transliteration). If you have any questions, please feel free to raise them here. Thanks again for your input. Take it easy. WindHorse 10:46, 10 June 2007 (EDT)

hi Windhorse, the Policy of taking up not the nice places, but the places that are visited most makes of course sense but I think applying it by the amount of people going there is not right.The time spent is I think more important, a majority of travellers might come through Birgunj or Nepalgunj or Biratnagr, but only very few will actually stay there for more than a day or two.Its a question of how you interpret the "hard facts", I think we should deny good information on those hubs because, although many people go there people are not interested in those information.Information on these places is not needed as badly as where the real destination lies.Also it doesn't help you a lot, looking for information about nice places to go in Nepal, to find descriptions of bordertowns where nobody really likes to stay. Although of course these towns are really import for transit.Therefore I think also if its a reinterpretation of the rules it could really improve the site and help people to find out where to go in Nepal. Onindo 15.9.2008 (a little late answer but I hope someone will introduce the changes or show me that I am wrong

New regions

Hi Dave, I notice that you have changed all the regions. It looks good. However, does the new hierarchy cover the whole country in its entirety? In addition, the new regions will need to be linked to new articles and any useful information from the previous regional articles transferred to these pages. Furthermore, if there is an overlap, the previous regional articles can be redirected to the new pages, but if they are totally incompatible, then we need to submit them for deletion. I think with the new hierarchy, we can perhaps omit the district articles, except with a few famous ones like 'Solu-Khumbu' and just concentrate on the main centers of population. What do you think? Also, we need to replace the original list of regional names, such as Annapurna, Everest, Dolpo etc on the front page as people will look for these. Thanks for all your hard work, and let me know what I can do to help to complete the new set up. WindHorse 00:18, 11 June 2007 (EDT)

Hi Windhorse, The new regional workup is comprehensive. Perhaps a workup on himalayan subranges and noteworthy peaks should be worked into the Understand section. Are there other titles we could ad to 'Understand' to try to solicit contributions? Maybe if we put in 'Mountaineering' someone would actually write it up.

I have linked to all articles I am aware of, except some development region articles that have almost no content. But there may be articles I don't know about yet. If you could post a list, I'll link to any with significant content.

I modified the reference to the food poisoning article slightly. It's a good article with a misleading title. Food poisoning is what you get when food isn't kept hot or cold enough to retard bacterial growth, so toxic metabolic byproducts build up. Botulism would be an extreme example. Treatment is mostly about getting the toxins out of the body or neutralizing them. The article lumps this with issues that might be called 'fecal-oral contamination'. Poor sanitation gets specific disease-causing organisms, cysts or eggs into your body via food and drink. Then treatment tends to involve killing off the organisms that are trying to multiply in your body.

Tropical medicine also seems like a misnomer because Nepal is subtropical, and by the time you reach Kathmandu it's borderline temperate. This rules out many tropical diseases. Some of it still applies, so I kept the link but put it further down in the subtopic. 05:53, 11 June 2007 (EDT)

Hi Dave - thanks for your continued efforts. Actually, the title of the article "Tropical diseases" is incorrect as many of the ailments mentioned are not confined to the tropics. Maybe we need to think of another title. Any ideas?
I'm not coming up with a memorable title. I'm no M.D., but I think you are correct that all lot of it isn't necessarily tropical, but more accurately third-world. Rabies would be a good example. If you really worked at it you might be able to catch rabies in the U.S., but there would be so many red flags along the way that you wouldn't specially caution tourists about it. The fact that rabies is a significant risk all over Nepal has little to do with climate and lots to do with domestic animals not being vaccinated.
These kinds of risks must vary from place to place. A catch-all article might have to include too many diseases that are in country X but not Y or Z.
Maybe the tropical medicine article should limit itself to diseases that are truly tropical, tropical/subtropical, or with risk substantially increasing as it gets warmer/moister (e.g. fungal infections).
Regarding the list of regions, I was actually referring to the new highlighted titles: Lowlands, Midlands, Himalaya and Transhimalaya, Karnali, Gandaki, Kosi, Mahakali, Rapti and Babai and Bagmati. These all need to be tabbed and linked to articles of the same name. For example, we need to set up a new regional article entitled 'Lowlands', which will include a clear description of the area that the region encompasses plus a list of the main centers of population. Without this, towns other than those listed on the main page will be orphaned, meaning they can only be accessed via a direct search. Take a look at Karnataka#Regions as an example. Let me know is I can help with any of this. Thanks again for your efforts. WindHorse 09:42, 11 June 2007 (EDT)...I've just noticed your additions to 'Understand'. Actually, this info pretty much covers the requirements for the independent regional articles. So, once the new articles have been established, this should be moved from the front page and added to these pages. I'll help you with this. Take it easy. WindHorse 10:15, 11 June 2007 (EDT)
Conceptually it's a matrix or graph. Let's call basins "regions" and elevations (Outer Terai, Siwaliks,...) "zones". Then we could imagine an XY matrix -- regions by zones. But we don't want to go very far with this because zones are just a means of orienting the reader, shorthand for what kind of terrain to expect. OK, so we could organize things by zones to a certain extent: travel destinations in the Outer Terai, in the Siwaliks, in the Inner Terai, ... Beyond that, road trips, treks and rivers are usually multi-zone so we don't want this structure to get too Procrustean. (more to come...)
Anyway, the priority at the moment is that the new regions (i.e. Lowlands, Midlands, Himalaya and Transhimalaya, Karnali, Gandaki, Kosi, Mahakali, Rapti and Babai and Bagmati) get tabbed and new articles with these names are started. If this doesn't happen, then there is a strong possibility that everything will be reverted to its original form, which would be a shame after all the hard work you have put in. In addition, once the new regional articles are set up, then we will need to change the breadcrumb link on the towns to accommodate the new regional names. I'll help you with this. Take it easy. WindHorse 23:15, 11 June 2007 (EDT)
I've been looking at the divisions more closely. At the moment, we've got Lowlands, Midlands, Himalaya and Transhimalaya, which cover vast tracts of land, and then we've got names of actual river valleys, such as Karnali, Gandaki, Kosi, Mahakali, Rapti and Babai and Bagmati. Nepal is not a huge country, so we should not exceed a categorization that exceeds eight or nine regions. If we use the current sub-regions of the Lowlands, Midlands and Himalaya and Transhimalaya regions (such as 'Outer Terai', 'Kanchenjunga' 'Mahabharat' etc) plus the river basins, we will have far too many regions. So, I'm thinking we should combine two or three of the valleys under one regional title, for example 'Eastern River Valleys', 'Eastern River Valleys' etc. I'm really not familiar with the geography of Nepal at this level, so we need your expertise here. Finally, the regions section should look something like this: Karnataka #Regions or Japan#Regions. Thanks. WindHorse 00:42, 12 June 2007 (EDT)

Restoration of former regional hierarchy

I have restored the former regional hierarchy to allow access to information on districts and cities not listed on the front page. These can be removed when the new hierarchy is complete. WindHorse 09:55, 13 June 2007 (EDT)

To avoid unnecessary clutter on the main Nepal page, I have placed the the unlinked regional lists on this page (below). They can be restored when they are ready to be linked to articles. Otherwise they can be left here for reference as much of the same info is available on 'Understand' section. WindHorse 10:42, 13 June 2007 (EDT)

Nepal can also be divided into elevation zones from south to north and river basins from west to east.

Elevational Zones

  • Lowlands
    • Outer Terai - Nepalese territory, but geographically, culturally and linguistically more like adjacent India.
    • Siwalik Ranges - outermost range of low foothills.
    • Inner Terai - large lowland valleys inside Siwalik Ranges.
  • Midlands
    • Mahabharat Range or Lesser Himalaya nearly continuous across country, 2,000 to 3,000 meters high, separating lowlands from 'hills' to north.
    • Valleys north of Mahabharat Range. These include the wide Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys, as well as narrower valleys along rivers and streams. These are the main rice growing areas in the hills.
    • so-called Hills north of Mahabharats, up to midlands habitation limits at about 10,000'/3,000m.
  • Mountains
    • Lekhs - mountain ranges rising above midlands' permanent habitation zone into subalpine or alpine zone with snow cover in winter but not through summer.
    • Himalaya means 'abode of snow', i.e. mountain ranges higher than the permanent snowline. There are about twelve himalayan sub-ranges in Nepal including Kanchenjunga, Khumbu (Everest), Langtang, Ganesh, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Kanjiroba. The highest summits in these ranges usually exceed 22,000'/6,700m. and sometimes exceed 26,000'/8,000m.
    • Transhimalaya - In the Karnali and Gandaki basins a number of valleys and lower mountains north of highest ranges fall within in Nepalese territory. This zone is inhabited as high as 17,000'/5,000m. by essentially Tibetan peoples. However in the Kosi basin the transhimalayan zone is in Tibetan territory.

River Basins

  • Three largest basins, west to east:
    • Karnali - with major Seti and Bheri tributaries in western Nepal, original homeland of Khas peoples who colonized eastward and now dominate the country. Their language evolved into modern Nepali.
    • Gandaki - seven major tributaries in central Nepal. Also a staging area for Khas families who became the country's unifiers and rulers.
    • Kosi - also seven major tributaries, in eastern Nepal. The last major region to be conquered by the Shahs and colonized by the Khas.
  • others:
    • Mahakali - extreme western Nepal, west of Karnali basin. The main stem of this river is Nepal's western border with India. Local people may be culturally and linguistically closer to adjacent Uttarakhand state of India than to most Nepalis.
    • Rapti and Babai - in mid-western Nepal between Karnali and Gandaki basins. A barrier to Khas expansion because of extensive rugged highlands and very limited rice-growing land north of the Mahabharat Range. South of this range were dangerously malarial valleys.
    • Bagmati - between Gandaki and Kosi basins, includes the Kathmandu Valley with the capital and other historic cities.
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