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Introduction - Nepal:




In 1951, the Nepalese monarch ended the century-old system of rule by hereditary premiers and instituted a cabinet system of government. Reforms in 1990 established a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. A Maoist insurgency, launched in 1996, gained traction and threatened to bring down the regime, especially after a negotiated cease-fire between the Maoists and government forces broke down in August 2003. In 2001, the crown prince massacred ten members of the royal family, including the king and queen, and then took his own life. In October 2002, the new king dismissed the prime minister and his cabinet for incompetence after they dissolved the parliament and were subsequently unable to hold elections because of the ongoing insurgency. While stopping short of reestablishing parliament, the king in June 2004 reinstated the most recently elected prime minister who formed a four-party coalition government. Citing dissatisfaction with the governments lack of progress in addressing the Maoist insurgency and corruption, the king in February 2005 dissolved the government, declared a state of emergency, imprisoned party leaders, and assumed power. The kings government subsequently released party leaders and officially ended the state of emergency in May 2005, but the monarch retained absolute power until April 2006. After nearly three weeks of mass protests organized by the seven-party opposition and the Maoists, the king allowed parliament to reconvene on 28 April 2006. Following the November 2006 peace accord between the government and the Maoists, an interim constitution was promulgated and the Maoists were allowed to enter parliament in mid-January 2007. Constituent elections are planned for June 2007.

Location - Nepal:


Southern Asia, between China and India

Geographic coordinates

28 00 N, 84 00 E

Map references



total: 147,181 sq km
land: 143,181 sq km
water: 4,000 sq km

Area comparative

slightly larger than Arkansas

Land boundaries

total: 2,926 km
border countries: China 1,236 km, India 1,690 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)


varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south


Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north

Elevation extremes

lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m
highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m

Natural resources

quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore

Land use

arable land: 16.07%
permanent crops: 0.85%
other: 83.08% (2005)

Irrigated land

11,700 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards

severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons

Environment current issues

deforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives); contaminated water (with human and animal wastes, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluents); wildlife conservation; vehicular emissions

Environment international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Geography note

landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of worlds 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga - the worlds tallest and third tallest - on the borders with China and India respectively

People - Nepal:


28,901,790 (July 2007 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 38.3% (male 5,721,720/female 5,360,391)
15-64 years: 57.9% (male 8,597,037/female 8,134,115)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 528,113/female 560,414) (2007 est.)

Median age

total: 20.5 years
male: 20.3 years
female: 20.6 years (2007 est.)

Population growth rate

2.132% (2007 est.)

Birth rate

30.46 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Death rate

9.14 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.067 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.057 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.942 male(s)/female
total population: 1.056 male(s)/female (2007 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 63.66 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 61.87 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 65.54 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 60.56 years
male: 60.78 years
female: 60.33 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate

4.01 children born/woman (2007 est.)

Hiv aids adult prevalence rate

0.5% (2001 est.)

Hiv aids people living with hiv aids

61,000 (2001 est.)

Hiv aids deaths

3,100 (2003 est.)


noun: Nepalese (singular and plural)
adjective: Nepalese

Ethnic groups

Chhettri 15.5%, Brahman-Hill 12.5%, Magar 7%, Tharu 6.6%, Tamang 5.5%, Newar 5.4%, Muslim 4.2%, Kami 3.9%, Yadav 3.9%, other 32.7%, unspecified 2.8% (2001 census)


Hindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9% (2001 census)
note: only official Hindu state in the world


Nepali 47.8%, Maithali 12.1%, Bhojpuri 7.4%, Tharu (Dagaura/Rana) 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.6%, Magar 3.3%, Awadhi 2.4%, other 10%, unspecified 2.5% (2001 census)
note: many in government and business also speak English (2001 est.)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 48.6%
male: 62.7%
female: 34.9% (2001 census)

Government - Nepal:

Country name

conventional long and short form: Nepal
local long and short form: Nepal

Government type

parliamentary democracy


name: Kathmandu
geographic coordinates: 27 43 N, 85 19 E
time difference: UTC+5.75 (10.75 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

14 zones (anchal, singular and plural); Bagmati, Bheri, Dhawalagiri, Gandaki, Janakpur, Karnali, Kosi, Lumbini, Mahakali, Mechi, Narayani, Rapti, Sagarmatha, Seti


1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan SHAH)

National holiday

in 2006, Parliament abolished the birthday of King GYANENDRA (7 July) and Constitution Day (9 November) as national holidays


9 November 1990; the government began working on an interim constitution in May 2006

Legal system

based on Hindu legal concepts and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Girija Prasad KOIRALA (since 30 April 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Girija Prasad KOIRALA (since 30 April 2006); Deputy Prime Ministers Khadga Prasad OLI (since 2 May 2006) and Amik SHERCHAN since June 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet historically appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; note - the prime minister selected the Cabinet in May 2006 in consultation with the political parties
elections: following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition historically has been appointed prime minister by the monarch

Legislative branch

a 330 seat Interim Parliament was formed on 15 January 2007 following the promulgation of an interim constitution
elections: elections are planned for June 2007
election results: Interim Parliament seats by party - NC 85, CPN/M 83, CPN/UML 83, NC/D 48, RPP 9, NSP/AD 5, NWPP 4, Peoples Front Nepal (Amik Sherchan Group) 4, Peoples Front Nepal (Chitra Bahadur K.C. Group) 3, UFL 3, Peoples Front Nepal (Chitra Bahadur Ale Group) 2, NSP 1

Judicial branch

Supreme Court or Sarbochha Adalat (chief justice is appointed by the monarch on recommendation of the Constitutional Council; the other judges are appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Judicial Council)

Political parties and leaders

Communist Party of Nepal/United Marxist-Leninist or CPN/UML [Madhav Kumar NEPAL]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Pashupati Shumsher RANA] (also called Rastriya Prajantra Party or RPP); Nepal Sadbhavana (Goodwill) Party or NSP - Mandal [Bhadri Prasad MANDAL]; Nepal Sadbhavana Party - Ananda Devi [Ananda DEVI]; Nepal Workers and Peasants Party or NWPP [Narayan Man BIJUKCHHE]; Nepali Congress-Democratic [Sher Bahadur DEUBA]; Nepali Congress or NC [Girija Prasad KOIRALA]; Peoples Front Nepal (Amik Sherchan Group); Peoples Front Nepal (Chitra Bahadur Ale Group); Peoples Front Nepal (Chitra Bahadur K.C. Group); Rastriya Janashakti Party or RJP [Surya Bahadur THAPA] (split from RPP in March 2005); Samyukta Janmorcha Nepal (merged with Peoples Front Nepal or PFN in 2002); United Leftist Front or UFL [C.P. MAINALI]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Maoist guerrilla-based insurgency [Pushpa Kamal DAHAL, also known as PRACHANDA, chairman; Dr. Baburam BHATTARAI]; numerous small, left-leaning student groups in the capital; several small, radical Nepalese antimonarchist groups

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the us

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); note - Charge dAffaires Kali Prasad POKHREL
chancery: 2131 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 667-4550
FAX: [1] (202) 667-5534
consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the us

chief of mission: Ambassador James F. MORIARTY
embassy: Panipokhari, Kathmandu
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [977] (1) 411-1179
FAX: [977] (1) 441-9963

Flag description

red with a blue border around the unique shape of two overlapping right triangles; the smaller, upper triangle bears a white stylized moon and the larger, lower triangle bears a white 12-pointed sun

Economy - Nepal:

Economy overview

Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world with almost one-third of its population living below the poverty line. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for three-fourths of the population and accounting for 38% of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural produce including jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. Security concerns relating to the Maoist conflict have led to a decrease in tourism, a key source of foreign exchange. Nepal has considerable scope for exploiting its potential in hydropower and tourism, areas of recent foreign investment interest. Prospects for foreign trade or investment in other sectors will remain poor, however, because of the small size of the economy, its technological backwardness, its remoteness, its landlocked geographic location, its civil strife, and its susceptibility to natural disaster.

Gdp purchasing power parity

$41.18 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate

$6.948 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp real growth rate

1.9% (2006 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp

$1,500 (2006 est.)

Gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 38%
industry: 20%
services: 42% (FY05/06 est.)

Labor force

11.11 million
note: severe lack of skilled labor (2006 est.)

Labor force by occupation

agriculture: 76%
industry: 6%
services: 18% (2004 est.)

Unemployment rate

42% (2004 est.)

Population below poverty line

31% (FY03/04)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 39.1% (2003-2004)

Distribution of family income gini index

37.7 (FY04/05)

Inflation rate consumer prices

8.6% (November 2006 est.)


revenues: $1.153 billion
expenditures: $1.927 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (FY06/07)

Agriculture products

rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, jute, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat


tourism, carpet, textile; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarettes, cement and brick production

Industrial production growth rate

2.2% (FY05/06)

Electricity production

2.511 billion kWh (2006)

Electricity consumption

1.96 billion kWh (2006)

Electricity exports

101 million kWh (2006)

Electricity imports

266 million kWh (2006)

Oil production

0 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil consumption

11,550 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil exports

NA bbl/day

Oil imports

11,530 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil proved reserves

0 bbl

Natural gas production

0 cu m (2006 est.)

Natural gas consumption

0 cu m (2006 est.)


$822 million f.o.b.; note - does not include unrecorded border trade with India (2005 est.)

Exports commodities

carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain

Exports partners

India 59.3%, US 14%, Germany 5.9% (2006)


$2 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports commodities

gold, machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer

Imports partners

India 49%, China 12.4%, UAE 11.7%, Saudi Arabia 5.2%, Kuwait 4.4% (2006)

Debt external

$3.07 billion (March 2006)

Economic aid recipient

$533 million (FY04/05)

Currency code

Nepalese rupee (NPR)

Exchange rates

Nepalese rupees per US dollar - 72.446 (2006), 72.16 (2005), 73.674 (2004), 76.141 (2003), 77.877 (2002)

Communications - Nepal:

Fiscal year

16 July - 15 July

Telephones main lines in use

595,800 (2006)

Telephones mobile cellular

1.042 million (2006)

Telephone system

general assessment: poor telephone and telegraph service; fair radiotelephone communication service and mobile cellular telephone network
domestic: NA
international: country code - 977; radiotelephone communications; microwave landline to India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 6, FM 5, shortwave 1 (2000)

Television broadcast stations

1 (plus 9 repeaters) (1998)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

17,789 (2006)

Internet users

249,400 (2006)

Transportation - Nepal:


48 (2006)

Airports with paved runways

total: 10
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 2 (2006)

Airports with unpaved runways

total: 38
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 29 (2006)


total: 59 km
narrow gauge: 59 km 0.762-m gauge (2006)


total: 17,380 km
paved: 9,886 km
unpaved: 7,494 km (2004)

Military - Nepal:

Military branches

Royal Nepalese Army (includes Royal Nepalese Army Air Service); Nepalese Police Force

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)

Manpower available for military service

males age 18-49: 6,107,091
females age 18-49: 5,744,989 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 18-49: 4.193 million
females age 18-49: 3,853,102 (2005 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annually

males age 18-49: 308,031
females age 18-49: 286,604 (2005 est.)

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 106,248 (Bhutan), 20,153 (Tibet/China)
IDPs: 100,000-200,000 (ongoing conflict between government forces and Maoist rebels; displacement spread across the country) (2006)

Military expenditures percent of gdp

1.6% (2006)

Disputes international

joint border commission continues to work on contested sections of boundary with India, including the 400 square kilometer dispute over the source of the Kalapani River; India has instituted a stricter border regime to restrict transit of Maoist insurgents and illegal cross-border activities; approximately 106,000 Bhutanese Lhotshampas (Hindus) have been confined in refugee camps in southeastern Nepal since 1990

This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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