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Choosing the right time for your trek in Nepal

REGIONS AND CULTURES OF NEPAL

REGIONS

Nepal is a small landlocked country stretching east  - west for 800km, sitting between India and the Tibetan region of China. Its physical geography is divided into three regions: the Terai plains in the south where it borders with India and where the famous Chitwan National Park is located; the middle hills, north of the Terai comprising the Churia and Mahabharat ranges (where Kathmandu and Pokhara are located) which reach altitudes of 2,000-3,000m; and the Himalayan region in the north which borders on the Tibet plateau, where eight of the world’s 8,000m peaks are located.

REGIONS

Nepal is a small landlocked country stretching east  - west for 800km, sitting between India and the Tibetan region of China. Its physical geography is divided into three regions: the Terai plains in the south where it borders with India and where the famous Chitwan National Park is located; the middle hills, north of the Terai comprising the Churia and Mahabharat ranges (where Kathmandu and Pokhara are located) which reach altitudes of 2,000-3,000m; and the Himalayan region in the north which borders on the Tibet plateau, where eight of the world’s 8,000m peaks are located : Mt Everest (8,848m), Kangchenjunga (8,586m), Lhotse (8,516m), Makalu (8,163m), Cho Oyu (8,201m), Dhaualgiri I (8,167m), Manaslu (8,156m) and Annapurna I (8,091m) as well as more 1300 mountains above 6,000

The Himalayas were formed, about 50 million years ago as a result of a collision between the Indian and Asian subcontinents  - the continental drift continues today, creating huge stresses that are relieved periodically by eathquakes.  

Nepal has 9 national parks and three wildlife reserves with a diverse range of flora and fauna. It is home to 2 percent of all the flowering plants in the world - over 600 indigenous plants families including the national flower of the Rhododendron, known as 'Lali Gurans' in Nepali, and over 320 exotic orchards. Its wildlife includes endangered species such as the Snow Leopard, Royal Bengal Tiger and One Horned Rhino but also over 850 species of birds and over 500 species of butterflies.

CULTURE

There over 100 ethnic groups in Nepal, each with their own language or dialect and distinct cultures, and in the trekking regions visited you will come across Bhotia, Sherpa, Gurung, Magar and Thakali peoples among others.

The Bhotia or Bhote tribes are found primarily in the northern mountainous regions  - you will meet them while trekking in the Mustang and Narfu Valley. They are influenced by Tibetan dress, language and culture and follow Bonpo and Buddhist religions under the leadership of the Lamas of the many monasteries in these regions.

The Magar are an indigenous people from the region around the Dhaulagiri Himalayan range and eastwards to the Gandaki River.  Their religion is Buddhism and their language, Magar Kura, has an affinity to the Tibeto-Burmese tongue and culture. Their occupations are typically farming, military service, weaving, hunting, and fishing. 

 

The Thakali tribe originates from the Mustang region which was ruled by the Tibetan kingdom of Lo until the mid-eighteenth century. They have Mongolian features and follow traditional buddhist practices. The Thakali are renowned as business men and for their cuisine.

The Sherpas come from the Khumbu and Solu Khumbu regions south of Mount Everest and are a tribe of Tibetan origin, famed for their mountaineers.  Their culture, rituals, festivals, festivities and customs all are based on the Buddhist religion.

The Gurung, residing in the foothills of the Annapurnas originate from Tibet and are primarily farmers with rich customs and culture, and religious traditions which are Shamanistic and animistic in nature.