Quick geography lesson

22 08 2010

It’s dangerous to make assumptions about what people know or don’t know so for that reason (and because I haven’t provided this information before) I should probably provide some maps and basic info to help you understand where I am. I remember talking with someone once who said, “Oh Nepal! Isn’t that in Italy?” I was taken aback until I realize the poor soul was confusing Nepal with Naples. Sigh.

Nepal's location within Asia

The green sliver is Nepal (in South Asia)

The country of Nepal is like a carrot wedged between two boulders. The boulders, as you can see, are India and China. China has less of an impact on Nepal because the Himalayas separate the two countries. India and Nepal share many cultural values just like the United States and Canada. Like the U.S. and Canada, there is a love-hate relationship between Nepal and India. For example, Buddha was born in what is now called Nepal. Back in Buddha’s time, there was no Nepal or India, only small kingdoms controlled by powerful families. However, both Nepal and India claim Buddha’s birthplace within their borders. It is diplomatically correct to say that Buddha was born in what is now considered Nepal. At least, I’d like to think that’s the way Buddha would state it, since arguing either way goes against his teachings.

Nepal map

Major urban areas and geographic formations of Nepal

You can link to the CIA World Factbook for more info, but here are some highlights on Nepal:

  • Nepal’s population numbers around 29 million people, and 85% of the population is rural though many have moved (and are continuing to move) into Kathmandu and other urban areas.
  • The country is slightly larger than the state of Arkansas.
  • The largest portion of the population speaks Nepali but there are up to 30+ ethnic groups with their own languages.
  • The religious makeup of the people is  80.6% Hindu,  10.7% Buddhist,  4.2% Muslim and a small number of other religions.
  • Many people confuse Nepal with Tibet (located within China), which really irritates the Nepalese.
  • Nepal contains some of the highest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest, which the Nepalese called Sagarmatha.
  • Nepal isn’t just mountains. There are middle hills and lowland regions, including fertile plains that supply much of Nepal’s food. And Kathmandu lies within a valley.
  • Kathmandu Valley has the world’s densest collection of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • Their biggest industry is tourism (start planning your visit!)
  • Sadly, Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world, with almost one-quarter of its population living below the poverty line.
  • The literacy rate is only 48.6%.
  • Nepal’s Gurkha soldiers have served in the British Army since the 1800’s when the British were unable to defeat them or colonize Nepal. Gurkhas are known for their courage and strength.
  • Nepal is the only country in the world whose flag is not rectangular or square.

    Nepal flag

    Nepal's flag

There are so many more tidbits about Nepal than I can list, but here are some links for your exploration:

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
Lonely Planet – Nepal
National Geographic – Nepal Guide

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4 responses

1 09 2010
Kathryn Hagy

Scooby does not have his own sign, but maybe that would be a nice gift for my landlord? Dear Readers, if you’re unfamiliar with danger dog artwork, check out this link: http://nepaldog.typepad.com/danger_dog_blog/

23 08 2010
yer sis

Also, check the titles of the ‘possibly related posts’ for a occasional laugh.

23 08 2010
yer sis

Enough of the facts and figures! Enquiring minds want to know: does Scooby have a danger dog sign of his own?

15 01 2014
Michelle Page

Scooby does deserve a Danger Dog sign!

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