There’s a saying popular among Nepalese – heaven is a myth, Nepal is real. It indeed is a small nation full of amazing natural and cultural beauty. Much like the Kinder Joy chocolate, it is a small package full of surprises. Here are ten facts about Nepal you’ll find hard to believe.
No Independence Day
Despite having some of the world’s most powerful imperial countries for neighbors, Nepal has never been colonized in its history. Today, famous for its brave Gurkha regiments, the country had fought hard to maintain its sovereignty at different points of history against powerful opponents like Imperial China, Muslim Invasions from India, and the East India Company.
A unique flag
It is the only country in the world with a non-rectangular flag. Also known for being the most mathematically-accurate flag in the world, Nepal’s maroon-colored flag consists of two triangles featuring the moon and the sun in each triangle. The design for the flag is believed to around 2000 years old.
Home to only living goddesses of the world
An intriguing aspect of Nepal’s rich culture is the worship of Goddess Kumari, whose literal translation is virgin. The 400-year-old tradition believes the pre-pubescent girls to be earthly manifestations of goddess Taleju and worships them on several religious occasions. Practiced exclusively in Nepal, it is a great example from the past of respect to female energy.
Extreme places on earth
Despite the size, Nepal is home to some of the most beautiful, adventurous, and extreme places on the earth. Other than being home to world’s tallest peak, Mt. Everest (8,848m), it also houses Tilcho lake at a highest elevation of the world; SheyPhoksundo Lake, a deepest lake at highest elevation; Kali Gandaki, world’s deepest gorge; and Arun Valley, the deepest valley on earth.
Also known as the Amazon of Asia, Nepal houses a staggering number of diverse and endangered floras and faunas. For instance, the country has over 360 orchid species which constitutes over 2% of world’s orchid. Similarly, it has 8% of total bird species and 6% of rhododendron species found in the world.
Living cultural museum
Nepal is known to have the densest concentration of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world. Out of ten world heritage sites in Nepal, Kathmandu Valley alone houses seven. These sites are located within the radius of just 15 kilometers! No wonder that Kathmandu Valley is hailed as the living cultural museum of the world.
Biodiversity safe haven
With over 19% of the country’s land protected under national parks and conservation regions, in the last 25 years, Nepal has succeeded to save Blackbuck from extinction and increased the population of several endangered species like Royal Bengal tiger, one-horned rhino, Indian Bison, and Gharial. It is one of the best records in the context of global wildlife record.
A linguistic hub
You will be amazed to know that Nepali isn’t the only language spoken in the country. In stark contrast to its geographical limitation, there are over 120 stunning languages spoken in Nepal. its very close ties with India and Tibet since millenniums have given birth to several unique, colloquial languages.
A true Himalayan nation
Home to one-third (800km:2400km) of the amazing Himalayan range, Nepal has over 1300 identified peaks over 6000 meters. It also has a great number of ice glaciers, ice lakes, and ten out of the world’s 14 highest peaks. Thus, Nepal truly is the world’s only Himalayan nation in every sense.