Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mountains of Nepal

The country of Nepal can be divided into three parallel bands running from the northeast towards the southwest. Along the north of Nepal runs the Great Himalayan Range, the highest mountain range in the Himalayan system. This range has an average altitude of about 4,570 m (about 15,000 ft) and remains perpetually snow-covered. On this range rise some of the loftiest mountain peaks in the world -- Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, and Annapurna.Further south runs a complex system of intermediate ranges at an altitude of 8,000-14,000 ft. Prominent ranges in this mountain system include the Mahabharat and Churia ranges. High mountain ranges are interspersed with broad inhabited river valleys. The third and southernmost region is the Terai, a swampy terrain which is the northern extension of the Indian plains. Mount Everest is the highest peak of the world. More than 10 highest peaks are situated in Nepal among the whole world.

Dress of Nepal

Nepal has as peculiar clothing that is reflective of this rich cultural milieu. The clothing adopted by the people of Nepal varies in accordance to their geographical setting as well as the weather conditions. Owing to the different terrain that is spread over Nepal, you may encounter different clothing adopted by the inhabitants to cope up with the particular environs.Daura-Suruwal, which is characteristically referred to as 'Labeda-Suruwal' is the conventional clothing of Nepal. This traditional clothing has been attached to a number of religious beliefs that are identified by its designs and has for that reason remained the unchanged from the years. The Daura has eight strings that assists to tie itself up around the body. In fact, eight is considered to be the lucky number in accordance to Nepali mythology. In addition to this, the traditional Daura has five pleats or Kallis that signify the Pancha Buddha or Pancha Ratna. The closed neck of the Daura-Suruwal signifies the snake around the Lord Shiva's neck. As for the Nepali clothing for women, is a cotton sari or also known as Guniu, which is gaining immense recognition even in the fashion circle.

Flag of Nepal

The national flag of Nepal (Nepali: नेपालको झण्डा) is the world's only national flag that is non-quadrilateral in shape. The flag is a simplified combination of two single pennons, the vexillological word for a pennant. Its crimson red is the colour of the rhododendron, the country's national flower. Red is also the sign of victory in war. The blue border is the colour of peace. Until 1962, the flag's emblems, the sun and the crescent moon, had human faces. They were removed to modernize the flag. The faces remained on the sun and the moon on the Royal Standard until the abolition of the monarchy in 2008.The flag was adopted, with the formation of a new constitutional government, on December 16, 1962. The individual pennants had been used for the preceding two centuries and the double pennant since the 19th century. The flag borrows the basic design from the original Hindu design, which has been in use for more than 2,000 years.
The blue border symbolizes the peace and harmony that has been prevalent in the country since the age of Gautama Buddha, who was born in Nepal. The crimson red is Nepal's national colour, and it indicates the brave spirits of the Nepalese people. The two triangles symbolize the Himalaya Mountains and represent the two major religions, Hinduism and Buddhism.[1] The red triangular flag has been a Hindu symbol of victory since the time of Ramayana and Mahabharata. The depiction of celestial bodies represents permanence, the hope that Nepal will last as long as the sun and the moon. The moon symbolizes that the Nepalese are soothing and calm, while the sun symbolizes fierce resolve. The moon also symbolizes the shades and the cool weather of the Himalayas, whereas the sun symbolizes the heat and the high temperature at the lower part (Tarai) of Nepal. Another interpretation: The flag's shape symbolizes a Nepalese pagoda. Putting a mirror at the side of the flag closest to the flagpole will generate an image of a pagoda.

Festivals of Nepal

Basanta Panchami (January/February)
On this day, most of the people in Nepal worship Goddess of learning called “SARASWATI”. In Kathmandu valley, people go to a little shrine near Swayambhunath to worship the Goddess of Learning.
Maha Shivatri

This is the most popular festival celebrated in honour of Shiva. It takes place at all Shiva temples, but the greatest attraction takes place at Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu. One gets to see thousands of Hindus devotees from India and Nepal coming to visit the temple of Pashupatinath. Among them are a large number of Sadhus and Naked ascetics. Many people like to keep awake for the whole night keeping vigilance over an oil lamp burnt to please Shiva. In the afternoon the Nepal Army organises a show to celebrate this festival at Tundikhel in which series of gun fire are sounded.
Fagu Purnima (Holi)

Holi, named after the mythical demons of Holika, is also known as the festival of color. It is observed just before the full moon of Phalgun and during this time people indulge in colour throwing at each other. Singing and dancing continues until late at night.
Seto Machhendranath Jatra

On this day a popular festival held in honour of the white Machhendranath, who is actually the Padmapani Lokeswara, whose permanent shrine is situated at Matsyendra Bahal in Kel Tole in the middle of the bazaar in Kathmandu. A huge chariot of wood supported on four large wheels and carrying tall spire covered with green foliage is made ready for receiving the image of the divinity on this occasion and for dragging in the old town. There is such a spontaneous and heavy turnout of the devotees to pay homage to this God, who is also said to be “ Embodiment of Compassion” at this time.
Ram Nawami

This day celebrates the birth of Rama, one of the incarnation of Vishnu, a prominent Hindu God. Religious fast is observed and worship is offered to Rama. A special celebration takes place at Janakpur temple of Rama and Janaki on this day.
The Nepalese New Year’s Days

New Year's Day, which falls in the middle of April, is observed thoughout Nepal as the first day of the official Nepali solar calander. In Kathmandu Valley, Bisket Jatra is held at Bhadgaon (Bhaktapur) to commemorate the death of two serpent demons  .
Rato Machhendranath Jatra
One of the most famous and spectacular event that begins with the chariot journeys of the most widely venerated deity of the Nepal valley, who resides in his twin shrines at Patan and Bungamati. His popular name is Bunga Deo, but non Newars call him also by the name of Red Machhendranath. The wheeled chariot is prepared at pulchowk and pulled through the narrow streets Patan town in several stages until several month later it reaches Jawalakhel for the final celebration of this festival called the Bhoto Dekhaune Jatra. The two Machhendranath of Patan and Kathmandu form part of same cult of Avalokiteswara in the Mahayan religion.
Buddha Jayanti

Celebrated on the full moon of the month of Baisakh to commemorate the birth attainment of enlightenment and the death of Gautam Buddha, the founder preacher of Buddhism, prayer is offered by the Buddhists in leading Buddhist shrines throughout the country including Lumbini in the Rupandehi district, which is the birth place of Buddha.
Janai Purnima ( Rakchshya Bandhan)

The full moon of the month of Shrawan, the day when this festival is observed is considered sacred all over Nepal and is celebrated in different manner by various groups of people of Nepal. However, the most widely accepted mode of celebration is that on this day all the twice-born caster take ritual bath and they change their sacred thread. Everyone gets strings of thread on his wrist from the Brahmans a protective mark for the whole year. This day is also held sacred for bathing in Gosainkunda. One can also see a pageantry of the Jhankris attired in their traditional costume as they come to bathe at Kumbheshwor at Patan. These Jhankris also visit the temple of Kalinchowk Bhagwati in Dolkhas district where they go to bet their healing powers as they are the traditional healers of the Nepalese villages.
Indra Jatra

In the morning a tall wooden pole representing the statue of Indra and large wooden masks of Bhairab are put on display in the bazaar. Several groups of religious dance like the Devinach, Bhairava and Bhakku as well as Mahankalinach come into life during this week. The week also commences with pulling of chariot of Ganesh, Bhairava and Kumari in Kathmandu. On this historical day, King Prithvi Narayan Shah made a victorious march with his troops into the town and ascended the throne of Kantipur the old name of Kathmandu displacing the Malla King Jaya Prakash Malla.
Gai Jatra (The Cow festival)

In this festival recently bereaved family honour the soul of their dead by sending young boys dressed up as cows parade the streets of the town. Some are also dressed up as an ascetic or a fool for achieving the same objective for their dead family members. People give food and coins to members of each procession. Groups of mimics improvise short satirical enactment on the current social scenes of the town for the entertainment of the public.

The festivity of Gai Jatra itself lasts for a week enlivened by the performance of dance and drama in the different localities of the town. The spirit of the old festival is being increasingly adapted by cultural centers, newspaper and magazines to fling humour and satire on the Nepalese Social and Political life.
Shree Krishna Janmaastami

The day is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna, one of the incarnation of Vishnu. Devotees observe fast and visit Krishna’s temple on this day.

This is the three days festival for the Nepalese women. Nepalese women fast and worship Shiva. In Kathmandu Valley they go to Pashupatinath and then worship Shiva (Hindu God of Destruction) for good fortune and long life for husband.
Vijaya Dashami

It is truly the national festival of Nepal celebrated countrywide by all. The Nepalese cherish their Dashain as time for eating well and dressing well. Each house sets up an shrine to worship the powerful Goddess Durga at this time. Barley seeds are planted on the first day in every household and nurtured for nine days. During this period Goddess Durga Bhawani is worshipped and offered a lot of blood sacrifices. Buffaloes, goats, chickens and ducks are sacrificed by the thousands at the temples at military posts and in every household. On the concluding day of the festival called the Tika, the elders of the family give Tika to their junior members and to other relatives who may also come to seek their blessings. Family feasting and feting of guests is a common practice at this time. During this festival Government institutions and school are closed for ten to fifteen days.

It lasts for five days and is marked by worship to different animals such as crow, the dog and the cow, five various days. The most important day is Laxmi puja. The most endearing sight of this festival is presented by the illumination of the entire town with rows of tiny flickering lamps on Laxmi puja. In the evening of this day, the Goddess of Wealth, Laxmi is worshipped at every household and it is on her welcome that myriad of lamps are burnt. On the fifth day sister show their affection towards their brothers with puja and feed them with delectable food. They pray for their brothers long life to Yama, the Hindu God of death.
Bala Chaturdasi

Nepalese beleive that for one year after the death, the soul of the dead wanders around awaiting entrance to the under world. Relatives perform rituals and offerings are given in the name of the dead.
Maghe Sankranti

A Sankranti signifies the first day of any month in the Nepali calendar year. The first day of the month of Magh, which falls in January is sacred day in Nepal, because the sun, on this day, is believed to be astrologically in a good position. It starts on its northward journey in its heavenly course on this day, thus announcing the commencement of the Uttarayana. In the Nepalese belief this day marks the division of the Winter and Summer Solstices. Bathing in rivers is prescribed from this day, especially at the river confluence and feasting with rich foods of special preparation is common in the family.

Temples of Nepal

 Kathmandu District

 Lalitpur District

 Bhaktapur District

Kabhrepalanchwok District

 Gorkha District

 Makawanpur District

 Kaski District

  • Bhimkali Mandir (भिमकाली मन्दीर)
  • Bindhabasini Mandir (विन्धबासीनी मन्दीर)
  • Talbarahi Mandir (तालबाराही मन्दीर)
  • Dhodbarahi Mandir (Tanhu) (ढोडवाराही मन्दीर)
  • Kalika Mandir' Kalikasthan,Kalika V.D.C.-4 (कालीका मन्दीर)
  • Bhadrakali Mandir भद्रकाली मन्दिर
  • Sitaladevi Mandir
  • Akaladevi Mandir

 Chitwan District

  • Devghat Mandir (देवघाट मन्दीर)
  • Bageshwari Mandir (बागेस्वरी मन्दीर)
  • Gansehthan Mandir (गणेशथान मन्दीर)
  • Zakhadi Mai Mandir (जखडी माइ मन्दीर)
  • Kalika Mandir (कालीका मन्दीर)
  • Pasupatinath Mandir (पसुपतीनाथ मन्दीर)
  • Rameshor Mandir (रामेश्वर मन्दीर)


  • Deutibajy Mandir (देउती बज्यै मन्दीर)
  • Kakrebihar Mandir (काक्रेविहार मन्दीर)
Other Districts

Caves of Nepal

Archaeologists have become extremely excited, yet puzzled, at a series of caves that have been found recently. Explorers have found a series of caves in which are ancient Buddhist paintings. These caves are in sheer cliffs in Nepal's remote Himalayan north. A team was formed consisting of scholars, archaeologists, climbers and explores. This team examined at least 12 cave complexes, all the way up to 14,000 feet, near Lo Manthang. Lo Manthang is a mediaeval walled city in Nepal, and is about 80 miles northwest of Kathmandu.The found paintings could easily date back well into the 13th century, as are the Tibetan scripts executed in ink, silver and gold, and pre-Christian pottery shards. "Who lived in those caves? When were they there, when were (the caves) first excavated and how did the residents access them, perched as they are on vertical cliffs?" Broughton Coburn, an American member of the survey team, was quoted as saying."It's a compelling, marvelous mystery."It was admittedly not an easy task to scale the cliff walls. Explorers from all over, including the united states, Italy, and Nepal used ice axes and ropes to cut steps into the cliff face as they ascended."These findings underscore the richness of the Tibetan Buddhist religious tradition of this area -- stretching back nearly a millennium -- as well as the artistic beauty and wide geographical reach of Newari artists," said Coburn, who is an expert in Himalayan conservation and development.The cave complexes are not found near each other. In fact, they are at least several hours in walking distance apart. Researchers believe that some have been used for burials, and are hoping mounds found may contain further treasures when dug up. There are around 20 openings in each complex, and the many floors are connected by vertical passages. It does require climbing skills to navigate throughout the complexes, as hand and footholds are not not easily found.The caves were found to hold stupas, decorative art and paintings that depict different forms of the Buddha, often accompanied by disciples and attendants.

The Rivers

Nepal's rivers can be broadly divided into three categories in accordance with their origins. The first category comprises the three main river systems of the country-the Koshi, Gandaki and Karnali river systems, all of them originating from glaciers and snow-fed lakes.The Koshi river system consists of the Tamor, Arun, Dudhkoshi, Likhu, Tamakoshi, Sunkoshi and Indravati rivers. Of these, the Arun and Sunkoshi originate in Tibet. The confluence of these rivers is at Tribeni (near Dharan) in Sagarmatha Zone. Flowing for almost 10kms through a narrow gorge before entering the plains, the "Sapta Kosi" or he "Koshi" swollen with the waters of the seven riversÕ finally merges into the Ganges.The Gandaki river system in central Nepal consists of the Kaligandaki, Budhigandaki, Marsyanghi, Trishuli, Seti, Madi and Daraundi rivers. The Kaligandaki is the longest river and the Trishuli, the main tributary of this system.The Kaligandaki originates in Mustang and converges with the Trishuli at Deoghat in Chitwan. The river is then called the Narayani and goes on to meet the Ganges. The Karnali river system in western Nepal consists of the Humla Karnali, Mugu Karnali, Seti and Bheri rivers and is the longest river system in the country. The Humla Karnali, which rises in Tibet, is the main tributary. After entering India, this river assumes the name Gogra.Rivers like the Mechi, Mahakali, Bagmati, Kamala, Rapti, etc., most of which have their origin in the Mahabharat range, constitute the rivers of the second category. The Bagmati, which rises at Bagdwar and drains out through the Chobhar gorge, is the principal river of the Katmandu Valley.Streams and rivulets originating mostly from the Chure hills make up the third category; these rivers rely on monsoon rains and are otherwise dry.