Nepal is one of ten countries in the world. The credit for unifying the feuding states which lay between China in the North and India in the south, into the world's only Hindu Kingdom Nepal, goes to King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha. Before him, Nepal was ruled by the Kirats, Lichchavis, Thakuris and Mallas. The Kirats ruled Nepal during the 7th century BC. Not much is known about this period. The next major dynasty was the Lichchavi, which lasted from the 2nd to 9th century AD. For two centuries after the Lichchavis, Nepal was ruled by the Thakuris who were followed by the Mallas. In the five centuries of Malla rule, Nepal was divided into many principalities and kingdoms. Each of them minted their own currency and maintained large armies. It was during the reign of the Mallas that Nepal developed into a great center of art and architecture. Some of the best known monuments in the country were built during this time. However, soon quarrels broke out between the divided kingdoms. In 1768, King Prithvi Narayan Shah of Gorkha invaded the Kathmandu Valley, unified Nepal, and established the Shah dynasty.
In 1844, the Prime Minister of Nepal, Jang Bahadur Rana, led a revolt against the royalty. In the Koot Massacre that followed, a number of noblemen perished. The Rana took over power but continued to maintain the Shah family in the palace. During the years that followed, the Ranas ruled over Nepal. Besides Jang Bahadur, the most famous Rana was Chandra Shamsher. He brought many reforms including the abolition of slavery. Other Rana prime ministers built colleges, schools, hospitals and, started newspapers. Despite these advances, the Ranas are still accused of not having done enough for their country. Their 104-year reign is sadly known for their grandiose lifestyle.
King Tribhuvan, the rightful ruler of Nepal, was powerless during the 1940's.
In November 1950, the King, who was by then hailed as the embodiment of the
democratic aspirations of his people, escaped to India. He returned to Nepal
in November 1951 after the resignation of the then Prime Minister Mohan Shamsher
Jang Behadur Rana, and re-established the rule of the Shah dynasty. It was King
Tribhuvan who opened the country's doors to the rest of the world. He died in
1955 and was succeeded by his eldest son King Mahendra. The latter wrote Nepal's
constitution, which paved the way for a parliamentary system of government in
the country. After his death in 1972, Nepal has been ruled by HM Maharajadhiraja
Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev.
|Area:||147,181 sq. km (56,827 sq miles)|
|Geography:||Situated between China in the north and India in the South|
|Location:||Latitude: 2612' to 3027' North Longitude:804' to 8812' East|
|Population:||23 million (approx.)|
|People:||More than 103 ethnic groups and 93 spoken languages|
|Language:||Nepali is the official language. Other languages spoken include Maithili and Bhojpuri. English is also spoken business and travel people only.|
|Political System:||The main religions are Hindu and Buddhism. There is a small Muslim minority too.|
|Religion:||The main religions are Hindu and Buddhism. There is a small Muslim minority too.|
|Visas:||Visas are required by all except nationals of India. Seek advice before travelling.|
|Electricity:||220 volts AC, 50Hz|
|National Bird:||Impean Pheasant (Danfe).|
|National Flower:||Rhododendron Arboreum (Lali Gurans)|
|Travellers Cheques:||Travellers are advised to take travellers cheques in Pound Sterling or US Dollars. Seek advice before travelling.|
|Climate:||sub-tropical in low lands to arctics in higher altitudes|