How beautiful is Nepal
Nepal is a country of superlatives between nature and spirituality, poverty and environmental pollution. Mount Everest (8,845 meters) is the highest point on earth on Nepalese soil.
In addition, the democratic Federal Republic is home to seven of the ten highest mountains and with around 40 percent of the country, which are over 3000 meters above sea level, it is also the highest country on average in the world.
A new spiritual galaxy, that of Tibetan Buddhism, opens up for seekers of meaning. Symbolized by prayer wheels and stupas along the way, by mani stones strewn with mantras, by colorful prayer flags and lofty monasteries.
The Kathmandu Valley, which surrounds the capital of Nepal and the other royal cities of Patan and Bhaktapur, is also uniquely beautiful. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1970. Narrow streets and the traditionally low-rise buildings, rickshaws and ox carts, but also ancient trucks determine the character of the busy capital.
Temples, shrines and daily festivals - this is what characterizes religious Nepal with its countless Buddhist gods and goddesses.
There are more than 36 different ethnic groups with their own cultural identity and sometimes their own languages. The larger groups include the Gurung, Limbu, Mager, Newar, Rai, Sherpa, Tamang and Tharu. The Brahmins and Chhetri are the most important castes. Nepal is also densely populated by Indians and Tibetans.
Every coin has two sides! Nepal is known as a dream trekking destination, but also as a poor house! On the trip you meet many people who have to live under very simple conditions, many who go out on the streets and beg for their daily bread. Wherever people are poor, love for nature and environmental protection is quickly put on the back burner. Like many other third world countries, Nepal also has major problems dealing with garbage. Not only in Kathmandu but also outside of the larger cities you will find carelessly discarded items. This makes your active participation and help all the more important.
The natural beauties of Nepal
Nepal is known as the land of high mountains, as the main region of the Himalayan Mountains. In addition to Mt. Everest, it has well over 200 mountains that are higher than 6,500 m. This wild and breathtaking nature, a lot of Buddhist and Hindu culture and the lovable people are the main attractions of the comparatively poor country in Central Asia.
The Kathmandu Valley is around 1,300 meters high, measures 30 by 20 kilometers, is home to over 60 towns or villages and an estimated 1.5 million people. It is an ancient trading center and meeting place for religions. Hindus and Buddhists live and pray in seven World Heritage Sites: Bhaktapur, Patan, Kathmandu, Pashupatinath, Bouddhanath, Swayambunath and Changu Narayan.
The place Lumbini in the south of the country has a special attraction. It means as much to Buddhists as it means to Christians in Bethlehem. Here, near the Indian border, came 563 BC. BC Siddharta Gautama, later called Buddha. The Maya Devi Temple, which was built over the place of birth, is more than 2000 years old in its origins. Lumbini has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.
Annapurna and Everest are the two most famous mountain regions of Nepal. Machhapuchare and Annapurna, Ama Dablam, Everest and Lhotse - the highest peaks on earth are within your grasp. The Annapurna area is mostly discovered from Pokhara. The route runs on well-developed paths through wide rice terraces and rhododendron forests. The huge ice giants are constant companions.
In addition to the Himalayas, Nepal has other natural beauties to offer, for example the Royal Chitwan National Park in the south of the country. The oldest national park in Nepal was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Tigers, rhinos, monkeys, crocodiles, elephants and over 450 different species of birds, including toucans and eagles, live here.
The culinary specialties of Nepal
The Nepalese live on two Dhal Bhats a day, the first at 11 a.m. and the second in the late evening. At Dhal Bhat, you can always get any number of references. Dhal Bhat tastes slightly different in every region or lodge and is absolutely wholesome. And when you see the Nepalese "running up" the steepest mountains, you realize that strength doesn't just have to come from a thick piece of meat. In all major trekking areas, every lodge has a detailed menu, pasta in all variations, rice and increasingly gratinated dishes.
Tea is called “Tschia” in Nepal and is cooked the Indian way. Here, the tea leaves are boiled with spices and sugar directly in the milk and then strained. On the treks, however, increasingly only tea bags are brewed and then mixed with milk powder. There are a variety of flavored teas, such as lemon or ginger tea. Depending on the location, real limes and pieces of ginger or just a concentrate are used. You can usually get tea in pots, but it is not always cheaper, especially in the Annapurna area, the price in pots is more expensive in some villages than if you had individual cups brought to you.
Eating & sleeping
Markets, food stalls and intercultural restaurants - you can find them in abundance in every major city. But the further you move away from the tourist centers, the more Nepalese the food becomes. The Nepalese are known for their tasty dishes and thanks to their hospitality they are served often and in abundance.
The much-visited and most popular Nepalese trekking areas Annapurna, Everest and Langtang have meanwhile a very dense network of lodges (mountain huts). The stately and clean buildings are mostly equipped with simple 1 and 2-bed rooms, some nowadays advertise with hot water showers heated by solar energy.
The heart of every lodge, as in all Nepalese houses, is the kitchen with the oven made of clay. Here the most delicious dishes are prepared on the holy wood fire in the traditional manner, with beautiful copper pans and pots. In the adjoining, cozy communal and dining room, mountaineers from all over the world meet in the evening.
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last changed on October 31, 2016
Monica Connel: The scent of juniper. Impressions from a mountain village in Nepal.
Anthropologist Monica Connell lived for two years in Talphi, a completely isolated village in Nepal. The rhythm of life is determined by the seasons - the monsoons, the harvest time, the freezing winter. The everyday routine is interrupted by religious festivals, a wedding, a wild boar hunt, the usual quarrels, but also illness and death. Gradually the author is accepted into the village community and gives us an insight that only a few are allowed.
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