Geographically, Nepal is a small landlocked country in South- East Asia, but its fame is much bigger than that. The saying ‘Heaven is a myth but Nepal is real’ is not something that became popular for no reason. Anyone who visits Nepal and beholds the mind- blowing diverse landscapes feels it. Nepal is the home to High Himalayas like Mount Everest, Mount Annapurna, Mount Kanchenjunga etc., raging rivers, and varieties of rare flora and fauna.
Apart from this natural wonders, Nepal is blessed with moderate climate, although, of course, the climate and weather varies according to the geographical regions. Specifically, the climate here ranges from tropical to arctic depending upon the altitude. You will experience four distinct seasons here. Spring lasts from March to May which comes with warm weather, scarce rain showers, and temperatures around 22°C. Summer lasts from June to August and is the monsoon season when the hills turn lush and green. The temperature can rise up to 30 degree Celsius and this is difficult and uncomfortable for trekking in some areas as the trails are muddy and slippery. Autumn, from September to November, is cool with clear skies and is the most popular season for trekking. Winter lasts from December to February with chilled nights and temperatures sometimes dropping to zero or less. Happy Land Treks welcomes you all year long with varieties of trekking packages addapted to the meteorological conditions. Nepal is rich in festivals and cultures. Dashain and Tihar are the biggest festivals.
Area : 147, 181 sq. km.
Location: Nepal is situated between China to the north and India to the south east and west in the continent of Asia.
Population: 29.5 million.
Currency: Nepali rupee.
Facts: There are more than 101 ethnic groups and 52 spoken languages in Nepal.
Political system: Federal democratic republic.
Religion: Nepal is a secular state with a dominant population following the Hindu or Buddhist religion.
Climate: Nepal has four major seasons :
(1) Winter: December - February.
(2) Spring: March - May.
(3)Summer: June – August.
(4) Autumn: September – November.
Nepal's Unique Treasure:
Mt. Everest: Mt. Everest is the most treasured possession of Nepal. Mt. Everest is the highest point on earth.
Kumari: Kumari is considered to be the only living Goddess in the world. Kumari is a young virgin who is put to the test, in order to be worshipped as a virgin goddess.
Lumbini: Nepal is the epitome of peace, and home to the birthplace of Lord Buddha, Lumbini.
Weather and Climate of Nepal:
Nepal’s climate is influenced by maritime and continental factors and has four distinct seasons. In the north, summers are cool and winters are severe. South of Nepal sees tropical summers and mild winters. The Kathmandu valley has a pleasant climate with average summer and winter temperatures. The geographically varied country has different climate depending on topography.
Festivals in Nepal
Nepal is home to people of several religions and 101 ethnic groups. Thus, Nepal hosts quantity of festivals and events, predominantly Hindu or Buddhist. The major festivals of Nepal are:
Dashain: Dashain is a 15-days long national festival, considered to be the most auspicious time in the Nepalese annual calendar. Goddess Shakti is worshipped in all her manifestations during the festival. It symbolizes the victory of Good over Evil. This festival falls on the months of September or October depending on the nepali calendar.
Khicha Puja or Gai Puja: The second most important festival in Nepal, Gai Puja, is also known as Tihar. The festival celebrates the importance of cows, considered to be the surrogate mothers of human beings; dogs, representing faithfulness; and crows, symbol of sadness, are worshiped in order to avert grief and sorrow in the homes. This festival is celebrated on the 15th of Karthik as part of the Tihar festival.
Bhai Tika: Bhai Tika falls on the 5th day of the Tihar festival and the festival symbolizes the love between a brother and a sister. The sister puts multi-colored tika on the forehead of the brother and receives money, clothes or ornaments in return. This festival is celebrated on the month of Karthik as part of the Tihar festival.
Chhath: Chatth is a festival celebrated in Terai or Mithila region of Nepal. Celebrated pre-dominantly by Tharus, Madhesi or Maithili, the festival celebrates and worships the god of energy, sun, by carrying out activities like fasting, bathing, and abstaining from drinking water. This festival is celebrated on the month of Karthik after the end of the Tihar festival.
Biska Jatra: Another important festival of Nepal, Biska or Bisket Jatra is celebrated in Bhaktapur in the new year of Bikram Sambat. Different idols of gods are placed in a chariot and circulated in different parts of Bhaktapur accompanied by grand feasts. This festival is celebrated on the first day of Baishak, on the new year of Bikram Sambat.
Bajra Jogini Jatra: Originally celebrated by Buddhists, this is now celebrated by Hindus on the 3rd of Baisakh. It is celebrated near the kharg Jogini temple situated near Sankhu. This festival takes place on the third of Baishak.
Siti Jatra: Siti Jatra takes place on the banks of Vishnumati and is accompanied by feasting and sacrifices to goddess Kankeshwori. This festival is celebrated on the 21th of the month of Jeth.
Gathma Mangal or Ghanta Karn: this festival celebrates the expulsion of demons from the country and takes place on 14th of Shrawan. Straw figures are made, beat and dragged around the streets and burned at sunset.
Panjaran: This festival includes making an offering of grain or rice by families, to the priests of the Newar Buddhists. This festival is celebrated on the 13th of Bhadra and 8th of Sawan, so twice a year.
Janai Purnima: also known as Raksha Bandhan, this festival takes place on the full moon day in the month of Shrawan. It is celebrated by Hindus, Buddhist, and Jain people by tying an ornamental thread on the hands.
Nag Panchami: It takes place in the month of Shrawan and commemorates the battle between Nag and Garur. Pictures of snakes are posted on the walls of houses using cow dung.
Krishna Janmashtami: Celebrated on the month of Bhadra, this day is regarded as the birth day of Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna and his affiliation to milk products is celebrated.
Gai Jatra: This is a Newar festival whereby people who have lost loved ones disguise themselves as cows, dance along the streets and the entire affair is accompanied by the singing of songs. It typically takes place on the first week of Bhadra.
Indra Jatra: the festival marks the end of the rainy season and involves people dancing with masks. This festival signifies welcoming the rainy season and bidding the dry season goodbye. This festival takes place typically on the last week of Bhadra.
Maghe Sankranti: This festival occurs on the first day of the Nepali month of Magh. Holy bathing and eating of delicacies like laddoo, ghee, sweet potatoes etc. are observed on this day.
Holi: The colorful festival of Holi takes place in the month of Falgun and people play with colors on this day. Holi is a very joyful event during which visitors are invited to participate and given particular attention.
Tihar/ Lightening Festival: This festival of lights is overseen for 5 days. The festival symbolizes the reign of Good over Evil. The festival sees the celebration of dogs, the worship of crows and cow, as well as the lighting of diyo and candles to illuminate the night. It is celebrated typically on the month of Kartik, 15 days after the completion of the Dashain festival.
Haritalika Teej/ Women’s Festival: Teej is a festival celebrated by women in order to pray for the longevity of their husbands. Unmarried women fast on the day, wishing for a good husband in the future. Women are seen wearing red color, signifying pure love. It is celebrated typically on the first or second week of Bhadra.
Mha Puja: Mha Puja is celebrated on the third day of Tihar, and is a form of self-worship. It is celebrated on the belief that worshipping oneself is equivalent to worshipping God. Celebrated predominantly by Newar communities, people worship themselves and eat healthy food, praying for their longevity. This festival also falls on the month of Kartik, on Tihar.
Yomari Punhi: celebrated predominantly by Newar communities, Yomari Punhi festival is celebrated by making a delicacy called Yomari. It consists of shortened milk or other delicacies wrapped in a covering of rice. It takes place on the month of November/ December during the full moon.
Tamu Lhosar: Celebrated by the Gurung communities of Nepal, this festival is celebrated in the month of Poush. People from all generations get together; dance and exchange greetings and love and the festivities are accompanied by feasts and cultural rallies.
Ram Nawami: Ram Navami is a Hindu festival which celebrates the birthday of God Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. God Rama is worshipped in full vigor on this particular day. It takes place on the month of April/March depending on the lunar cycle.
Sindoor Jatra: Sindoor Jatra is celebrated by the locals of Bhaktapur, on the 10th day of the Bisket Jatra, on the month of Baishak. Male representatives from Thimi take out a procession of 32 god images. Sindoor (vermillion powder) is hurled at them. The procession ends as it reaches the Taleju Temple. Later in the day, the tongue-boring festival takes place in Bode (Thimi).
Maha Shivaratri: Maha Shivaratri is a festival celebrated in honor of God Shiva. It signifies the overcoming of darkness and ignorance in life. People remember Shiva, chant prayers, fast, do yoga and keep up all night in his remembrance on this day. It takes place on the month of Magh, on the month of February.
Bode Jatra: Bode Jatra is celebrated in Bode (north of Thimi) in Bhaktapur district of Nepal. Celebrated in the Mahalakshmi temple, it is accompanied by tongue-boring of the chosen male volunteer. The man then bears a bamboo rack of lamps and parades around the Bode village. It typically falls on the month of April.
Buddha Jayanti: Buddha Jayanti is celebrated on the birthday of Lord Buddha. He was born on the full moon day, obtained nirvana on the same day and departed the world on the same day, hence making this festival a significant one. The festival falls generally on the month of May.
Tiji Festival: Tiji Festival is celebrated in Lo Manthang. This three-days festival is celebrated in order to chase away demons from the region. Indigenous people living there dress up and perform rituals to chase away the demons. It takes place typically on the third week of May.