- regional information
With Optional Climbs of Lobuche East (6119m) or Island Peak (6189m)
Area: 54,363 sq mi (140,800 sq km)
Population growth rate: 2.17% (2006 est.)
Capital: Kathmandu. 822,930 people. (4,265 ft elevation)
Independence Date: 1768
Government Type: In Transition
Sources of additional information:
Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world with almost one-third of its population living below the poverty line. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for three-fourths of the population and accounting for 38% of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural produce including jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain.
GDP: $39.5 billion (2004 est.)
Per Capita GDP: $1,500
Monetary Unit: Rupee (For exchange rates click here)
Unemployment rate: 42% (2004 EST.)
Agriculture products: rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat
Industries: tourism, carpet, textile; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarettes, cement and brick production
Natural resources: quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore
Hindu(official) 86%, Buddhist 8%, Muslim 4%, Kirant 1.2%, other 0.8%
Languages: Nepali 47.8%, Maithali 12.1%, Bhojpuri 7.4%, Tharu (Dagaura/Rana) 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.6%, Magar 3.3%, Awadhi 2.4%, other 10%, unspecified 2.5% (2001 census) note: many in government and business also speak English. Nepali is the official language with about 30 dialects.
Literacy rate: 48.6%
Do’s and Don'ts in Nepal:
- To show appreciation and respect, use two hands rather than one when giving or receiving something, even money.
- Try not to point with a single finger, but use a flat extended hand…especially to indicate a sacred object or place.
- Among Hindus, avoid touching women and holy men. The traditional palms together “Namaste” greeting is preferable.
- Remove your shoes when entering a home, temple or monastery (and leather items in Hindu temples).
- Please refrain from giving candy, pens, and money to children, but instead donate to a school, monastery or hospital.
- Most Nepalese don’t mind being photographed, but some do. Ask first, especially with older people or ceremonies.
- It is illegal to export anything older than 100 years.
- Public affection is frowned upon, and men should wear shirts at all times.