Draped along the greatest heights of the Himalaya, Nepal is a land of sublime scenery, time-worn temples, and some of the best walking trails on earth. It's a poor country, but it is rich in scenic splendour and cultural treasures. The kingdom has long exerted a pull on the Western imagination.
It's the kind of country that lingers in your dreams long after you leave it. This is why so many travellers are drawn back to Nepal, armed the second time round with a greater appreciation of its natural and cultural complexity, a stout pair of walking boots and a desire for sculpted calf muscles.
Full country name: Kingdom of Nepal
Area: 140,800 sq km
Population: 26.46 million
People: Newars, Thakalis, Tibetans, Gurungs, Magars, Tamangs, Bhotias, Rais, Limbus, Sherpas, Bahuns, Chhetris, Tharus.
Language: Nepali, English
Religion: 90% Hindu, 5% Buddhist, 3% Muslim, 2% other
Government: parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy
Head of State: King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Deva
Head of Government: Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa
GDP: US$27.4 billion
GDP per capita: US$1,100
Annual Growth: 6%
Major Industries: Tourism, carpet, textile, small rice, jute, sugar, oilseed mills, cigarettes, cement and brick production, rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, root crops, milk, water buffalo meat
Major Trading Partners: India, US, Germany, UK, Singapore, Japan
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