TREKKING HISTORY: HOW IT ALL STARTED
Though fascination of mountains among the mountaineers and ones who fancied being into the nature started a long time ago, but the real quest of the Nepal Himalayas started with the instigation of the legend, Bill Tilman, the English mountaineer and Nepal’s very first genuine-trekking tourist who in 1949 got the permission from the Nepal king to survey Nepal and explored almost every corners of this country. Along with Bill Tilman a great partner in Himalayan exploration was Eric Shipton, a distinguished British mountaineer who is equally responsible for the substantial contribution in trekking and climbing history of Nepal. Besides, the first ever successful ascent of the 8000 m peak Annapurna I by French Expedition led by Maurice Herzog in 1950 and the ascent of world’s highest peak, Mount Everest in 1953 by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa has been a pioneer mountaineers leaving behind their footprints in the mountains and inciting every single mountain lovers to realize their potential for this quest.
However, Colonel Jimmy Roberts, a former British Gurkha Officer and the Military expert to the British Embassy in Kathmandu in 1958 was the first person to realize the opportunity of trekking in Nepal. We are very gratified to late Jimmy Roberts because it was entirely his initiation and his passion that got Nepal’s tourism industry to where it is now. He after his years of study, understanding and exploring every facets of Nepal founded the first ever government registered trekking company with a name ‘Mountain Travel’ in 1964 which primed a distinguished hallmark in the history of Nepal Tourism industry. Now the late Jimmy Roberts also very deservedly known as the “Father of Trekking” in Nepal is unquestionably the pioneer and the inspiration to prosperous adventure travel industry that has supported extensively in Nepal’s economical growth. Now trekking and climbing in Nepal has reached to such an extent that Nepal has become a ‘trekking paradise’ for mountain lovers and has never failed to lure the travelers and mountaineers with its exquisiteness and ample opportunity to do awe-inspiring activities.
NEPAL AND IT’S PEOPLE
Nepal is a small landlocked, the youngest republic country which is bordered by China to the north, and by India to the south, east, and west with an area of 147,181 square kilometers. Nepal has a population of roughly 28.51 million according to 2015 census and approximately 3 million living in Kathmandu, the capital city and the country’s largest metropolitan city. The population consists of about 101 ethnic groups and over 92 languages are spoken with several tribal groups having their own distinctive language. A Constituent Assembly election was held on April 10, 2008. On May 28, 2008, the newly elected Constituent Assembly declared Nepal a Federal Democratic Republic, abolishing the 240 year-old Monarchy System. Though Nepali is the official language which is spoken and understood by majority of the population yet English is spoken all around. It is by far a Hindu nation as more than 80% people practice Hinduism. Nepal being the birth place of Buddha, Buddhism is the second biggest religion. It is rich and unique in its culture which is a blend of Indo-Aryan and Tibeto- Mongolian influence.
Out of 14 highest peaks in the world Nepal has eight 8000 m peaks including Everest, the world’s highest mountain. The altitude variation of Nepal is very unique unlike any country in the world, from 59 meters from sea level in the tropical Terai to the south it goes as soaring as to the highest point of 8848 meters to the north.
In the midst of modernization and the western influence, prosperous culture still thrives among the Nepalese. Though they live under diverse geographical condition yet they are in general the peace loving people always with a smile in their face. They always welcome you as special guests with traditional salutation of “Namaste”, a universal greeting. Besides, all the picturesque exquisiteness and high mountain the greatest characteristic of trekking is to interact with the local people who have a tough life style, but despite that they are very friendly and has positive outlook towards life and enjoy every seconds of their existence.
Though Nepal is still under the rehabilitation process for the April 2015 Earthquake and the slow pace of government relief efforts, with bereaved families and many remote communities yet to receive the required aid yet it is very strange to see the Nepalese being very cheerful and welcoming. Happiness among the people of Nepal masks the sad realities of the country – as we believe in the phrase “we never know what tomorrow brings, today is a good day to be the last – let’s be HAPPY”.
Though Nepal’s climate varies with its geography and altitude, its monsoon is affected by Bay of Bengal in India, the world largest bay making June till September very wet and humid.. Monsoon (June, July and August) is probably not the real off season for people who fancy coming to Nepal. During this time Nepal Pyramids operates number of trek to upper Mustang and upper Dolpo which is a rain shadow area and monsoon is the perfect time to visit these once forbidden kingdoms which are very in cultural aspects and still untouched by civilization. The three different regions of Nepal do have the variation in climate – the Terai region can change to seriously chilly in winter to very hot and humid in the summer. The Mountain Region basically has a moderate climate all through the year with frosty night. However, the Himalayan region with its alpine climate can get to freezing temperature during winter.
Nepal has four distinct seasons.
Spring (between March – May): The temperature will be moderate giving you the plenty of opportunity with stunning mountain views and picturesque landscape. It’s more of a very ideal time for expeditions where mountaineers from different parts of the world come to summit varied peaks of Nepal. In addition, spring is real time for different floras giving anyone abundant prospect to understand the exquisiteness of natural surroundings.
Summer (between June – August): This is the monsoon and summer season in Nepal where the weather is hot, humid and wet. It’s literally off season and not a very favorable time to trek in Nepal other than the rain shadow area of Upper Mustang and Upper Dolpo.
Autumn (between September – November): This is the longest trekking season and considered the best period for trekking in Nepal. This is the finest season where beautiful days are certain offering you clear skies and outstanding mountain views. In addition, the popular Hindu festivals fall in this season where anyone can participate and witness the splendor of celebration.
Winter (between December – February): This season is particularly encouraging for those doing the lower elevation foothills treks. Despite the cold temperature the weather is very promising presenting you with clear blue skies without much hindrance from the monsoon clouds and gives you marvelous advantage of being in the less crowded trails and tea houses.
Nepal is a beautiful country rightfully called a paradise on earth. Here we are listing the most fun and interesting facts about Nepal. The most baffling fact about Nepal is that all of the following happens within the limited area of 147,181 sq. km (56,827 sq. mi) and within the extending length of 885 km (550 mi) SE – NW and the width 201 km (125 mi) NE – SW.
• Nepal has 8 out of the world’s 14 highest mountains including the Mount Everest.
• In a span of 100 km going from South to North at any part of Nepal you can experience hot tropical climate to bone chilling Arctic type weather with altitudinal variation that ranges from 70 meters to 8848 meters.
• Nepal boasts over the most thrilling places on the earth such as the highest lake on the earth (Tilicho 4800 meters), the deepest gorges (over 6000 m) in Kaligandaki, the highest valley on earth (Arun valley) and the tallest grassland in the world in Chitwan.
• Kaligandaki is the river older than the Himalayas. Therefore, it acts as a major ecological dividing line of the whole eastern and western Himalayas.
• Nepal is a four season destination.
• Nepal is called an Amazon of Asia. The hidden treasure of its rich biodiversity is not yet fully explored. Many new species could be discovered from Nepal.
• Nepal has more than 360 species of Orchid which constitutes over 2% of the world’s orchids.
• Nepal has 8 % of the total species of birds found in the world.
• Nepal comprises 6% of the world’s rhododendron species.
• Nepal harbors 5980 species of flowering plants which covers 2.4% of the world’s total. Over 250 species of the flowering plants are endemic in Nepal (i.e. It is not found elsewhere else in the world.)
• It is said that Nepal has largest moth in the world (Atlas Moth)
• Some of the largest wild honeybees are found in Nepal.
• The only natural breeding ground of the Long Snouted Gharial crocodile exists in Nepalese river.
• The mysterious creature of the Himalayas called Yeti is said to be spotted in the Nepalese Himalayas by many. Sir Edmund Hillary even led an expedition to find the Yeti in 1958.
• Second largest population of One-horned Rhino is found in Nepal.
• Nepal has one of the best habitats for Snow Leopard.
• Sukla Phanta in West Nepal harbors the world largest herd of Swamp deer.
CULTURE, LIFESTYLE AND PRIDE:
• Nepal has the only living goddess in the world called Kumari. Kumari literally means virgin in Nepali.
• Nepal was never been under any foreign invasion. Thus Nepal does not have an independent day because Nepal was never colonized. Nepal is also the oldest country in South Asia.
• Nepal has the densest concentration of World Heritage Sites. Kathmandu valley alone has 7 World Heritage Cultural sites within a radius of 15 kilometers. No wonder Kathmandu is called the living cultural museum of the world.
• Nepal is the only country with a non-rectangular flag. The current flag has been in place since 1962 although the basic design has been used for over 2,000 years in Nepal.
• People in Nepal greet one another by saying “Nasmaste” or “Namaskar” with their palms together and bow their forehead. Namaste is directly translated as ‘I salute the God in youˇ.
• Elephant polo game was originated in Meghauli, Nepal. Tiger Tops in Nepal is the headquarters of elephant polo and the site of the World Elephant Polo Championships.
• Some of the highest permanent human habitat in the world exists in Himalayan region of Nepal.
• Nepal has over 80 ethnic groups and 123 Languages.
• Nepal opened its borders in 1949.
• Over 19% of the total country’s landmass is protected under National Park and Protected Area in Nepal.
• Shivapuri National Park at Budhanilkantha in Kathmandu is the only World’s National Park close to the capital and international airport.
• Multi conceptual park management system was first successfully implemented in Annapurna Area and now ACAP is the world model for conservation and sustainable development.(1986)
• Under developing country like Nepal and with abundant ancient infrastructure, it is the first in the world to survive 8 magnitude earthquake with minimal human and property damage.
• World’s best weed (marijuana) grows wild in Nepal. Especially in rural area. Though it’s not legal yet marijuana grows almost everywhere in Nepal and is used basically for animal digestion ailments.
• Gosainthan (8046 m) is the Nepali name for Shisha Pangma, the 14th highest peak in the world that falls in Tibet.
• Nepal boasts few of the world’s most popular trekking trails such as Annapurna Circuit trek and Everest Base Camp Trek.
• Nepal is one of the best arenas for Extreme & Adventure Sport tourism such as mountaineering, cannoning, paragliding, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, bungee jumping, high altitude marathon etc.
• Karnali in Simikot is one of the best rivers in the world for kayaking and most of the upstream Nepalese rivers offer the best rapids for white-water rafting.