For a relatively small country, Nepal offers astonishing geographical and cultural diversity. Elevations range from the 29,000 foot peak of Mt. Everest in the Himalayas to near sea level in the south. Although Nepal is the world's only Hindu kingdom, it is also the birthplace of the Buddha and Buddhists make up some 10% of the country. In addition, Nepal is home to a dozen different ethnic groups, who speak fifty different languages and dialects. Despite this diversity, a Nepali tradition of tolerance has spared the nation the ethnic and religious strife suffered by other countries in the region. And unlike India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar (Burma) and many other countries in the area, Nepal was never colonized.
I was in Nepal for too short a time in May and June, 1997. I divided my time between the Kathmandu Valley and a trek in the Khumbu region of the Himalayas (those photos are on a separate page). The photos above offer a quick overview of Kathmandu and some of the nearby areas. Below, running as separate slide shows in a pop-up window, are photos that present a more detailed view of each area.
The entire Kathmandu Valley has been designated as a World Heritage Site for its mixture of Hindu and Buddhist religious sites as well as the three Durbar Squares in Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. Further detail and photographs of these magnificent sites can be found in the pop-up slide shows below.
Related pages: A Trek in the Himalayas' Khumbu Region.
People of Nepal: Nepal is a wonderful place to people watch. Kathmandu and the surrounding valley are home to religious sites sacred to Hindus and Buddhists. Ethnic groups, such as Newars, Tibetans and Nepalis from the outlying areas, mingle throughout the region. The streets of Kathmandu itself are teeming with life. (20 Photos) [Preview This Slide Show]