Nepal is a landlocked country situated between India and China's Tibetan Autonomous region. The Himalayas fall within the country's boundaries, thus Nepal is well known for its mountainous and hilly topography. In fact, Nepal is home to the magnificent Mount Everest, believed to be the world's tallest mountain. The fascinating geography of Nepal contributes greatly to the country's wonder and touristic appeal. As we investigate Nepal's geography you will quickly discover why it draws adventure seekers and those interested in exploring its ecological diversity.
Nepal encompasses 147 181 km squared of land in a rough rectangular shape and is comparable in size to Arkansas. As you travel from the south to the north of Nepal you will note that the altitude changes. Despite its small size, Nepal’s geography is very diverse from its lowest point in Kechana Kalan (Jhapa District) of 70 m above sea level to its highest point at Mount Everest of 8 848 m. Along this rise in altitude there are notable valleys. With the combination of mountains, rolling hills, ridges and valleys, Nepal has an eclectic mix of ecological zones. Nepal is made up of three regions defined by its topographical changes. In the north are the Himalayas, then the hills with the Mahabharat range plus Churia hills and finally Terai in the south with some flatter forested or cultivated areas. In the northern reaches of Nepal you will find the temperatures can be below -40 degrees celsius. In the Terai region the summer temperatures can range up to 40 degrees celsius, a large variation. Monsoon clouds cover Nepal in June, July and August.
Let us consider each of Nepal’s physiographic/topographic regions which run parallel to each other, blending together at the borders.
The Himalayan mountain range creates Nepal’s border to the north. This region incorporates 16% of the country’s land. Located in the region you will discover the world-renowned Mount Everest as well as Kanchenjunga (measuring 8598 m) and Dhaulagiri (measuring 8137 m). Vegetation in this area is limited and ends at 4 500 m.
The Hills region takes in 65% of Nepal’s land area and holds the country’s capital – Kathmandu. Elevations range greatly in the area from about 500 m above sea level to around 3 000 m above sea level. Summer temperatures in the Hills averages at 32 degree celsius and winters reach a chilly -1 degrees celsius.
The Terai makes up 17% of the country’s land area. The region is ideal for agriculture with the flat lands reaching between 100 m and 300 m above sea level. Within the Sub-tropical forest areas and marshes an abundance of wildlife can be found including rare species such as the Bengal tiger, gharial crocodile and one-horned rhino.
The geography of Nepal is the country’s draw card. The appeal of Nepal’s physiographical and ecological diversity attracts people from around the world, your visit to Nepal will surely confirm the reality of this truth.