Nepal and Cultural Heritage 3

Geography The Republican of Nepal covers an area of 147, 181 square kilometers, and stretches 145-241 kilometers north to south and 850 kilometers west to east. The country is located between India in the south and China in the north. At latitudes 26 and 30 degrees north and longitudes 80 and 88 degrees east, Nepal is topographically divided into three regions: the Himalaya to the north, the hills consisting of the Mahabharat range and the Churia Hills in the middle, and the Terai to the south. Elevations are varied in the kingdom. The highest point is Mt. Everest (8848m) in the north and the lowest point (70 meters above sea level) is located at Kechana Kalan of Jhapa District. Altitude increases as you travel south to north. To the north temperatures are below-40 degrees Celsius and in the Terai, temperatures rise to 40 degrees Celsius in the summer. During June, July and August, the Republican is influenced by monsoon clouds. The Himalaya: Festivals Nepalese New Year, celebrated particularly in Bhaktapur. Raato Machhendranath Rath Jatra (April- June) A chariot procession through Patan lasting up to three months.Buddha Jayanti (May)- the full moon of Baisakh (Nepalese month) is Buddha Jayanti, the triply auspicious anniversary of Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death. Swayambhunath and Bouddhanath overflow with crowds. Gunla (August) A Newar Buddhist holy month, celebrated at Swayambuanth, Patan and Kathmandu. Janai Purnima (August) High caste Hindus change their sacred-threads the new onces, thousands gather at Patan's Kumbeshwar Mahadev temple, and some make strenous pilgrimages to Gosainkunda north of Kathmandu. Gai Jatra (August) Religion Religious practices are an important part of the lives of the Nepalese people. Mythologies of various Hindu gods and goddesses abound in this country and cultural values are based on the philosophies of holy books like the Gita, Ramayana, etc.Women and children visit neighborhood shrines at dawn to offer worship to the gods. Holding plates of rice, flowers, and vermilion powder, they perform puja by lighting incense, ringing the temple bell, and applying 'tika', a red paste, on their foreheads. Passer-by stop at temples and show their reverence to the gods by spending a few minutes prying. Occasionally, groups of' men sit near temples playing music and singing hyms until late night.In Nepal, Hinduism and Buddhism are the two main religions. The two have co-existed down the ages and many Hindu temples share the same complex as, Buddhist shrines. Hindu and Buddhist worshippers may regard the same god with different names while performing religious rites. Though Nepal is the only Hindu Kingdom in the world, may other religions like Islam, Christianity, and Bon are practiced here. Some of the earliest inhabitants like the Kirants practice their own kind of religion based on ancestor worship and the Tharus practice animism. Over the years, Hinduism and Buddhism have been influenced by these practices which have been modified to form a synthesis of newer beliefs.As a result, visitors to this country may often find the religious practices in Nepal difficult to follow and understand. But this does not prevent one from enjoying the different traditional ceremonies and rituals of Nepalese culture. It is indeed a totally new experience of religious fervour. Hinduism Video By : Nepal Tourism Board