Nepal is your treasure chest if you are a traveler, adventure seeker, geography enthusiast, or simply a nature lover. Although compact in size, Nepal never seizes to surprise you with its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning landscapes. Yet, it is on the bucket list for many travelers, and it’s no mystery why!
The diverse culture, exquisite cuisines, and friendly locals are enough reasons to pack your bags and visit Nepal. However, Nepal is much more than its landmark, Everest. Here are 10 interesting facts about Nepal that might surprise you.
Get ready to groove to the rhythm because Nepal got a Lakhey dance for you! The tradition of the Lakhey dance came from ancient Nepal. It is performed during the Indra Jatra festival to celebrate the victory of good over evil. The dance features the wild and fierce steps of Lakhey, who is considered to be a demon-like creature. Lakhey’s colorful masks and electrifying dance moves will make you come down the streets of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Patan. So get ready to be on the edge of your seat as you dance along to the beat of drums and the moves of Lakhey!
Never been colonized by any empire.
Okay, let’s discuss history for a second. The British Empire colonized most countries in the world in the 18th century. Even India, the closest neighbor of Nepal, got occupied by the British. But here’s the cool part- Nepal remains one of the few countries that had never been under British rule or other foreign entities. But do you know the reason for that? Because the bravery of the Gorkha army and the sovereignty of Nepal have always embraced Nepal to keep its head held high.
Cows are considered sacred.
Do you know that Cows are considered holy animals in Nepal?
They are protected by their own set of rules in the constitution. Also, declared as the national animal, cows hold major significance in the Hindu religion in Nepal. They are considered a symbol of motherly love, nourishment, and selfless giving. Moreover, they are believed to be the earthly representation of Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. Therefore, they are thought sacred and are worshiped during festivals and religious ceremonies.
It might seem odd to see beef on the menu in Nepal, where cows are revered and considered very holy. You will find beef, but it is not a common occurrence. The bottom line is, don’t expect it to be an everyday staple.
Nepal’s triangular flag
Nepal’s flag is the only non-rectangular flag in the world. Isn’t that exceptionally unique?
The flag of Nepal consists of two crimson-red triangles outlined by a blue border. The lower triangle consists of the sun, whereas the upper one has the crescent moon. The crimson is the shade of Nepal’s national flower, Rhododendron (Lali Gurans), and the blue border symbolizes peace. The sun and moon’s presence are a sign that the country will persist as long as they are visible in the sky. Interesting fact- it is believed that Mr. Shankar Nath Rimal redesigned the modern flag of Nepal at the request of King Mahendra.
Bikram Sambhat Calendar
Did you know that Nepal follows a separate calendar from the rest of the world? Yes, Nepal has its own distinctive calendar called Bikram Sambhat (B.S.). It contrasts with the Gregorian calendar, which is widely used in the west. Bikram Sambhat is approximately 56.7 years ahead of the solar Gregorian calendar.
While the world celebrates the Gregorian New Year every January 1, Nepal celebrates that in mid-April with the first day of the month, “Baishakh”. But this doesn’t mean Nepal doesn’t celebrate Gregorian calendar events. Nepal is inclusive of other cultures as well. For example: Nepalese celebrate two new years- on Baishakh 1(tentative mid-April) and another on January 1. Isn’t that cool?
Have you ever read a Tintin comic where the main character goes on an adventurous ride to find a mythical creature? Well, speaking of mythical creatures, have you ever heard of Yeti?
Yeti, also called an abominable snowman, is an ape-like creature without a tail and is taller than average humans. It is said to be living in the higher part of the Himalayas of Nepal. Many mountaineers and people from the mountains have claimed to have seen the Yeti in the Everest region. But the existence of Yeti in Nepal is still a mystery. Various anecdotal visual sightings, photographs, plaster casts of Yeti’s footprints, photographs, etc., attempt to prove the existence of Yeti. In comparison, there are also articles and experiments proving the existence of the bipedal creature as a hoax.
The Living Goddess-Kumari
Nepal has its living goddess. Yep, this may sound unreal, but it is the ultimate reality. Kathmandu Valley worships Kumari. She is said to be the living incarnation of Goddess “Taleju Bhawani”. Rumor has it that Taleju visited King Pratap Malla in his dream and asked him to install a living representation of her to mark her divine presence in the world. And just like that, Kumari tradition became more formalized.
There are many Kumaris in towns like Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Patan, etc. The famous Kumari temple, fondly called “Kumari Ghar,” is located at Basantapur, Kathmandu. And get this, “Kumari” literally translates as “Virgin” and refers to a young pre-pubescent girl who, upon attaining puberty, loses her divineness.
It is believed that a glimpse of Kumari brings good fortune and prosperity. Kumaris reside in temples and are driven in chariots during festivals and ceremonies.
Hello there, fellow bird enthusiasts! Nepal has a real treat in store for you all. Spiny Babbler (Turdoides Nipalensis), also called “Kande Bhyakur” in Nepali, is a rare bird found nowhere except in Nepal. Found only in the mid-hills of Nepal, this little cutie is a glory in Nepal’s biodiversity. The bird is a medium-sized and long-tailed babbler that just loves to munch on insects.
If you are planning to visit Kathmandu valley, you have got to add Spiny Babbler to your bucket list. Let me tell you; it’s worth the trip. Places like Godavari and Phulchoki, which are considered to be one of their habitats, also happen to be the most popular places to explore in Kathmandu. You won’t want to miss a glimpse of this unique little creature.
Kathmandu was once a lake.
Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu, was a Paleo Kathmandu Lake in its prehistoric times. According to Hindu Mythology, it is believed that Manjushree, the legendary Buddhist sage from China, cut the gorge “Chobhar” with his sword and drained the water to make the land suitable and fertile for human civilization. As a result, people started cultivating and building homes here. Phew, they no longer have to take a boat to work!
Art enthusiasts, are you there? There’s something colorful and captivating for you.
Mithila art, widely popular in the Terai region of Nepal, features local customs, traditions, and life. Mithila Art is a painting done mainly by women. Natural dyes and pigments are used to create vibrant, intricate, and colorful patterns. Traditional folk art depicts the stories of Hindu mythology. So are you ready to explore the art and make its way to your clothing, decor, and accessories?
Did you know the Buddha, the most spiritual figure for the Buddhist people and worldwide famous for his values emphasizing compassion, wisdom, and promoting social harmony, was also born in Nepal?
Buddha was born in Lumbini in the 6th century, surrounded by imposing mountains in the tranquil southern foothills of the Nepalese Himalayas. Today, Lumbini is a pilgrimage site of immense importance to Buddhists across the globe. Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to this awe-inspiring place – recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – in search of inner peace.
Nepal has more in store for you. It is not only an adventure playground for trekkers and climbers but also the most sought-after place for cultures, traditions, agriculture, food, languages, and many more. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and visit Nepal. You won’t be disappointed.