Nepal is a land of towering mountains, terraced rice-paddies, breathtaking beauty and cultural mystique. It contains eight of the top ten highest mountain peaks, including Mt Everest. This Himalayan country is bordered by China to the north and India on the other three sides. It is one of the poorest nations in the world. The capital city, Kathmandu, struggles to handle its growing population and the increasing number of road users. The country opened to the world in 1951.
Because the terrain is so difficult, education and development remain a challenge, resulting in poverty. Almost a third of the population lives below the poverty line, and many people are illiterate. In rural areas, many people are subsistence farmers, though more and more Nepali people are finding work abroad, leaving wives and children behind, meaning children are growing up without a father. Human trafficking is also high amongst the poorly educated population.
Nepal is a collage of people groups, each with its own unique culture, beauty, history and traditions. While the majority of people can communicate in Nepali, at least 125 other languages are spoken as well.
Nepal boasts being the birthplace of Buddha. The population of Nepal is almost 29 million people. According to the 2011 census, 81.3% of the Nepalese population is Hindu, 9.0% Buddhist, 4.4% Muslim, 3.0% Kiratist (an indigenous ethnic religion), 1.4% Christian, 0.2% Sikhs, 0.1% Jains and 0.6% follow another or no religion.
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