Nepal is a land of great beauty and ethnic and cultural diversity. Situated in South Asia and bounded by the Tibetan Autonomous region of China in the north and by India in the south, east and west, Nepal covers and area of 147,181 sq. km.
Better known for its Himalayan massifs, Nepal boasts eight of the world’s 14 highest peaks that exceed 8,000 m in altitude. It contains Mt. Everest (8,848 m), the world's highest peak, as well as seven others that rise more than 8,000 m above sea level. Many people also know Nepal as the birth place of Lord Buddha and therefore an important destination for Buddhist pilgrims. It was at Lumbini, as inscribed on the pillar erected by the Indian king Ashoka, that the Buddha was born. Lumbini also has a number of artistic temples built through international support.
Due to extremities in topography, climate and water systems, Nepal is home, despite its small land area, to an astounding variety of flora and fauna. Over 6,500 flowering plants, and 175 mammal, 850 bird, 180 fish and 640 butterfly species are found here. Although the country occupies only 0.09% of the total land surface of the earth, it has nearly 5% of mammalian and 10% of avian species of the world’s total. For people who have interest in nature, flora and fauna, Nepal is simply paradise.
Nepal has a total population of about 24 million people belonging to over 60 ethnic groups. They reside in diverse geographic terrain that ranges from the lowland of the Terai to the high mountain villages in the Himalaya. They have their own languages, cultures and costumes that have evolved over a long period of time so as to adapt to the environment and terrain that they live in.