The lure and romance of Nepal comes from its very remoteness.
Nestled high in the Himalaya the kingdom was closed to the outside world until 1951. Since then it has become one of the premier tourist destinations of the world.
Apart from Nepal's world-renowned physical attractions - frozen peaks, broad valleys, lush jungles and exotic wildlife - it is a country with an ancient, rich and diverse cultural heritage.
With a recorded history of almost 3000 years, and legendary beginnings dating back further still, the legacy and influences of the past are a constant presence in modern life. Traditional architecture mingles with the modern, busy streets divert around sacred shrines, festivals celebrate gods and heroes and suited-businessmen offer katak's to departing visitors.
The lives of all of Nepal's numerous ethnic groups and castes are strongly influenced by religion. Whether Hindu, Buddhist, Shamanist or, as is common, an amalgam of belief, daily and life-long routines - morning puja, making offerings at a shrine on the way to work and the bigger events of birth and death - are a vibrant aspect of Nepalese life. Architecture follows styles that provide for household shrines, deities are painted in vibrant color and festivals are an integral part of life.
Official Name: The Kingdom of Nepal
Capital: Kathmandu (1300m)
Population: 21.2 million
Area: 147,181 square kilometers