Nepal is the only Hindu monarchy in the world that is nestled in the Great Himalayan Mountain Range-not only the highest of all the mountain systems in the world but the youngest as well. The word or name ‘Himalayas’ means ‘home of snow’ in Sanskrit. The entire mountain range straddles the countries of Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, India, China, and Pakistan and stretches for more than 2,400 km between the rivers Brahmaputra and Indus. Over three-quarters of Nepalese territory comprises the Himalayas. Of the 14 loftiest mountain summits in the entire world (all of which lie in the Great Himalayan Range), 8 peaks are located in the Nepal Himalayas.
The Himalayan Mountain Range in Nepal
Nepal is truly a Himalayan nation as a major area of the country is cocooned in the Himalayas. The country because of its unique geographical location and unparalleled topographical features attracts tourists in droves from throughout the world. Nepal earns more than 70% of its revenues from tourism as diverse groups of people including backpackers, trekkers, student bodies, touring families, and mountaineers keep visiting the country throughout the year.
Nepal can be segregated into three distinct parallel strips extending from the southwest to the Northeast. The Great Himalayan Range spans the northern stretch of the country. All the peaks in this range remained enveloped in snow round the year and their average height is nearly 4,570 or 15,000 feet. This range is also home to the 8 steepest peaks that fall in Nepal and these are:-
· Mt. Everest (8848m)
· Annapurna (8091m)
· Makalu (8,463m)
· Manaslu (8163m)
· Dhaulagiri (8,167m)
· Cho Oyu (8,201m)
· Lhotse (8,516m)
· Kanchenjunga (8,586m)
Towards the South lies the mountain range where the mean altitude of the peaks is between 8,000 and 14,000 ft. The Churia and the Mahabharat ranges are the major ranges of this mountain structure. Between the lofty mountain ranges lie the river valleys whose catchment areas are highly populated. The Terai is the southernmost area of Nepal and it is actually a marshy territory that extends into India.
Of the total inhabitants in Nepal, just about 8% live in the Great Himalayan Range running across the northern section of the country. One has many options of soaking in the atavistic beauty and charm of the Himalayas. The most convenient alternative would be to book a seat in a chartered flight and view the snow-topped mountains. The second option would be to gape at the vista from a resort in Dhulikhel or Nagarkot in the Kathmandu Valley. The Pokhara valley also offers some of the most breathtaking views.
However, trekking offers you the best option if you want to have the best of both the worlds-enjoy the ageless natural beauty and splendour of the mountains and also imbibe the cultural wealth and tradition of the Nepalese people. The best time to visit Nepal would be during the spring or summer when the snow thaws and turns into rushing torrents hurtling down the mountains and flooding the plains. Different species of flowers blossom on the mountains. The people harvesting crops on the mountain slopes and valleys with the cattle grazing all around, make for scenic views.