Nepal is a small landlocked country, sandwiched between China to the north and India to the south. Just 800km long and 200km wide, it covers every altitude from 150m to 8,848m, the highest point in the world at the top of Mount Everest.
Although nearly two thirds of the country is covered by mountains, almost half of the population lives in the narrow lowland belt of the Terai that covers only 17% of the country’s landmass.
Nepal is home to a wide variety of people, animals and birds and landscapes. There are over 100 languages, with over 50 officially recognized tribes or ethnic groups.
Geologically, millions of years ago Nepal was once under the ocean, as seen in the Kali Gandaki river bed, where ammonites can still be found. The Himalayas are in fact a very young mountain range, still moving upwards a few millimeters every year.
Nepal can be divided into distinct zones: the southern plains, the mountain areas and in between, the hill regions.
Terai The Terai in the south form the flat lowland area that runs along the length of Nepal, bordering with India. The Chure Hills, with an average height of about 1,000m, forms a minor ridge that runs the length of the country, separating the Middle Hills from the Inner Terai area.
Middle Hills North of the Inner Terai are the Middle Hills or Mahabharat Range which vary between 1,500 and 2,700m. Between these hills and the Himalaya lays a broad belt of cultivated land that is known as the Pahar zone, including the valleys of Kathmandu and Pokhara. After the Terai, this area is the most densely populated area of Nepal.