Nepal is a gifted country in terms of the never-ending stunning landscapes, charismatic mountains, and mesmerizing lakes. But, that fact is rather commonplace. The real question is, why Nepal is still a tourist destination after all these years, what makes Nepal so unique that hundreds of people flock to this country and are in absolute awe and why are Blockbuster Hollywood movies like Dr. Strange and The Golden Child are shot here?
Nepal is not only gifted with jaw-dropping landscapes but also with people that make Nepal as a whole. Nepal is home to nearly 29,000,000 people divided into 103 ethnic groups spread over 147,181 sq.km. Uniqueness can be seen in the geography of Nepal, where sandwiched between 2 giant nations, India and China, lies a landlocked jewel. Of course, Nepal is associated with the Himalayan range, with the tallest being Mt. Everest. The tropical lowland called Terai and the hilly midlands with a greater population density. The uniqueness in geography also evokes the uniqueness of cultures and traditions. Harmony in diversity, religious tolerance and the friendly and peaceful vibe of the people adds a certain charm as well as an appeal that never goes unnoticed. Nepal is primarily a Hindu country with a maximum of 80% adhering to the religion but also has influences of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and many more. Religious tolerance can be seen in the temples, mosques, and Gumbas where everyone is treated with respect and love. Therefore, it can be justifiable that Nepal has never experienced any religious tension among its citizens.
Nepal has been ruled by many kings over the centuries before the unification of Nepal as a whole. Each regime has yielded its own cultures, tradition, lifestyles and mainly architecture that has been a legacy for the people of Nepal and amazement for the foreigners. It has been recorded that, around the 4th or 5th century, the Licchavi dynasty migrated from the Indian plains to the hills of Nepal. And under the Licchavi dynasty, the trade with India and China strengthened creating an influx of culture, intelligence, and technologies. As the history illustrates, Nepal was fragmented into multiple countless kingdoms, each ruling certain parts of the nation. The Mallas ruled the Kathmandu and nearby places around 10th to 18th century, imposed a uniform religion as Hindu and other social codes in Nepal. Still stands the temples, palaces, stone-paved walkways after all these centuries. Many durbar squares like Basantapur, Patan, and Bhaktapur seem to be frozen in time providing the most authentic display of the royalties and the way of life of the past. The influence of Nepalese architecture can also be seen throughout China and as far as Japan.
Modern Nepal has seen many influences from around the world in its evolvement of culture and way of life. The juxtaposition between a temple and a big shopping complex on the same street seem a little uncanny. Nepal is definitely on a limbo with the old and the new, the modern and the ancient or between the medieval culture and the westernized way of life. But everything seems to fit in the place without interrupting the natural state of living. Luxury hotels in the remote foothills or high-speed internet on top of the Mount Everest shows how tourism has created a diverse influx of tourism that caters to both backpackers and people seeking luxury travel, to both soul searchers and pilgrims and for explorers and discoverers.
The diversity is prevalent in every aspect of living that makes Nepal unique but there also is a certain unwritten code of conduct that coexists to enables Nepalese to live in harmony. Welcoming our guests as god with a big smile and open heart can definitely fill the void of missing home. Finding happiness in little things, devoid of deceit and giving everything when needed with a smile makes Nepal and Nepalese unique and exemplary to the world.