Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is located mainly in the Himalayas but also includes parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. With an estimated population of 26.4 million, it is 48th largest country by population and 93rd largest country by area. It borders China in the north and India in the south, east, and west while Bangladesh is located within only 27 km (17 mi) of its southeastern tip and Bhutan is separated from it by the Indian state of Sikkim. Nepal has a diverse geography, including fertile plains, subalpine forested hills, and eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Kathmandu is the nation’s capital and largest city. Nepal is a multiethnic nation with Nepali as the official language.
The name “Nepal” is first recorded in texts from the Vedic Age, the era in which Hinduism was founded, the predominant religion of the country. In the middle of the first millennium BCE, Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born in southern Nepal. Parts of northern Nepal were intertwined with the culture of Tibet. The centrally located Kathmandu Valley was the seat of the prosperous Newar confederacy known as Nepal Mandala. The Himalayan branch of the ancient Silk Road was dominated by the valley’s traders. The cosmopolitan region developed distinct traditional art and architecture. By the 18th century, the Gorkha Kingdom achieved the unification of Nepal. The Shah dynasty established the Kingdom of Nepal and later formed an alliance with the British Empire, under its Rana dynasty of premiers. The country was never colonised but served as a buffer state between Imperial China and colonial India.Parliamentary democracy was introduced in 1951, but was twice suspended by Nepalese monarchs, in 1960 and 2005. The Nepalese Civil War in the 1990s and early 2000s resulted in the proclamation of a secular republic in 2008, ending the world’s last Hindu monarchy.
Mountaineering is the sport of mountain climbing. While some scholars identify mountaineering-related activities as climbing (rock and ice) and trekking up mountains, others are also adding backpacking, hiking, skiing, via ferrata and wilderness activities, and still others state that mountaineering activities also include indoor climbing, sport climbing and bouldering.However, to most of the scholars, the term mountaineering is understood as climbing (which now refers to adventure climbing or sports climbing) and trekking (hill walking in ‘exotic’ places).Hiking in the mountains can also be a simple form of mountaineering when it involves scrambling, or short stretches of the more basic grades of rock climbing, as well as crossing glaciers.
While mountaineering began as attempts to reach the highest point of unclimbed big mountains, the sport has branched into specializations that address different aspects of the mountain and consists of three areas: rock-craft, snow-craft, and skiing, depending on whether the route chosen is over rock, snow or ice. All require experience, athletic ability, and technical knowledge to maintain safety.