Nepal, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. Nepal is situated within latitude 26° 22′ N to 30°27′ N and longitude 80°4E to 88°12 E. with an area of 147,181 square kilometers (56,827 sq mi).
Its Shape is roughly rectangular about 885km long East to West and about 200km wide North to South and occupies 0.3 and 0.03% of land area of Asia and the world respectively. Population of Nepal is approximately 27 million (and nearly 2 million absentee workers living abroad), Nepal is the world’s 93rd largest country by land mass and the 41st most populous country.
It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People’s Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. Specifically, the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Sikkim border Nepal, while across the Himalayas lies the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Nepal is separated from Bangladesh by the narrow Indian Siliguri corridor.
Kathmandu is the nation’s capital and largest metropolis. The mountainous north of Nepal has eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest, called Sagarmatha in Nepali. It contains more than 240 peaks over 20,000 ft (6,096 m) above sea level. The southern Terai region is fertile and humid. Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha, is located in this region. Lumbini is one of the holiest places of one of the world’s great religions, and its remains contain important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimage centers from as early as the 3rd century BC. Hinduism is practiced by about 81.3% of Nepalis, making it the country with the highest percentage of Hindus. Buddhism is linked historically with Nepal and is practiced by 16%, Kirat 5.1%, Islam by 4.4%, Christianity 1.4%, and animism 0.4%. A large section of the population, especially in hill region, even though they follow Hindu customs, may identify themselves as both Hindu as well as Buddhists which can be attributed to syncretic nature of Hinduism and Buddhism in Nepal. In 2013, Nepal ranked the 157th place on the Human Development Index (HDI) and is one of the least developed nations in the entire world. The oldest known examples of architecture in Nepal are stupas of early Buddhist constructions in and around Kapilvastu in south-western Nepal, and those constructed by Ashoka in the Kathmandu Valley c. 250 BC. The characteristic architecture associated exclusively with Nepal was developed and refined by Newa artisans of the Kathmandu Valley starting no later than the Lichchhavi period. A Tang dynasty Chinese travel book, probably based on records from c. 650 AD, describes contemporary Nepali architecture, predominantly built with wood, as rich in artistry, as well as wood and metal sculpture. It describes a magnificent seven-storied pagoda in the middle of a palace, with copper-tiled roofs, its balustrade, grills, columns and beams set about with fine and precious stones, and four golden sculptures of Makaras in the four corners of the base spouting water from their mouths like a fountain, supplied by copper pipes connected to the runnels at the top of the tower.
Later Chinese chronicles describe Nepal's king's palace as an immense structure with many roofs, suggesting that Chinese were not yet familiar with the pagoda architecture, which has now become one of the chief characteristic of Chinese architecture. A typical pagoda temple is built with wood, every piece of it finely carved with geometrical patterns or images of gods, goddesses, mythical beings and beasts. The roofs usually tiled with clay, and sometimes gold plated, diminish in proportion successively until the topmost roof is reached which is itself unsigned by a golden finial. The base is usually composed of rectangular terraces of finely carved stone; the entrance is usually guarded by stone sculptures of conventional figures. Bronze and copper craftsmanship observable in the sculpture of deities and beasts, decorations of doors and windows and the finials of buildings, as well as items of every day use is found to be of equal splendor. The most well-developed of Nepali painting traditions is the thanks or paubha painting tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, practiced in Nepal by the Buddhist monks and Newar artisans. Changu Narayan Temple, built c. 4th century AD has probably the finest of Nepali woodcraft; the Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur Durbar Squares are the culmination of Nepali art and architecture, showcasing Nepali wood, metal and stone craftsmanship refined over two millennia.