15 Incredible Things You Didn’t Know About Nepal

We’ve narrowed down to a few fun facts to tempt you.

kathmandu-nepal
Photo: Wendy Hung

The list of incredible things in Nepal may go on forever, because of its sordid history sustained by a population of spiritual and lovely people. In addition to the epic Himalayas, breezy Pokhara, and spiritual Kathmandu; there are a million reasons why you should visit this beautiful land in South Asia. We’ve narrowed down to a few fun facts that you may not know about this gorgeous country. Tempted to book your ticket? It’s highly recommended!

1. Nepal is the oldest country in South Asia.

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Photo: Wendy Hung

Of all the countries in this region, including: Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Maldives; Nepal has been around the longest.

2. 8 of the world’s 10 highest peaks are in Nepal.

himalaya-nepal
Photo: Wendy Hung

A major part of the Himalayas is in Nepal, in addition to the the highest point on earth – Mount Everest. THAT is major!

3. Nepal has 123 languages and 80+ ethnic groups.

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Photo: Wendy Hung

Not to mention, Nepal is home to at least 4 indigenous sign languages! Above all, Nepali is spoken by 44% of the population, followed by Maithili which is used by 11% of the locals.

4. There are drama classes teaching brides to cry at weddings.

nepalese-woman-kathmandu-nepal
Photo: Wendy Hung

Because weddings symbolize a time of brides leaving families, they’re expected to cry throughout the entire ceremony which lasts for several days. In order to prepare the role of a tear jerker, some ladies attend classes learning to cry on cue.

5. Nepal is where Buddha was born.

Nepal
Photo: Wendy Hung

The city was known as Kapilvastu, Lumbini which is in modern day Nepal.

6. People neither whine nor complain.

temple-kathmandu-nepal
Photo: Wendy Hung

If you’ve been to Nepal, you’ll see that life isn’t the easiest in this country of poverty. But you’ll never hear people whine or complain. Rather, they carry on with carefree smiles on their faces. It’s a beautiful thing to witness.

7. Before Amsterdam, Nepal was known as the weed capital.

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Photo: Wendy Hung

Although weed is now considered illegal to buy and sell in Nepal, it’s grown everywhere in rural areas. Particularly during Maha Shivaratri festival, which local Nepalese call it “Marijuana Day” indicating a day when smoking pot is legal in Nepal. The smell of marijuana – widely used during the celebration of Shivaratri – overcasts the temple grounds. In fact, it’s a popular characteristic of sadhu ritualism which is their utilization of marijuana (known as charas) as a form of a eucharist in line with their worship of Shiva who was believed to have an adoration and affinity for the leaves of the plant.

8. No helmet, no problem!

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Photo: Wendy Hung

Unlike other countries in the world, passengers on a motorbike isn’t required to wear a helmet by Nepali law.

9. Marrying outside of the caste system is not permitted.

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Photo: Wendy Hung

Caste system in Nepal is still heavily ingrained in its societal culture. Inter-caste marriages are frowned upon.

10. Nepal is the only country without a rectangular flag.

 

This unique flag is more than 2,000 years old. It’s a simplified combination of two single pennons. Its crimson red color symbolizes war victory as well as Nepal’s national flower: rhododendron. The blue on the flag represents peace.

11. If you order chicken, it might take awhile.

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Photo: Wendy Hung

Because locals will literally go hunt for one. Although you might be waiting for awhile, the chicken comes as free-range as it gets!

12. Kumari – living goddess – can only be discovered in Nepal.

living-goddess-nepal
Photo: Wendy Hung

The world’s only living goddesses are worshipped by Hindus and Buddhists. These kumaris are young girls believed to be manifestations or reincarnations of the Teleju goddess. They live in temples, reveal themselves to the public on temple balconies at certain hours of the day and are carried in chariots during religious festivals. They retire once they enter puberty.

13. Being called “fat” is a compliment.

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Photo: Wendy Hung

Similar to many Asian cultures, being fat means living and eating well. So do’t take offense.

14. Nepal has never been in war for religious or ethnic reasons.

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Photo: Wendy Hung

There’s been several wars in the name of power or politics, but never for religion or ethnicity. Unlike what has happened throughout the rest of the world.

15. Nepal Gurkhas have been recruited by The British Army for 200 years.

Soldiers entering Pashupatinath Temple (Kathmandu, Nepal)
Photo: Wendy Hung

Since 1816, the Gurkhas are Nepalese soldiers recruited in the British and Indian Armies after the British East India Company peace agreement.

Wendy Hung

CEO, FOUNDER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and St. Bart's because they were all so different!

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