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Country in South Asia
Nepal (Nepali: नेपाल [neˈpal]), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a country in South Asia. It is located mainly in the Himalayas, but also includes parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. It is the 49th largest country by population and 93rd largest country by area. It is landlocked, and 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 capital and the largest city. Nepal is a multiethnic country with Nepali as the official language. The name "Nepal" is first recorded in texts from the Vedic period of the Indian subcontinent, the era in ancient India when 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 Lumbini in southern Nepal. Parts of northern Nepal were intertwined with the culture of Tibet. The centrally located Kathmandu Valley is intertwined with the culture of Indo-Aryans, and 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 colonized but served as a buffer state between Imperial China and British 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 establishment of a secular republic in 2008, ending the world's last Hindu monarchy. The Constitution of Nepal, adopted in 2015, affirms Nepal as a secular federal parliamentary republic divided into seven provinces. Nepal was admitted to the United Nations in 1955, and friendship treaties were signed with India in 1950 and the People's Republic of China in 1960. Nepal hosts the permanent secretariat of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), of which it is a founding member. Nepal is also a member of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Bay of Bengal Initiative. The military of Nepal is the fifth largest in South Asia; it is notable for its Gurkha history, particularly during the world wars, and has been a significant contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations. .... Learn more at Wikipedia
Nepal remains isolated from the world's major land, air and sea transport routes, although, within the country, aviation is in a better state, with 47 airports, 11 of them with paved runways; flights are frequent and support a sizeable traffic. The hilly and mountainous terrain in the northern two-thirds of the country has made the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive. As of 2016, there were just over 11,890 km (7,388 mi) of paved roads, 16,100 km (10,004 mi) of unpaved roads, and just 59 km (37 mi) of railway line in the south. As of 2018, all district headquarters (except Simikot) had been connected to the road network. Most of the rural roads are not operable during the rainy season; even national highways regularly become inoperable. Nepal depends almost entirely on assistance from countries like China, India and Japan, for building, maintenance and expansion of the road network. The only practical seaport of entry for goods bound for Kathmandu is Kolkata in India. The national carrier, Nepal Airlines, is in poor shape due to mismanagement and corruption, and has been blacklisted by the EU. Internally, the poor state of development of the road system makes access to markets, schools, and health clinics a challenge.