Of the 14 highest peaks in the world above 8000 meters, 8 of them are in the Nepal Himalayas. There is so much to see and do in the small country of Nepal nestled amidst the highest peaks of the Himalayas. From trekking up to a mountain base, jungle safaris chasing the one-horned Rhino in Chitwan National park, chilling with stunning views of the entire ice-covered Annapurna range & Phewa Lake in and around Pokhara, experiencing the living heritage city of Patan in a traditional Newari home, to devouring delicious momos, sekwa, Dal Bhat and other traditional food in Kathmandu, it was the most adventurous & fulfilling two weeks we spent traveling across mountains & jungles, experiencing local food & culture in Nepal.
Here are some unique and interesting things about Nepal that I learned on our first trip, and scenes from my travels I painted in watercolors & ink on paper.
Nepal’s Unique National Flag: Nepal is the only country in the world whose flag isn’t a square or a rectangle. In the shape of two pennants with a Moon & Sun that represent the two religions of Hinduism and Buddhism, as well as the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world. Crimson red for the Rhododendron, the national flower of Nepal and blue border is the color of peace.
Highest Peak & Deepest gorge in the world: Nepal’s topography ranges from the highest peak to the deepest gorge in the world! Mount Everest or Sagarmatha, towers up touching the stratosphere at 8848 m while Kali Gandaki covers a vertical distance of 5.5 kilometers! The deepest gorge in the world Kali Gandaki created by Gandaki River that splits the Himalayas into Western and Eastern sections and separates Dhaulagiri (26,795-foot) the seventh highest peak in the world from 26,545-foot Annapurna, the 10th highest.
Machapuchare, a virgin peak: Machapuchare in the Annapurna range of the Himalayas is a virgin peak due to its religious significance. Considered the abode of God Shiva, Machapuchare, shaped like a fish’s tail with twin peaks, is sacred to Hindu’s and Buddhists and remains forbidden to climb. Mardi Himal trek, to the base of Mardi Himal in Annapurna region near Pokhara, is a great short trek with breathtaking views of Machapuchare, Annapurna south & Hiunchuli peaks up close from a height of 4500 meters.
More than 6000 rivers flow through Nepal: With more than 6000 rivers flowing through its land Nepal has great potential for hydropower. With a cumulative length of 45,000 km, 70% of these rivers including rivulets and streams originate in Nepal and are capable of generating more than 40,000 MW of power! A number of rivers that originate in the Nepal Himalayas flow into the valleys and plains of India and ultimately to the Bay of Bengal. Also, 46% of the flow of the Ganges river is from the rivers that originate in Nepal.
Wildlife safari – in a hunting reserve: Hunting as a sport is still alive in Nepal at Dhorpatan, the only hunting reserve in Nepal where with a licensed guide you can hunt Blue sheep & Himalayan Tahr in the wild! Dhor means marshland and Patan which means flat meadows, Dhorpatan covers 1325 square kilometers of protected area in the Dhaulagiri Himal in western Nepal. More information about the reserve here and a brochure with more details.