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History & Politics of Nepal
Nepal officially the Kingdom of Nepal, is a landlocked Himalayan country in South Asia, bordered by China (Tibet) to the north and by India to the south, east and west. More than 80% of Nepalese follow Hinduism, which is higher than the percentage of Indian Hindus, making it the single most Hinduic nation in the world. Nepal is also the worlds only Hindu Kingdom. For a small territory, the Nepali landscape is uncommonly diverse, ranging from the humid Terai in the south to the lofty Himalayas in the north. Nepal boasts eight of the world's fourteen highest mountains, including Mount Everest on the border with China. Kathmandu is the capital and largest city. The other main cities include Bharatpur, Biratnagar, Bhairahawa, Birgunj, Janakpur, Pokhara, Nepalgunj, and Mahendranagar. The origin of the name Nepal is uncertain, but the most popular understanding is that it derived from Ne (holy) and pal (cave).
After a long and rich history, during which the region splintered and coalesced under a variety of absolute rulers, Nepal became a constitutional monarchy in 1990. However, the monarchy retained many important and ill-defined powers. This arrangement was marked by increasing instability, both in the parliament and, since 1996, in large swathes of the country that have been fought over by Maoist insurgents. The Maoists, alienated from mainstream political parties, went underground and started a guerilla war against both monarchy and mainstream political parties. They have sought to overthrow feudal institutions, including the monarchy, and establish a republic. This has led to the ongoing Nepalese Civil War in which more than 13,000 people have died. On the pretext of quashing the insurgents, who now control about 60% of the country, the king closed down the parliament and sacked the elected prime minister in 2002 and started ruling through prime ministers appointed by him. He then unilaterally declared a "state of emergency" early in 2005, and assumed all executive powers. Following the Loktantra Andolan, the king agreed to relinquish the sovereign power back to the people and reinstated the dissolved House of Representatives on April 24, 2006. Using its newly acquired sovereign authority, on May 19, 2006, the newly resumed House of Representatives unanimously passed a motion to curtail the power of the king and declared Nepal a secular state. As of September, 2006, a complete rewrite of the country's constitution was still expected to happen in the near future.
Historical & Tourist Attractions in Nepal
Nepal is known as the abode of the gods. For many years a secret, unknown country, it was, in the 1950s, faced with making a leap from the 11th century to modern times. Visited first by mountaineers and trekkers, it later became the haunt of hippies. In 1989, restrictions barring several areas to tourists were lifted.
Just 5km west of the kathmandu city, below the Nagarjun Forest, are the Balaju Water Gardens, with a reclining statue of Lord Vishnu and a 22-headed sea-dragon fountain. Around 19km (12 miles) south of Kathmandu, and accessible by taxi, are the Godavari Royal Botanical Gardens housing trees, shrubs and beautiful orchids in an idyllic setting.
There are shrines for every purpose in the valley, such as the Shrine of Ganesh the Elephant God, reputed to bring good luck. There are four Ganesh temples in the valley, each a masterpiece of Nepalese architecture – one in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, one in Chabahil, one in Chobar and one near Bhaktapur. Lumbini, being the birthplace of Lord Buddha, is one of the world’s most important pilgrimage sites.