"The roof of the world" sounds trite, and understates this place I've always dream of visiting for two reasons. The first is the mountains. Nepal is home to the world's highest point, Mt.Everest, (Sagarmatha (सगरमाथा) in Nepali, "Forehead of the Sky"), at 29,029 feet, on the northern border with Tibet/China...and the country is home to 240 Himalayan peaks topping 20,000 feet.
It's not all mountains however, with a fertile, humid lowlands in the south. The other reason I'd like to visit is the name of its capital, Kathmandu. That is just so beckoning of adventure and being far away. I've been fortunate to have one Nepalese student here at UCO.
The country is a little larger than Arkansas and a little smaller than Oklahoma. It stretches 487 miles from from east to west, and from 150 to 250 miles wide, landlocked between Tibet--now ruled by China--and India, with a population of about 27 million.
About 80 percent of the population are Hindus, and, although Gautama Buddha was born in the country, about nine percent Buddhist.
The country was a monarchy from 1768 until 2008, when a civil war ended and a federal multi-part republic was adopted. There is still turmoil between the communist party and others, and elections are scheduled for this November.
The flag is unique in the world, the only one not a square or rectangle. Based on a design almost 2,000 years old, red is the national color and that of the rhododendron. Blue symbolizes beach, and the triangles perhaps the mountains, the two symbols the permanence of the universe. (Some Material for this post came from Wikipedia.)
View a YouTube video of a flight over Everest below:
At the top are 400-million-year-old fossils--the bones and shells of creatures that died in ancient seas--Ordovician limestone. The Himalayas began forming about 65 million years ago when the Indo-Australian plate of the earth's crust moved north and under the Eurasian plate, pushing the rocks up.
The earth's crustal plates are still moving, India going north more than an inch a year, and the mountains rising up to 10 millimeters a year. That gives you an idea of how long this took, pushing mountains up more than five miles. We are small, and brief indeed.