Nepal is a landlocked country in Southern Asia, between the Tibet autonomous region of China and India. It contains eight of the world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest- the world's tallest- on the border with Tibet, and Lumbini, the birth place of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Nepal can be divided into five regions: Himalayas, Kathmandu Valley, Middle Hills, Western Tarai and Eastern Tarai. The Himalayas are known as the roof of the world. They include Mount Everest, Annpurna, Langtan National Park and The Great Himalaya Trail with numerous sightseeing, trekking and other adventure sport opportunities. The Kathmandu Valley is home to Khatmandu, Boudhanath, Patan and Bhaktapur. It is in the heart of Nepal and a crossroads of cultures, including many sacred temples and monuments. The Middle Hill region (known as Pahar) is mostly between 700 and 4,000 meters in altitude. It is split from the Terai Range by the Mahbharat Lekh (Lesser Himalaya) and forms geographic midlands between the Terai and the Himalayas. It includes the scenic Pokhara Valley, a popular base camp for day trips. The western side of the Terai mountain range is home to Chitwan National Park and Bardia National Park. The eastern side of Terai is a populated region which encompasses Biratnagar, Nepal’s second largest municipality.
Climatic conditions within Nepal vary from one place to another in accordance with the geographical features. In the north, summers are cool and winters severe, while in the south summers are sub-tropical and winters mild. The monsoon that brings rain from June through September affects most of the country except those that lie in the rain-shadow areas. Large tracts of forested land have been preserved as national parks and wildlife reserves where endangered species like the royal Bengal tiger and the one-horned rhinoceros roam freely along with an amazing variety of mammals and reptiles that include bears, leopards, hyenas, wild boar, wild elephants, lizards, crocodiles, pythons, turtles and various species of insects and birds. Nepal is home to almost 10 percent of the world's bird species among which 500 species are found in the Kathmandu valley alone.
The most abundant natural resource in Nepal is water. Much of the rivers have been harnessed for hydro-power but they also play a crucial role in tourism as most of them are suitable for adventure sports like kayaking and rafting. The Himalayas are not merely a source of revenue through mountaineering and trekking, they are also mined for quartz, lignite, copper, cobalt and iron ore. Locked between the snow peaks of the Himalayas and the seething Ganges plain, Nepal has long been home to wandering ascetics and tantric yogis. Consequently, the country has a wealth of sacred sites and natural wonders.