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Text Box: NEPAL’S GEOGRAPHICAL DIVERSITY AND  TOURISM PROSPERITY

NEPAL’S GEOGRAPHICAL DIVERSITY AND

TOURISM PROSPERITY

 

 
Text Box: By:
Shree Raj Joshi,
Patan Multiple Campus,
Tribhuvan University,
Lalitpur, Nepal
Text Box: This seminar paper is submitted to the
 Nepal Geographical Society
For the Publishing in “The Hmalayan Review”
(This Paper was presented on the seminar of Nepal Geographers Union in Pokhara)
2004.
 

 

 


NEPAL’S GEOGRAPHICAL DIVERSITY AND  TOURISM PROSPERITY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By:

Shree Raj Joshi,

Patan Multiple Campus,

Tribhuvan University,

Lalitpur, Nepal

 

 

 

 

 

 

This seminar paper is submitted to the

Nepal Geographical Society

For the Publishing in “The Himalayan Review”

(This Paper was presented on the seminar of Nepal Geographers Union in Pokhara)

2004.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nepal’s Geographical Diversity and Tourism Prosperity

 

Shree Raj Joshi

Geography Instruction Committee

Patan Multiple Campus

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABSTRACT

 

 

 

 

 

Worldwide tourism has claimed as second biggest industry next to the oil. Because of lack ness of oil in Nepal, tourism is the very potential industry for the economic development. Nepal has wide range of geographical diversity within very short distance. The country has unique and pristine natural and cultural diversity. Numerous interesting natural and cultural sites attract tourists from all over the world. It’s immensely diverse topography and varied climate and vegetation creates a lot of attraction for the outsiders. This paper is based on field experiences in the line of empirical approach. The main attempt of this paper is to apply geographical phenomenon which are responsible for having natural and cultural diversity. Natural and cultural diverse paradises are only best resources to attract tourists from all over the world. The study is based on historical record, books, topo-sheet, and field observations.

 

 

 

 

Key words: Attraction, Surprise, Unique, Diversity, Prosperity, Digital terrain model, Altitude and Tourist industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction:

 

Nepal has 147,181 square kilometers in area. The east to west length is 885 kilometers and the north to south width is 193 kilometers approximately. Within 193 kilometers width, it has World’s greatest altitudinal difference. At the southern part of Nepal, The lowest altitude lies in the village of Kachanakalan (60 meters) and the highest altitude of the world lies at the north eastern part of Nepal, which is the peak of the Mount Everest (8850 meters). Therefore, it has 8790 meters altitudinal difference within 193 kilometers width. But, the 193 kilometers is only aerial distance. If, the length of folded mountains and valleys is calculated, the real distance may be more than 500 kilometers.

 

Nepal’s tographical varieties create a lot of natural and cultural features, which helps to attract the tourists from all over the world.

 

World wide tourism has claimed as the second biggest industry next to the oil. Nepal has almost no possibility to extract oil. So, tourism is the only very potential and possible industry for the development of national economy and to earn foreign exchange. Tourism is the only suitable industry which is very less dependent on other countries raw materials. Nepal has almost all the infrastructure for the tourism development.

 

Objective:

 

The general objective of the paper is to explore the geography based surprising attractions for the tourists.

 

The specific objective is to explore natural and cultural surprising attractions for the tourists along the tour of Kathmandu valley, Chitwan and Pokhara.

 

Discipline of Geography:

 

What geography and geography alone studies is the aerial character of the earth in which man lives – the form the content and the function of each aerial part, region, or place and the pattern of and interconnection between the aerial parts (Hartshorne, 1972).

 

Hartshorne described geography as “a science that interprets the realities of aerial differentiation of the world as they are found, not only in terms of the differences in certain things from place to place, but also in terms of the total combination of phenomena in each place different from those at every other place” (1972). So, geography is the study of aerial differences and aerial spatial differentiation and its natural and cultural products.

 

The culture of a man is the product of his physical environment and mental abilities of man and the increase of these two have given rise to the cultural advancement of a landscape. According to Karl Sauer, man’s deformation of the pristine is assumed as essential. In a real sense, cultural landscape is the result of dynamic and deformation of cultural abilities. In this way, culture in itself is the greatest influencing resource of a man (Das and Sinha, 1980, 26).

 

Natural resource is the combination of element available in nature. Keeping this in mind; any element, creature, oxygen, nitrogen, rocks, minerals, landscape, soil, water, vegetation, livestock etc. are regarded as resources due to their usefulness to man. The combination of a number of natural resources sometimes forms a composite resource as for example agricultural land, forest landscape, mining etc. The agricultural landscape is the integrated form of land, soil, temperature, rainfall etc. In this way, different elements and creatures of natural environment form resources both separately and in an integrated manner.

 

In human resources: man as the creator, producer and consumer of natural resources, a great resource as himself. Natural environment in itself is a dynamic element but without human use it has no importance. In this way, the activeness of man is necessary in order to produce benefit from the unseen resources of nature (Das and Sing, 1980, 30).

 

Until recently, geographers have had surprisingly little to say on this aspect except a peripheral discussion in their urban investigations. While tourist geography is well established as a branch of broader field of recreation geography nonetheless it did not go further than studying resort settlement or at best qualitative assessment of scenic resources of countries like Switzerland or Norway. In fact, it did not make much headway till the last decade or so when some of the serious minded American and Europian geographers gave their best thoughts to it. Christaller, and Wolfe are some of the pioneering names in this field.

 

Christaller wrote voluminously after micro-geographical examination of his own region. He not only produced primary date on tourist traffic but applied his central place theory in reverse, i. e., tourists gravitate to peripheral regions from the central place. “Christaller brought recreation into the mainstream of modern geography” (Wolfe, 1964).

 

To quote Murphy, ”Geographical research in outdoor recreation includes aspects of nearly every major division of systematic geography” (Murphy, 1963).

 

Gerhard stated that a variation of about 1000 meters in elevation, changes the landscape as much as 1000 kilometers in latitude (Gerhard, 1984). This variation is found in Nepal within few kilometers distances.

 

Nepalese geographers had highlighted the discipline of Geography as: Highlighting inequalities by ecological regions has been common theme in geographic research in Nepal (Burathoki 1968, Gurung 1980), the regional disparities are realities of the country (NPC 1970) and in many cases intra-regional inequalities are far greater than inter-regional inequalities (Subedi 1999).Therefore, the discipline of Nepalese geography is to explore intra-regional inequalities of natural and cultural features which are available within very short distance due to topographical differences.

 

Nepal’s development possibility is dependent on tourism industry. Tourism plays vital role for the integral development of the nation. As Nepal became 148th member of the World Trade Organization in September 2003, the tourism seems the most potential industry to compute in the World market.

 

Nepalese Geography:

 

Nepal covers the area of 147,181 square kilometers. Its east to west length is 885 kilometers and north to south width is 193 kilometers approximately. Nepal can be divided among six different major physical divisions. The sub-tropical zone lies below 1000 meters, the temperate zone lies between 1000 to 2000 meters, the sub-temperate zone lies between 2000 to 3000 meters, the sub-alpine zone lies between 3000 to 4000 meters, the alpine zone lies between 4000 to 5000 meters, and above the 5000 meters altitude is the arctic zone. According to physical disparity, it impacts on climate vegetation, occupation, soil, drainage, and so on. Physical disparity also impacts on population, settlement, occupation, culture, food and so on. In Nepal, within short distance, a lot of physical and cultural diversified unique attractive results are found. Within one physical region, it-self has a lot of sub-regions. Therefore, physical feature of Nepal plays an important role to formulate diversified natural and cultural beauties.

                       

Nepal’s Geography and Tourist Attraction:

 

World’s population concentration between 0 meters to 200 meters altitude is 56%. The total land area occupied by this population is 27.8%. The density is also about twice the world average at this lowest level land surface. Over 80 percent world’s population concentrate under 500 meters altitude which is 57.3 percent of the land area (Staszewski, 1957). It shows that Nepal is unique country for the people who live at the altitude of less than 500 meters.

 

As sub-tropical region, National Park Chitwan is special forest park for the urban dwellers of the world. As Kathmandu valley has seven cultural world heritage sites, it attracts a lot of tourists to smell and see Nepalese culture and architecture. Pokhara valley is attractive place for the nature lovers. From Pokhara, tourists can see magnificent panoramic profile of the nature. Therefore, Nepal can become a tourist destination for the billions of world population, who live at the altitude of less than 500 meters.

 

Some physical geographical facts about Nepal:

 

Tourist’s main motto to visit Nepal is to see the Mount Everest, because after the conquest of Mount Everest by Tenzing Sherpa and Edmond Hillary in the year 1953, Nepal brought in the picture of the world. Tourists when they arrive to Kathmandu city, they are curious to see the Mount Everest. But, when they get information that Mount Everest is not visible from Kathmandu city, it makes little annoy for them. Mount Everest is approximately 500 kilometers far from Kathmandu and it lies at the border between Nepal and China. In front of the Everest, there are many little mountains. So, to see Mount Everest, only easy way is to do tour in airplane. Within the airplane tour of one hour, tourists can see Mount Everest, if weather helps. Normally, in monsoon (rainy) season, to see Mount Everest is almost impossible. It is due to Nepal’s special topography.

 

Kathmandu valley was a big lake. In Kathmandu city, there is no snow fall. But, tourists from foreign countries, they think that in winter season Kathmandu city will be full of snow. Tourists think Nepal is snowy country. Normally, they do not think, Kathmandu lies at the altitude of 1300 meters. Nepal’s permanent snowy belt is only above the 5000 meters altitude is big surprise information for the tourists. In Kathmandu, when tourists find 30 Celsius maximum temperature at day time and 15 Celsius temperature at night time in summer season, it makes them very happy. In winter season, to have 15 Celsius temperature at day time is special surprise for the tourists.  The river Bagmati of Kathmandu is without snow water makes surprise for the tourists because river Bagmati is coming down from the Baghdwar which lies at the altitude of 2500 meters approximately. But, after the 50 kilometers westward tour from the Kathmandu city, they find river Trishuli which has 30 meters depth and it is also famous for rafting. From Kathmandu to Pokhara, the Prithivi highway is 200 kilometers distance. But, tourist do not think, it takes seven hours driving in the bus because in western cities, it takes one hour to drive 200 kilometers. In Nepal, it takes 3 minutes to drive one kilometer. Roads are only up to the altitude of 2000 meters. Above 2000 meters, road construction is very difficult due to soft soil and up and down topography. In rainy season, traveling outside the Kathmandu valley is little bit difficult. Sometimes, monsoon rain may block the highway. So, tourists need some extra spare days for traveling outside the kathmandu valley. In monsoon season and cold winter season, the domestic airplane may not be possible to fly due to poor visibility. Domestic flights can be delay or conceal due to local weather or poor visibility. The gorge of river Seti in Pokhara city is very deep. River Madi Bridge near to Pokhara was damaged by the spring season (April/May) wind. Pokhara is very windy in spring season. So, to protect Zinc roof from spring wind, people put a lot of stones on the roof. Stones on the roof make surprise for the tourists. From Pokhara city, tourists can see very deep gorge. From Pokhara, tourists can see beautiful Fishtail Mountain from the lake Fewa and other places.

 

Drive to Chitwan (165 kilometers) takes six hours. In Chitwan, tourists can see very tall Sal trees. Although, malaria is eradicated, tourists have much more fear from mosquitoes. They take anti-malaria vaccine. Tourists do not believe that so hot in Chitwan because Nepal lies in Himalayan kingdom. Therefore, seeing one horn rhinoceros, tigers and other wild animals make very happy for the tourists. Therefore, Nepal exist a lot of surprising physical geographical attractions for the tourists.

 

 

 

Some human geographical facts about Nepal:

 

After the drain of Kathmandu valley’s lake water, people from India and China came to stay in the Kathmandu valley. Mostly, from India invaded people are Hindus and from China (Tibet) invaded people are Buddhist. So, Kathmandu valley became the melting pot of Hindus and Buddhist from the beginning of the history. It was happened due to central location of the Kathmandu valley. It was also the center of trade in the medieval period. Lacustrine soil of Kathmandu is very fertile. Before the starting of agriculture, the valley might be very good for sheep farming in ancient period. So, the woolen goods were famous product from Nepal. Due to central location between India and Tibet in medieval period, the Malla dynasty kings were very rich due to taxation. So, Malla kings were capable to built-up many beautiful Hindu and Buddhist temples. Malla kings were capable to construct like Kasthmandap (single tree) temple and Krishna (single stone) temple. In medieval period, there was snow fall in the Kathmandu valley. So, they built up pagoda style temples.  Due to coldness in the medieval period, people built up buildings with conical roof and rooms with little window and small size. Therefore, in the Kathmandu valley, there exists seven world’s heritage listed sites.

 

Culture of the people is outcome of the impact of the physical geography. As Kathmandu valley as suitable central point for Hindus and Buddhists, both groups wanted to develop their own population. So, the intra-religion marriage system might have developed. Hindus came from India. To come to Nepal from India, it was easy due to plain topography at the southern side of Nepal. So, Nepal has more Indian cultural influence. Due to influence of Indian culture and availability of wood, the dead body cremating culture might have started.

 

Agriculture is integrated with animal husbandry. When there was less population in Nepal, the animal population might have grown up very fastly. The animal population might be huge. So, the animal scarifying culture might be started in Nepal. This animal sacrifice culture is very unique culture of Nepal. Because, according to Indian and Tibetan cultures, animal sacrifice is not their major culture. Seeing the animal sacrifice at the temples for the tourists is extra ordinary excitement because in the life of the tourists mostly it might be their first experience.

 

Due to diversity of climate, different ethnic groups wear different types of dresses and color because ethnically different ethnic groups live in different climate or altitude. For example, the Tharu people of sub-tropical climate, they wear very thin clothes. Kathmandu valley’s Newar people and other people wear moderate clothes. The Himalayan Sherpa people wear very thick woolen clothes due to very cold climate in the Himalaya. Therefore, the dresses of different ethnic groups attract for the tourists.

 

Economic activities of the people are more influenced by topography and climate. In Nepal, more than 80% people live in villages and their activities depend on agriculture. The main export of Nepal is agricultural products and natural products. The village dwellers lifestyle is also very attractive for the tourists because most of the tourists are from city areas. The village dweller’s peaceful and relax-able life is also very attractive for the tourists.

 

Due to different climate and different topography, the agricultural activities of Nepalese people are also different. The Himalayan Sherpa people, they grow potatoes and they have a lot of seeps and yaks. Sub-temperate zone living people, like Tamang, Magar and Gurung, they grow more maize and millet. Kathmandu valley Newar people grow rice and wheat and also a lot of green vegetables and beans. Sub-tropical people grow two crops rice and one crop wheat because of hot climate in sub-tropical area; they are capable to grow more than one crop of rice. Nepalese people main food is also different according to their local production. Sherpa people eat potatoes as main food. Tamang and Magar people eat maize as main food. The middle mountain valley people eat more rice. The sub-tropical people eat rice and bread as main food. When tourists ask about main food of Nepalese people, it becomes telling little bit difficult.

 

The geographically effected economy, culture, history, religion and other factors creates a lot of surprising attractions for the tourists in Nepal. Therefore, according to the variation of geographical regions; tourists can find a lot of diversity of flora and fauna in Nepal. Chitwan National Park is attractive to see tigers, rhinoceros, crocodiles, birds and many more. For most of the tourists, seeing wild animals are beyond their imagination. The temples and palaces of the kathmandu valley are architectural main attractions. Tourists can not find such type of architecture in any part of the world. Temples and palaces architectures are unique geographical product of Nepal. Mountain areas rugged and green landscape is also very attractive. Trekking around the near mountains from city areas is also very attractive for the tourists. For adventurous tourists, the trekking in the Himalayan region is very special. In their trek, they can find the culture of Himalayan people. They can see animals like yak and sheep. They can see very pleasant mountain topography and Himalayan view. Even, they can see red panda and other wild animals. The trek of Himalayan region is unique tour available in Nepal. Therefore, Nepal’s geographical diversity creates a lot of natural and cultural attractive features for the people of the world. So, Nepal can develop as destination of the world tourists.

 

 

Proposed tourism model to develop Nepal as World Tourists destination:

 

Nepal is a geographically diversified country. Geographical diversity creates a lot of natural and cultural attractions for the tourists. Those attractions need to explore by the geographers. Geography as a applied science, geographers can explore the geographical differences between Nepal and other countries with in short time, using Atlas map, maps and information of  Internet explorer, encyclopedia and so on. Geographers can explore a lot of surprising and attractive natural and cultural facts for the development of tourism industry in Nepal. Because, geographers have a very good capacity to read maps and also they have knowledge of different countries natural and cultural differentiation. Therefore, for the development of Nepalese tourism in new dimension, the proposed tourists attracting aspects developing model is as following:

Suggestions of further research:

 

Tourists have principle as “Seeing is Believing”. Book and other media does not provide real smelling. Therefore tourists travel to have real natural and cultural odor.

 

In the context of Nepalese tourism industry, the information about visiting places is rare or less. Foreigners do not even know the country name Nepal. Therefore, it needs a lot of advertisement. Geographically, it needs to explore a lot of natural and cultural sites. To explore new sites, it needs to think in global context. Those explored sites must be informed in three dimensional maps. Nowadays, with the help of computer added technology, it is possible show maps in three dimensions using digital terrain model.

 

For the exploration of new cultural and natural sites, the joint seminar should be conducted among travel/tour related personnel. The research should be continued under the supervision of geographers.

 

 

Conclusion:

 

Geographically, Nepal is a unique and attractive country of the world. Its natural and cultural features are very helpful resources to attract tourists in Nepal. Then, Nepal can develop tourism industry. Tourism industry is less polluting and lucrative industry. Therefore, Nepalese geographers must play vital role to develop tourism industry.

 

Bibliography:

 

1. Burathoki, J. B. S. 1968, Nepal Himalaya, the Himalayan Review, Nepal Geographical Society, Kathmandu, Vol. 1.

2.  Das, K. N. and Sinha, U. P. 1980,  Concepts of Resources, In Recent Trends and Concept in Geography, Concept Publishing Company, New Delhi.

3. Gurung, H. 1982, the Himalaya: Perspective of Change, New Era, Kathmandu.

4. Hartshorne, R. 1939, the nature of Geography, Association of American Geographers, Pennsylvania.

5. Murphy, R. E. 1963, Geography and Outdoor Recreation: An opportunity and    an obligation, The Professional Geography, Vol. XV, Part 5.

6. National Planning Commission, 1970. The Fourth Plan, NPC, Kathmandu.

7. Staszewski, J. 1957, Vertical Distribution of World population, Polish Academy of Sciences, Geograpgy studies. 14.

8. Subedi, B. P. 1999, Which Inequalities are Greater in Nepal?, Regional of Socio-Economic? : Lessons from National Sample Census of Agriculture 1991/92, the Himalayan Review, Nepal Geographical Society, Kathmandu, Vol. 30.

9. Wolfe, R. I. 1964, Perspective on outdoor Recreation, Geographical Review, A.G.S. New York, Vol. LIV, No.2.

 

 

 

 

                        For Contact:

                       

                        Shree Raj Joshi

                       

                        Telephone No.: 977-1-5532781.

 

                        Mobile No.: 98510-53334.

 

                        E-mail: supsraj@wlink.com.np.

 


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