NEPAL’S GEOGRAPHICAL DIVERSITY AND
DIVERSITY AND TOURISM
Shree Raj Joshi,
Patan Multiple Campus,
seminar paper is submitted to the
Nepal Geographical Society
Publishing in “The Himalayan Review”
(This Paper was presented on the
seminar of Nepal Geographers Union in Pokhara)
Nepal’s Geographical Diversity and
Geography Instruction Committee
Patan Multiple Campus
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.
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.
varieties create a lot of natural and cultural features, which helps to attract
the tourists from all over the world.
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.
The general objective of
the paper is to explore the geography based surprising attractions for the
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,
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).
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.
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).
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).
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
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
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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