Geography of Nepal

Geography map of nepal

Location: Nepal is located in the Himalaya Mountains of South Asia, with India to the east, south, and west and China to the north.

Size: Nepal’s total land area is 147,181 square kilometers.

Land Boundaries: Nepal’s northern boundary (1,236 kilometers inlength) is shared with China, and the other borders (1,690 kilometers) are shared with India.

Time Zone: Nepal is 5:45 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and does not observe daylight saving time. 

Disputed Territory: Nepal and China have no territorial disputes, but Nepal and India have several: possession of a 75-square-kilometer area called Kalapani, which is further complicated by its proximity to the Chinese border; the boundary of the Maha Kali River (Sarda River in India), with ramifications for development and distribution of hydropower and water resources; possession of 209 hectares of land after changes in the course of the Mechi River; and sovereignty over several areas comprising nearly 600 square kilometers along the border.

Length of Coastline: None. Nepal is landlocked.

 Topography: Mountains and rugged hills cover nearly 75 percent of Nepal’s land area. The landscape is composed of three main physiographic regions that run laterally across the country. In the south, the plains of the Tarai Region cover approximately 23 percent of Nepal’s total area and are both the main agricultural region and the most densely populated region. To the north, the Hill Region covers approximately 42 percent of the total area and consists of mountains, hills, flatlands, and valleys with elevations ranging from 600 to 3,000 meters. Farther north, the Himalayan Region covers nearly 35 percent of the total area and contains 200 peaks more than 6,000 meters in elevation and 13 peaks more than 8,000 meters high, including Sagarmatha (Mount Everest), the world’s highest mountain (8,850 meters). This area often experiences intense geological activity, with nearly 50 earthquakes from 1870 to 1996.

Principal Rivers: Nepal’s three major river systems are—from east to west—the Kosi (513 kilometers), Narayani (332 kilometers), and Karnali (507 kilometers). All are major tributaries of the Ganga in northern India.

Climate: Nepal lies within a subtropical monsoon climate zone. Climatic conditions and precipitation tend to vary with elevation, ranging from tropical in the Tarai plains to alpine and tundra in the northern mountain areas. Temperatures range from 5° C to 47° C in the Tarai Region, from 0° to 28° C in the Hill Region, and from below 0° C to 16° C in the Himalayas. Annual rainfall generally increases with elevation up to 3,000 meters, thereafter declining with elevation and latitude. Precipitation tends to be highest in the east and declines westward, but certain areas in central Nepal have consistently high rainfall. The majority of precipitation—nearly 80 percent—occurs during the annual monsoon. The pre-monsoon season from March to May is hot and dry, the monsoon season (generally June to September) is hot, and the post-monsoon season typically lasts through mid-October. Mid-October through March is typically dry and cold.

Natural Resources: Nepal’s natural resource base is widely regarded as insufficient for economic needs, and “scenic beauty” is seen as one of the most commercially important resources. Fuel resources are especially scarce. Although some methane gas has been discovered, petroleum reserves have not materialized. Renewable resources, particularly arable land, are perhaps the most economically important resources, but hydropower is underutilized. The most available metallic minerals are copper, gold, lead, and zinc, but only lead and zinc have been commercially viable. Nonmetallic minerals such as marble, talc, and particularly limestone have been commercially viable, and there are some deposits of dolomite and magnesite.

Land Use: Nepal’s mountainous terrain constrains land use options, and nearly one-third of the land area is unfit for agriculture or forestry. According to government figures for 2002, approximately 18 percent of the total land area was used for agriculture, of which 88.8 percent was categorized as arable land, 4.4 percent as land under permanent crops, and the remainder as pastures, woodlands, and other categories. Most agricultural land is in the Hill and Tarai regions. From 1962 to 2002, the total area of arable land increased (from 1.6 million to 2.5 million hectares) but declined as a proportion of land for agriculture (from 94.5 to 88.8 percent) because of the increase in land used for grazing and permanent crops, particularly fruit. Permanent crop cultivation also has reduced the proportion of land used for woodland and forest harvesting.

Environmental Factors: Nepal has numerous environmental problems. Sedimentation and discharge of industrial effluents are prominent sources of water pollution, and fuelwood burning is a significant source of indoor air pollution and respiratory problems. Vehicular and industrial emissions increasingly have contributed to air pollution in urban areas. Deforestation and land degradation appear to affect a far greater proportion of the population and have the worst consequences for economic growth and individuals’ livelihoods. Forest loss has contributed to floods, soil erosion, and stagnant agricultural output. Estimates suggest that from 1966 to 2000 forest cover declined from 45 to 29 percent of the total land area. Often cited causes of deforestation include population growth, high fuelwood consumption, infrastructure projects, and conversion of forests into grazing- and cropland. According to government estimates, 1.5 million tons of soil nutrients are lost annually, and by 2002 approximately 5 percent of agricultural holdings had been rendered uncultivable as a result of soil erosion and flooding. Land degradation is attributed to population growth, improper use of agro-chemicals, and overly intensive use of landholdings that are too small to provide most households with sufficient food. Since the late 1980s, government policies have attempted to address these numerous and related problems, but policies often are hampered by lack of funding, insufficient understanding of Nepal’s mountain ecosystems, bureaucratic inefficiency, and sometimes contentious relations between the central government and local communities.



"Nepal is land landlocked country lies between two big countries India and China."

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