Nepal, a small, rural country in South Asia, is landlocked by China to the north and India to the south, west and east. It is divided into three geographical areas: the Himalayan Mountain range, the mid region and the Terai Plains.
Most famous for the mountain range, Nepal is host to Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world at just over 29,000 feet. Below the snowline, hardy forests and pastures flourish in the cold, dry climate of the mountainous region. The temperate climate and hilly topography of the country's midlands attract a majority of the population. With most of Nepal's industry being agricultural, many Nepalese live in this rural region to cultivate rice fields and other crops.
To the south are the Terai Plains, a tropical lowland with high summer temperatures and warm winters. From the months of June through September, the lowlands are soaked with monsoonal rains. The tropical forests house many exotic species of wildlife.
Nepal features more than 6,000 rivers, many of which are fed from the Himalayan snows or the lowland rains. There are also dozens of caves, some serving as religious pilgrimage sites.Learn more about South Asia
Despite being such a small country, Nepal is extensively diverse in terms of topography. Mountains and rugged hills cover almost 75% of Nepal's land area, and beyond the perpetual snow lined mountains exists the tropical region of Tarai.
The Tarai Region (in the south) along the border with India, is a low stretch of land, containing Nepal's lowest point: Kanchan Kalan at 229 ft. (70 m). This area is Nepal's most significant agricultural region.
In addition to Tarai, Nepal is home to two more distinct horizontal regions:
The Hill Region (central) consists of mountains, hills, flatlands and deep valleys, with elevations ranging from 1,968 to 9,842 ft. (600 to 3,000 m).
The Himalayan Region (north) contains 202 mountains rising to more than 19,685 ft. (6,000 m) and 13 mountains rising to more than 26,246 ft. (8,000 m) high, including, of course, Mt. Everest, the world's highest mountain at 29,035 ft. (8,850 m), and the enormous Annapurna massif.
Also within the Himalayan region is the Kali Gandaki Gorge, which by some measures is considered the deepest gorge in the world, and (over the past several centuries) has been utilized as a trade route between India and Tibet.
The snow-covered mountains of Nepal are replete with cold water rivers; the four major ones (from west to east) are the Kail, Karnali, Narayani and Kosi.