India and Nepal are mountainous neighbours in the Indian Subcontinent. Nepal lies land-locked, to the north of India and south of China. India is famous of diversity in it’s terrain as well as culture. From Himalayan Peaks to the north, Thar Desert in the west, the unexplored seven-sisters in the north-east to the fertile coastline. Rich in fauna and flora, India is home to more than two-third of the world’s tiger population.
Nepal, known for it’s high himalayan peaks and Mount Everest, has a cultural diversity, pilgrimage centres, and an exquisite cuisine. There is much more to the country than just it’s mountainous terrain. Nepal and India have several similarities but are also different and diverse in various aspects.
The Himalayas are a common ground to both these nations. While India has a higher area of the range within it’s territorial borders, Nepal is home to the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest (8848m above mean sea level).
Nepal’s inhabitant and a Sherpa by birth, Tenzing Norgay was the first person to climb Mount Everest, with New Zealand Mountaineer Edmund Hillary in 1953.
Mount K2 and Kanchenjunga, the 2nd and 3rd highest peaks in the world, are located in India. Mountaineering activities and expeditions are a common site in the high peaks. The Everest base camp in Nepal is visited by many enthusiasts, and the ascent begins during March.
The Himalayas are of geographic, as well as religious importance to both these nations. Innumerable pilgrimage sites, temples, monasteries and places of worship are located deep in the heart of the mountains. Himalayas seem charged with “spiritual energy”. Their hidden valleys and caverns have served truth-seekers for ages and ages.
India has over 20 metropolitan cities out of which Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore are among the top, in terms of population and economy.
Mumbai, known as the ‘City of Dreams’ and the ‘City that never sleeps’ is a port city on the western coastline. Home to Hindi Movie Industry, or Bollywood, Mumbai is the wealthiest city in India. Gateway of India, Bandra-Worli Sea Link, Marine Drive and Haji Ali are a few of the most visited places in Mumbai, or initially named Bombay.
New Delhi is the capital of India. Mughal architecture and centuries of royal lineage are reflected in every corner of the city. The Red Fort, Qutb Minar, India Gate, Connaught Place and Jama Masjid are popular tourist destinations.
Nepal, which is comparatively much smaller in terms of area than India, has fewer metropolitan cities. Kathmandu and Pokhara are the major metropolitan hubs.
Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal. A diverse, multi-lingual, multi- ethnic city with a deep religious and cultural influence, Katmandu is the most visited Nepalese City. The Kathmandu Valley and Pashupatinath Temple are UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu
The Indian subcontinent is a hub of fauna, with millions of species of wildlife co-existing and also home to many endangered species.
The Royal Bengal Tiger, whose numbers were declining globally, is the national animal of India. Cow, which is considered holy and sacred in the Hindu culture, is the national animal of Nepal.
The one-horned rhinoceros which is endangered is found only in Nepal. The Spiny Babbler, is a bird species found only in nepal. India is home to the largest tiger population in the world.
Both India and Nepal have developed and maintained numerous wildlife sanctuaries and national parks to preserve their wildlife. The Chitwan National Park in Nepal and the Jim Corbett National Park in India are among the most visited national parks.
Indian cuisine comprises a wide variety of regional and traditional cuisines. These cuisines vary substantially from each other and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables, and fruits. Cuisine in north India is highly influenced by middle-eastern and central asian cuisines due to the long rule of the Mughal dynasty.
Throughout India, rice is a staple food due to it’s easy cultivation and harvest throughout India. Cuisine in India is subjective from state to state where each state has it’s own traditional food preparation.
Nepalese cuisine comprises a variety of cuisines based upon ethnicity, soil and climate relating to Nepal’s cultural diversity and geography.
Dal-bhat-tarkari is a staple Nepalese food. Much of the cuisine is variation on Asian themes. Other foods have hybrid Tibetan, Indian and Thai origins. Momo — Tibetan style dumplings with Nepalese spices — are one of the most popular foods in Nepal. They were originally filled with buffalo meat but now also with goat or chicken, as well as vegetarian preparations. Special foods such as sel roti and patre are eaten during festivals.
Lands of remarkable diversity — from ancient traditions and artistic heritage to magnificent landscapes and culinary creations — India and Nepal ignite one’s curiosity and satisfies the thirst of a traveller.
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Rudra Shirodkar/ Travart blogs
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