Explore Nepal Print


Official Name: State of Nepal

Area: 147,181 Sq Km (56,827 Sq Mi)

Altitude: From 70 Mts. in the flat parts of the Terai (shared boarder with India) to 8848 Mts. Mount Everest

Natural resources: quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore

Land use: arable land: 17% / permanent crops: 0% / permanent pastures: 15% / forests and woodland: 42% / other: 26%

Irrigated land: 11,700 sq. km.(2003 est)

Natural hazards: severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons

Environment current issues: the almost total dependence on wood for fuel and cutting down trees to expand agricultural land without replanting has resulted in widespread deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution (use of contaminated water presents human health risks)

Estimated Population: 28,901,790 (July 2007 est) Time: Nepal time is 05 hrs. and 45 minutes ahead of GMT and 15 minutes ahead of IST (Indian Standard Time).

Calendar: Nepal has its own solar calendar (Bikram Sambat) counting the year 2057 (2000 according to western calendar). The new year starts middle of April. Dates for religious holidays and festivals are based on the phases of the moon.

People: The population is divided into two broad ethnic groups. (1.) The Indo-Nepalese which include the Pahari, Newar, Tharu and the Indians of the Tarai, all of which account for nearly 80% of the population. (2.) Tibeto-Nepalese who account for the remainder and include the more numerous Tamang, Rai, Limbu, Bhote, Sunwar, Magar and Gurung tribes. The Tibeto-Nepalese are related racially and culturally to the Tibetans.

humla_girlsIn Nepal, ethnic cultural groups are diverse and many of them have their own languages and customs. However, they can be geographically categorized according to their habitats. The Sherpas who are of Tibeto-Burman stock mainly occupy the higher hills of eastern and central Nepal. The Solu Khumbu region, where the world's tallest peak Mt. Everest stands, is inhabited by Sherpas. Generally they are Buddhist but some follow the Bon, the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet, and other religions. The Sherpas are famed for their valor and mountaineering skills and are professionally involved in many mountain expeditions. Today, Sherpas have joined other occupations as well, like business, administration and politics.

A wide variety of ethnic groups occupy the mid-hills. The Kirats or Limbus and Rais inhabit bur are ancestor worshipers. However, today, many embrace Hinduism. In the former days, they were warriors and skilled hunters. The Kirats speak Tibeto-Burman languages. Many serve in the British army today and have earned a reputation as the brave Gurkhas.

The population of the Kathmandu Valley consists mostly of Newars. They speak Nepali and practice Hinduism and Buddhism. Many families celebrate both Hindu and Buddhist festivals. Their culture also reflects tantrism and animism. Newars are accomplished in commerce and most enterprises in the heart of the Valley are run by them. Historically, they are well known for establishing the three artistically beautiful cities of Patan, Bhaktapur and Kathmandu.

The inhabitants of the hill flanks surrounding Kathmandu Valley are mostly Tamangs, who make up one of the largest Tibeto-Burman ethnic groups in the Kingdom. In the Tibetan language, Tamang means "horse soldier" Which gives us an idea about their past occupation. Today, they farm and work as semiskilled and unskilled labors. Tamangs practice Tibetan Lamaism or the Bon religion and speak their own language.



The Magars live in the western and central hills of Nepal. They had their own kingdoms until the 18th century and were closely associated with the Hindu Indo-Aryans in the west. Much of their cultural practices have been influenced by Chhetris, and today it is difficult to make any difference in the housing, dressing and farming practices of the two. The Magars have been sought after by the British and Indian armies and a great number serve in the Gurkha regiments.
Another ethnic group closely resembling the Magars in many aspects are the Gurungs. They also live in the western and central hills of the country although further to the east. Of Tibeto-Burman stock, the Gurungs have their own distinct language and practice shamanism. Many find employment in the British and Indian armies.
The Khas are the Bahuns and Chhetris who formed their own kingdoms in the far-west. They are Hindus, and Nepali, which is the country's official language, was originally spoken by the Khas. Traditionally, the Bahuns were priests and are better educated than most ethnic groups. In fact, many occupy important government and educational posts in the kingdom today. The Chhetris have traditionally been known as warriors. Those living in the higher kills in the far western region lead hard lives because of lack of rain and farming is practiced in the river valleys and on the hill flanks.

The Tharus are one of the original ethnic groups to inhabit the Terai. The Majhi, Danuwar, Rajbansi, Darai, Satar, and Dhimal also occupy the flat lands. The Tharus have their own unique religion and practice animism. Their culture is especially suited for the hot plains and they are actually immune to malaria. They have Mongoloid features and speak their own language. There is much migration going on in the country now and the cultural definition of the people by area is difficult. Urban population is increasing by 7% each year and most cultures have intermingled.

Demographic / Vital Statistics: Density; 131.7 persons per sq km (341.0 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 9.6% urban, 90.4% rural (1990). Sex Distribution; 51.7% male, 48.3% female (1990). Life Expectancy at Birth; All over Nepal 55.4 years male, 52.6 years female (1990). 46 years male, 42 years female. Age Breakdown; 0-14 years: 41% / 15-64 years: 55% / 65 years and over: 4% (1999 est.) Birth Rate; 38.0 per 1,000 (1993). Death Rate; 13.0 per 1,000 (1993). Population growth rate: 2.51% (1999 est.). Infant Mortality Rate; 90 per 1,000 live births (1999 est.). Total fertility rate: 4.78 children born/woman (1999 est.).

Location & Geography: Nepal is located among the southern slopes of the Himalayan Mountains in South Central Asia. It is bound by China to the north and India to the east, west and south. The country is divided into three main topographical regions. (1.) The high mountains of the main Himalayan Range, which include Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse and Mt. Makalu. (2.) Kathmandu Valley which is a circular basin enclosed by tertiary ranges known as the Siwalik Hills. (3.) The Tarai, which is a narrow flat belt of alluvial land that extends along the southern border with India. The principal rivers are the Kosi, Narayani or Gandak and Karnali Gogra. Major Cities (pop. est.); Kathmandu 419,100, Biratnagar 130,100, Lalitpur 117,200, Pokhara 95,300, Bhaktapur 68,800 (1991). Land Use; forested 39%, pastures 15%, agricultural-cultivated 17%, other 29% (1992).

Languages: Official language: Nepali, the first language of 55% of the population and widely spoken by the remainder. There are 71 languages spoken in the country of Nepal.

Religion: Hindu 89%, Buddhist 7%, Muslim 3 %, Christian 0.6 %, other 0.4 %. Nepal has been the only Hindu kingdom in the world until May 18 2006. On May 19, 2006, Nepal becomes a secular state. Hindu Temples and Buddhist Shrines are scattered all over the mountains and valleys that make up the geographical shape of the state. Nepalese are generally religious, family oriented, and modest. Misfortune and fortune are widely accepted as the will of fate or karma (the force generated by one’s actions that determines one’s next incarnation). Time is thought of more as a series of events or tied to seasons than as a matter of minutes and hours. The majority of the people believe to some extent that bhoot (ghost), pret (evil spirit), boksi (witches), and graha dasha ( a bad position of the planets) can cause disease in people and livestock, crop failures, or accidents. Incense, flowers, and food are offered to pacify the spirits and planets. A rooster or male goat may also be sacrificed. Caste consciousness pervades this predominantly hindu society and deeply affects the way people behave towards each other. Historically, hinduism organized society into four social castes: Brahman (priests), Kshatriya (nobles and warriors), Vaisya (traders and farmers), and Sudra (servants), but these groups subdivided into thousands of castes and subcastes. In Humla people follow mainly two religious beliefs. Shamanism (a mixture of Hinduism, Animism and witch craft), and Tibetan Buddhism (immigrants from Mugu and Tibet). In each village "Dhamis" and "Jhankris" (witch doctors) are consulted as local healers and sorcerers. Nepal is the birth place of Buddha (Lumbini), the founder of Buddhism. There is a complex blending of Hinduism and Buddhism in Nepal.

System of the Government:

Government type: Parliamentary Democracy
Capital: Kathmandu
Administrative Divisions: 14 zones (Anchal, singular and plural); Bagmati, Bheri, Dhawalagiri, Gandaki, Janakpur, Karnali, Kosi, Lumbini, Mahakali, Mechi, Narayani, Rapti, Sagarmatha, Seti
Independence: always been a soverign independent country, 1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan Shah)



Constitution: 9 November 1990
Legal system: based on Hindu legal concepts, and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Flag and National Emblems:
The national flag of Nepal consists of two juxtaposed triangular figures with crimson coloured base and deep blue borders, there being a white emblem of crescent moon and a white emblem of sun in the lower part. Rhododendron Arboream is the national flower, Crimson is the national colour, Cow is the national animal and the Danphe (Lophophorus) is the national bird.

GDP: purchasing power parity$26.2 billion (1998 est.)
GDP real growth rate: 4.9% (1998 est.)
GDP per capita: purchasing power parity$1,100 (1998 est.)
GDP composition by sector:
Agriculture: 41%, Industry: 22%, Services: 37% (1997)
Population below poverty line: 42% (1995-96 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3.2%, highest 10%: 29.8% (1995-96)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7.8% (1998 est.)
Labor force: 10 million (1996 est.)
Labor force by occupation: agriculture 81%, Services 16%, Industry 3%
Unemployment rate: NA%; substantial underemployment (1996).
Budget: Revenues: $536 million / Expenditures: $818 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY96/97 est.)
Industries: tourism, carpet, textile; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarette; cement and brick production
Industrial production growth rate: 14.7% (FY94/95 est.)
Electricity production: 1.032 billion kWh (1996)
Electricity production by source:
Fossil fuel: 3.1%, hydro: 96.9% , other: 0% (1996)
Electricity consumption: 1.013 billion kWh (1996)
Electricity exports: 89 million kWh (1996)
Electricity imports: 70 million kWh (1996)
Electricity: 220V, 50 Hz
Agriculture products: rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat
Exports: $394 million (f.o.b., 1997), but does not include unrecorded border trade with India
Exports commodities: carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain
Export partners: India, US, Germany, UK
Imports: $1.7 billion (c.i.f., 1997)
Imports commodities: petroleum products 20%, fertilizer 11%, machinery 10%
Imports partners: India, Singapore, Japan, Germany
Debt external: $2.4 billion (1997)
Economic aid recipient: $411 million (FY97/98)
Currency: 1 Nepalese rupee (NR) = 100 paisa
Fiscal year: 16 July-15 July

Health risks: Altitude sickness, hepatitis A, malaria (low-lying areas only), meningococcal Meningitis (Kathmandu Valley region) and typhoid

Climate: Nepal has four major seasons - The winter (December - February), Spring (March - May), Summer (June - August), and Autumn (September - November).

Literacy: total population: 27.5%, though in urban areas it is very higher and in remote areas often as low as 10% and under. Male: 40.9% / Female: 14% (1995 est.)

Currency and Foreign Exchange: Nepali rupee notes come in Rupee1, RS.2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, & 1000 denominations. Coins come in 5, 10, 25P, RS.1, RS.5 denominations. 1 US$ equals 63 Nepali Rupee (NRs) (January 2008), 1 SFR (Swiss Franc) equals 57 NRs (January 2008). Fixed exchange rate between the Indian Rupee and the Nepali Rupee.1 Indian Rupee equals 1.6 NRs.

Entry Points: By Air: Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu. By Land: (1) Kakarbhitta (2) Birgunj (3) Belhiya (Bhairahawa) (4) Nepalgunj (5) Dhangadi (6) Jogbani (Biratnagar) and (7) Mahendra Nagar in Nepal-India border and Kodari in Nepal- China border.

Travel Route: Nepal Airlines the national flag carrier of Nepal and other International airlines operate scheduled flights to Kathmandu from Bangkok, Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Dubai, Dhaka, Paro, Varanasi, Frankfurt, Vienna, Paris, Hongkong, Karachi, London, Moscow, Singapore & Lhasa. The international Airlines operating their flights to Kathmandu include Aeroflot, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, China South West Airlines, Austrian Air, Indian Airlines, Lufthansa, Pakistan International Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai international and Qatar Airways.

International Transport: Nepal Airlines has an extensive network of air services in the interior of Nepal. This include Taplejung, Bhadrapur, Rajbiraj, Bhojpur, Phaplu, Lukla, Lamidanda Tumlingtar, Rumjatar, and Biratnagar in the east; Nepalgunj, Chaurjhari, Surkhet, Dang, Ropla and Humla, in the Mid-west, and Kolti, Mahendranagar, Dhangadi, Silgadi (Doti), Tikapur, Sanphebagar, Baitadi, and Darchula in the Far-Western Region. Besides Nepal Airlines, the other domestic airlines such as Nepal Airways, Everest Air, Asian Airlines Helicopter, Necon Air provide regular and charter services to different popular domestic destinations.

Major Tourist Attractions: Nepal offers a wide variety of adventure tourism packages. Of the 14 peaks above 8000 meters in the world eight are located in Nepal.

everestIt is the land of Sagarmatha (Mount Everest, 8848 meters), the highest peak in the World and other 1310 mountain peaks. There are spectacular mountain flights which fly around the Mount Everest and provide a close look of the top of the world. Also from Nagarkot (32 km East of Kathmandu) and Daman (80 km south-west of Kathmandu) one can have a distant view of Mount Everest and beautiful Himalayan ranges. Trekking is the best way to get to interesting and remote mountain villages of Nepal and to enjoy views of the famous peaks together with their lifestyle untouched with modern civilization. The River rafting, which is known as " White Water Adventure" represents another major attractions.Nepal offers plenty of Wildlife as there are eight National Parks and four Wildlife Reserves and two conservation areas in Nepal. Pokhara, the lake city of Nepal provides ample opportunities for fishing, swimming, canoeing and boating along with the sightseeing of majestic panoramic views in its background. Kathmandu valley possesses several historical monuments, old palaces and palace squares, shrines and temples.

Nepal is a land of festivals with some part of the kingdom or the other celebrating some festival during everyday of the year. Festivals may be linked with the remembrance of the departed soul, to herald the different seasons, to mark the beginning or end of the agricultural cycle, to mark the national events, or just family celebrations. On a festive day the Nepalese take their ritual bath, worship different gods and goddesses, visit temple, observe fasting and undertake feasting.

History: Nepal's recorded history began with the Kiratis, who arrived in the 7th or 8th century BC from the east. Little is known about them, other than their deftness as sheep farmers and fondness for carrying long knives. It was during this period that Buddhism first came to the country; indeed it is claimed that Buddha and his disciple Ananda visited the Kathmandu Valley and stayed for a time in Patan. By 200 AD, Buddhism had waned, and was replaced by Hinduism, brought by the Licchavis, who invaded from northern India and overthrew the last Kirati king. The Hindus also introduced the caste system (which still continues today) and ushered in a classical age of Nepalese art and architecture.

By 879, the Licchavi era had petered out and was succeeded by the Thakuri dynasty. A grim period of instability and invasion often referred to as the 'Dark Ages' followed, but Kathmandu Valley's strategic location ensured the kingdom's survival and growth. Several centuries later, the Thakuri king, Arideva, founded the Malla dynasty, kick-starting another renaissance of Nepali culture. Despite earthquakes, the odd invasion and feuding between the independent city-states of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, the dynasty flourished, reaching its zenith in the 15th century under Yaksha Malla. Throughout ages, Nepal has preserved its national identity and independence. It has never been under any foreign rule.
The rulers of Ghorkha, the most easterly region, had always coveted the Mallas' wealth. Under the inspired leadership of Prithvi Narayan Shah, the Ghorkha launched a campaign to conquer the valley. In 1768 - after 27 years of fighting - they triumphed and moved their capital to Kathmandu. From this new base the kingdom's power expanded, borne by a seemingly unstoppable army, until progress was halted in 1792 by a brief and chastening war with Tibet.
Further hostilities followed in 1814, this time with the British over a territorial dispute. The Nepalese were eventually put to heel and compelled to sign the 1816 Sugauli Treaty, which surrendered Sikkim and most of Terai (some of the land was eventually restored in return for Nepalese help in quelling the Indian Mutiny of 1857), established Nepal's present eastern and western boundaries and, worst of all, installed a British 'resident' in the country.
The Shah dynasty continued in power during the first half of the 19th century until the ghastly Kot Massacre of 1846. Taking advantage of the intrigue and assassinations that had plagued the ruling family, Jung Bahadur seized control by butchering several hundred of the most important men while they assembled in the Kot courtyard. He took the more prestigious title Rana, proclaimed himself prime minister for life, and later made the office hereditary. For the next century, the Ranas and their offspring luxuriated in huge Kathmandu palaces, while the remainder of the population eked out a living in medieval conditions.
The Rana's antiquated regime came to an end soon after WW II. In 1948, the British withdrew from India and with them went the Ranas' chief support. Around the same time, a host of insurrectionist movements, bent on reshaping the country's polity, emerged. Sporadic fighting spilled onto the streets and the Ranas, at the behest of India, reluctantly agreed to negotiations. King Tribhuvan was anointed ruler in 1951 and struck up a government comprised of Ranas and members of the newly formed Nepali Congress Party.
But the compromise was short lived. After toying with democratic elections - and feeling none too pleased by the result - King Mahendra (Tribhuvan's son and successor) decided that a 'partyless' panchaayat system would be more appropriate for Nepal. The king selected the prime minister and cabinet and appointed a large proportion of the national assembly, which duly rubber-stamped his policies. Power, of course, remained with only one party - the king's.
Cronyism, corruption and the creaming-off of lucrative foreign aid into royal coffers continued until 1989. The Nepalese, fed up with years of hardship and suffering under a crippling trade embargo imposed by the Indians, rose up in popular protest called the Jana Andolan or 'People's Movement'. In the ensuing months, detention, torture and violent clashes left hundreds of people dead. It all proved too much for King Birendra, in power since 1972. He dissolved his cabinet, legalised political parties and invited the opposition to form an interim government. The panchaayat system was finally laid to rest.
The changeover to democracy proceeded in an orderly, if leisurely, fashion, and in May 1991 the Nepali Congress Party and the Communist Party of Nepal shared most of the votes.
Since then, Nepal has discovered that establishing a workable democratic system is an enormously difficult task - especially when it is the country's first such system. The situation has been further exacerbated by a wafer-thin economy, massive unemployment, illiteracy and an ethnically and religiously fragmented population that continues to grow at an alarming rate.
Source: Grolier's Encyclopedia

Customs, Courtesies and Life Style of the Nepali People

Greetings: Namaste is the traditional greeting in Nepal. A person places his or her palms together (fingers up) in front of his or her chest or chin and says Namaste (or Namaskar for superiors). Adults do not use the Namaste greeting with children. In informal situations, one might raise the right hand in a salaam (salute-like) gesture for both greetings and farewells. At formal social gatherings, a guest may be adorned with a mala (flower garland) when greeted. In certain Buddhist communities, a khada (white cotton scarf) may be offered instead of a mala. The Nepalese generally do not shake hands, although some men may shake hands with westerners or each other. In greetings, it is respectful to use titles ("Professor", "Doctor", "Director") or the suffix -jee (or -jye) with the last name. The Nepalese usually ask permission before taking leave of others.
Gestures: It is considered rude to touch another person’s head or shoulders. Men do not touch women in public—even between married couples physical affection is reserved for the privacy of the home. However, members of the same sex often express friendship by walking arm in arm or hand in hand. The bottom of one’s foot should never point at another person, nor should it be used to move objects. If a person’s foot touches another person, immediate apologies are necessary. A person beckons by waving all fingers with the palm down. Other finger gestures, including pointing, are impolite. Parents make a chopping motion with their hand to express anger at their children. If food or flowers displayed at bazaars are touched, they are considered impure. Whistling inside a home or at night is considered improper, as is winking at a person of the opposite sex. According to Hindu law, cows are sacred; a foot may not point at them and they should not be touched. When passing a temple, a stupa (Buddhist shrine), or a banyan tree, people take care to keep it on their right, the side that keeps evil spirits at bay and shows veneration for the temple, stupa, or tree.

Visiting: Visiting plays an important role in Nepalese society, and relatives and friends get together often. Hosts are patient with late-arriving guests because individuals are considered to be more important than the demands of a time schedule. Nepalese are warm and hospitable—even unexpected visitors are made welcome. Hindus believe that being kind to strangers can enhance their status in the next life, and will not turn away someone in need. Some people may, however, be shy about inviting strangers they consider wealthier than themselves into their homes. Tea with sugar and milk is usually offered to guests; it is usual to decline refreshments initially before eventually accepting them. Shoes are removed when entering a home, a Hindu temple, or a Muslim mosque. Guests invited to a meal may bring small presents for the children, especially during holidays and for special occasions. Gifts may include food or drinks from guests without a regular income. In general, the right hand is used for eating and for giving or receiving objects. Gifts are not opened at the time they are received. In the south, members of the opposite sex do not usually mix at social gatherings. This custom is not as prevalent in the north.

cooking_1Eating: In most homes, men and guests are served first, followed by children, then women. Chopsticks are used in some northern districts, but elsewhere food is eaten with the hand. Because of the Hindu principle of jutho (ritual impurity), food is not shared from the same plate or utensils. When drinking water from a communal container, the lips do not touch the container. Higher caste Hindus are careful that their food is not touched by people outside their caste or religion; food prepared by any caste lower than one’s own is considered jutho, or impure, and cannot be eaten. At social gatherings involving more than one caste, the Brahmans, who are the highest caste, prepare the food. Only roti (flat bread) can be prepared by a lower-caste person. When eating out, the person with the higher income insists on paying.

Family: In Nepal the interests of the family take precedence over those of an individual. The elderly are respected and cared for by their families. Traditional families are large and include the extended family. In many homes, aunts, uncles, and other relatives live together with their respective families and share the same kitchen. Among the educated, it is increasingly common for some sons to set up separate households after marriage rather than live with the extended family. Land is inherited and divided equally between the sons of a family. Inheritance laws have been reformed, and women are gaining some property rights. But women, especially among Hindus, generally have few rights or privileges in society. They are responsible for the household and farming (except ploughing), and do not socialize in public as much as men. cooking_2While many women work outside the home, this is more common in urban areas than in rural areas. Rural women often marry before they are 18 years old. They join their husband’s extended family at that time and are expected to care for his parents. Some rural men have more than one wife. Most rural families live in modest, two-level houses made of stone and mud with a few small windows. The upper level is used to store food. Houses in the cities are built from bricks, stone, or reinforced concrete. Urban blocks of flats cannot have more than five stories. Those who live in flats often share water and bathroom facilities with others. In the south, where the caste system is most dominant, a few higher-caste people can afford to live in large, well-built houses, but the majority of lower-caste people live in poverty.

Dating and Marriage: Marriage customs vary among the different castes. Traditional marriages are arranged by parents, although sometimes with the consent of the marriage partners. Marriage is sacred, divine, and considered to endure beyond death. Western-style dating and divorce are rare. For the Nepalese, chastity (sat, or satitwa in urban areas) is the most important virtue a woman can bring to a marriage. Sherpas might live together before getting married. Weddings are times of great celebration and feasting. They are elaborate and may last up to three days. In the Terai (southern region), a dowry is common.

dhal_bhat_dishDiet: Many higher-caste people in Nepal are vegetarian or eat no meat other than goat. Rice with lentil soup and vegetable curry are often the main dishes in urban areas or among the rural upper classes. The middle castes eat goat or chicken when they are available; some eat water buffalo. Hindus do not eat beef, and Muslims do not eat pork. Meat is usually consumed no more than a few times a month and then in small quantities. Larger quantities are eaten only at festivals. Sherpas and Tibetans eat more meat than other groups. Fruit and vegetables are used in season.

Millet and corn are staples for most Nepalese, although rice is a staple in the Terai. Roti may be prepared with different grains; wheat is preferred, but a Brahman will also eat a corn roti. Millet and buckwheat are more often eaten by poorer people. Hill people eat porridge (dhedo) made of cornmeal, millet, or buckwheat.

Recent Developments:

According to officials, on June 1, 2001, the Heir Apparent Dipendra went on a killing spree in the royal palace, in response to his parents' rejection of his choice of wife. His parents were killed and he died three days later. Following the carnage, the throne was inherited by Birendra's brother Gyanendra. In the face of unstable governments and a Maoist siege on the Kathmandu Valley in August 2004, popular support for the monarchy waned.

On February 1, 2005, King Gyanendra dismissed the entire government and assumed full executive powers in the name of combating the Maoist movement. In September 2005, the Maoists declared a three-month unilateral ceasefire which was not reciprocated by the royal government; the latter vowed to defeat the rebels by force. A few weeks later, the government stated that parliamentary elections would be held by 2007 even after the failed municipal elections.

On January 14, 2006, the Maoists attacked five military and paramilitary installations throughout the Kathmandu Valley. Bombs were detonated in two of the locations. Twelve people died, eleven at the Thankot checkpost where multiple blasts shook homes as far away as Matatheirtha. The public was shocked as this was proof that the Maoists were able to organize and plan a simultaneous attack on multiple locations within the Valley, long considered to be relatively safe from Maoist violence. During the attack on the Thankot checkpost, a local toll station was robbed, which was located less than 100 meters away from an orphanage housing sixty-four children.

The Maoists, through support from the seven parliamentary parties (SPA), arranged a mass uprising against the reign of King Gyanendra. The royal government used various means to quell the uprising, including daytime curfews. Thousands were injured and twenty-one people died in the uprising.

Foreign pressure continued to increase on King Gyanendra to surrender power. On April 21, 2006, Gyanendra announced that he was giving up absolute power and that "Power was being returned to the People". He called on the seven party coalitions to name a Prime Minister and that elections would be held as soon as possible. Both the U.S. and India immediately called on the SPA to accept this proposal. Many Nepalese protesters, however, still carried out rallies in numerous cities and vowed to continue the stir until they would achieve complete abolishment of the monarchy. The SPA felt the pressure of these protests as some took place directly outside the deliberations of Gyanendra's offer. Finally, at midnight on April 24, after nineteen days' tumultuous protest, the king called for the country's parliament to reassemble on April 28.

Parliament has since reassembled and stripped the king of his power over the military, abolished his title as the descendent of a Hindu God, and required royalty to pay taxes. Furthermore, several royal officials have been indicted, and the Nepalese government is no longer referred to as "His Majesty's Government", but rather as the "Government of Nepal". An election of the constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution has been declared unanimously to be held in the near future, with the possible abolition of the monarchy as part of constitutional change.

Following Gyanendra's relinquishing of absolute power, the Nepalese government and Maoist rebels agreed on a ceasefire. In August 2006, both parties came to an agreement on the issue of arms accountability, agreeing to ask the United Nations to oversee and keep track of the weapons cache of both sides. The government and the Maoists are trying to come to an agreement on the future of the monarchy.

As of 21 November 2006, Maoists and the Seven Party Alliance signed a peace deal. The agreement is intended to end the Nepalese Civil War, which has claimed more than 13,000 lives to death.

As of 15 January 2007, SPA and Maoists serve together in an Interim legislature under the new Interim Constitution of Nepal awaiting elections to take place in June 2007 to a Constituent Assembly, while all the powers of the Nepali King are in abeyance.On April 1, 2007 the SPA and the Maoist together formed an interim government. The interim government was mandated to hold the Constituent Assembly elections in June. 2007. But after the Election Commission doubted on the feasibility of holding election on the given date, the Constituent Assembly elections has fallen down into shadows.