Birthplace of the Lord Buddha

Wedged between the high wall of the Himalaya and the jungles of the Indian plains, Nepal is a land of snow peaks and Sherpas, yaks and yetis, monasteries and mantras. The diversity of topography and climate is matched only by the variety of peoples, languages and customs, which make up this extraordinary kingdom. Three major towns are located in the Kathmandu Valley, Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, each having a great artistic and architectural tradition. Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city in the country. In the Valley, the towns and villages are alive with the colours of farm produce, ranging from pyramids of golden grain to the vivid reds of chilli peppers laid out on mats to dry in the sun. In the streets and towns there is a constant bustle of activity, especially in the bazaars and markets where the farmers sell their vegetables and fruit. The Nepalese are relaxed, humoured and hardworking. The population is 25.8 million with most being of Hindhu religion which actually has threads of Hinduism, Buddhim and other faiths. Life in Nepal revolves around their religion with many festivals and processions, the major one being the five day Diwali.   Since 2001, Nepal is ruled by Prince Regent Gyanendra following the massacre of his brother King Birendra and his family, by the heir to the throne, Crown Prince Dipendra who, under the influence of drugs and alcohol, shot 11 people at a dinner hosted by himself. The country has moved towards a much more democratic approach, but the few people we spoke to about it were complaining that it has brought no benefits to the country - it only seemed to encourage more corruption in government.

The Birthplace of Lord Buddha

The Lord Buddha (Gautama Siddhārtha) was born about 2,600 years ago near a Square fountain in Lumbini, Nepal. Buddhism is a world religion founded by the Buddha and the dharma taught by Buddha has been organized into various sutras and propagated to the rest of Asia. Buddhism has two major branches, the Southern Buddhism (Hinayana) and the Northern Buddhism (Mahayana). The Southern Buddhism spread to Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Myanmar, while Northern Buddhism spread to China, Vietnam, and Japan. Buddhism was introduced to Japan in the early 6th century from the Korean Peninsula.