Last time when I was in London, I got to meet this teacher from a local school. I asked her if she had ever visited Nepal. She paused for a moment and replied, “I have visited almost all continents and I am planning to visit Africa next year. May be I’ll pop in then”.
Seriously!! We’re not as well-known country as Great Britain but for heaven’s sake we’re not in Africa! This meeting got me into my little quest of discovering interesting and unique facts about Nepal. Ok, here’s the first installment: five things about Nepal which no other country in the globe can claim.
1. Nepal has the densest concentration of World Heritage Sites:
Kathmandu valley alone has 7 World Heritage Cultural sites within a radius of 15 kilometers. The seven include the Durbar Squares of Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu), Patan and Bhaktapur, the Buddhist stupas of Swayambhu and Bauddhanath and the Hindu temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan. Talking of unique aspects of Nepal, it is the only country in the world where people of two distinct religions, Hindus and Buddhists have coexisted perfectly for centuries. Out of the seven heritage sites, two are Hindu sites and two Buddhists.
2. Nepal has nearly 870 species of birds:
Get this; there are more species of birds in Nepal alone than the whole continent of Europe and North Africa combined.
3. Nepal is the only nation in the world with non-quadrilateral flag:
Out of 198 countries in the world, Nepal is the only country with triangular flag. Neat, isn’t it?
4. Eight of the world’s top ten highest peaks happen to be in Nepal:
Rank Mountain Feet
1. Everest 29,035
3. Kangchenjunga 28,169
4. Lhotse 27,940
5. Makalu 27,766
6. Cho Oyu 26,906
7. Dhaulagiri 26,795
8. Manaslu 26,781
10. Annapurna 26,545
5. Sherpas, one of the indigenous people of Nepal, have the lowest red blood cell count in the world.
As known to all, higher we climb, lower the oxygen level gets. To compensate this, our body starts to product extra red blood cell (RBC) to extract maximum out of limited oxygen we get. This extra production of RBC is what causes altitude sickness. Interestingly, Sherpas have a unique RBC which can process oxygen much better than a normal person. No wonder, 4 out of every 10 climbers of Mr. Everest are Sherpas.
Hmm… now I’m feeling a bit lighter… or is it the oxygen level that is decreasing.
Check my other blogs to know further about this panoramic idyll called Nepal!
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