Bea goes to India 2006

A place to house periodic comments from Bea while she backpacks her way through India and Nepal.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

How much do you know about India & Nepal?

I thought I would include some of the information I have gathered... more of the "did you know?" variety details about my destination, and answers to questions some have asked about India and Nepal.

  • India is roughly 1/3 of the size of the US.
  • 1/2 the country is under cultivation and less than 1/4 is forested. Wide diversity of climate between the Himalayas in the North, deserts, jungles, marshes.
  • HUGE cities, towns, villages, ruins that are being reclaimed by the forest or the desert... the whole spectrum will be on my journey.
  • Most of the country experiences three seasons: Hot [March - May,], rainy [June - October] and cool [November - February].
  • India has the second largest population in the world, behind China, with 1.07 billion residents.
  • India is home to several hundred languages, of which 33 have 100K or more speakers. At least 30 percent of the population speaks Hindi.
  • Religious devotion is equally diverse. India is claimed as the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jianism and Sikhism, as well as the adopted home for Zoroastrianism. 80 percent of the population would describe themselves as Hindu, 12 percent as Muslim, less than 3 percent Christian, 2 percent Sikh, and about 1 percent Jian or Buddhist.
  • An Indian host might offer water, tea or coffee, fruits or sweets. It is polite for a guest to initially refuse these refreshmtents but to eventually accept them.
  • Diet varies by region and religion. Rice is a staple in the south, wheat bread in the north. Vegetarianism is widely practiced, often for religious reasons. Hindus wil not eat beef, since they consider the cow to be sacred. Muslims do not eat pork or drink alcohol. The seacoast area near Goa is renowned for the seafood and Portugese influence to its cuisine. Dishes are usually very spicy. Betal leaves and nuts are commonly eaten after meals to aid digestion. Chai [spiced and milked tea] is ubiquitous.


  • Nepal is about the same size as Wisconsin and lies between India and China.
  • Nepal is very diverse because of changes in elevation. Cool summers and harse winters of the north contrast with the subtropical climate of the south.
  • Kathmandu lies in the middle hills and is populated by 1 million of the country's 27.1 million residents.
  • Nepal is the only official Hindu nation in the world; about 81 percent of the population is Hindu.
  • A typical Nepalese breakfast and dinner meal would be dal bhatt [white rice and lentil soup], curried vegetables, and achar [chutney].
  • Nepalese hosts usually offer tea with sugar and milk to guests; it is polite to initially refuse the refreshments before taking them.
  • Nepal has its own calendar with the New Year in mid-April.
  • In February 2005, the King declared a state of emergency and dismissed the prime minister. VentureCo indicated they will continue to monitor the political situation in Nepal and adjust our itenerary if necessary.