Nepal, officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayasand bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by theRepublic of India. With an area of 147,181 square kilometres (56,827 sq mi) and a population of approximately 30 million, Nepal is the world's 93rd largest country by land mass and the 41st most populous country. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and the country's largest metropolis.
Nepal has a rich geography. The mountainous north has eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest, called Sagarmatha in Nepali. It contains more than 240 peaks over 20,000 ft (6,096 m) above sea level. The fertile and humid south is heavilyurbanized.
By some measures, Hinduism is practised by a larger majority of people in Nepal than in any other nation. Buddhism, though a minority faith in the country, is linked historically with Nepal. Many Nepali do not distinguish between Hinduism and Buddhism and follow both religious traditions. There are 3 different buddhist traditions: Himalayan Buddhism, Buddhism of Kathmandu Valley (mostlyMahayana and Vajrayana), and also the Theravada Buddhism.
A monarchy throughout most of its history, Nepal was ruled by the Shah dynasty of kings from 1768, when Prithvi Narayan Shah unified its many small kingdoms. In 2006, however, a decade-long Civil War by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) along with several weeks of mass protests by all major political parties of Nepal culminated in a peace accord, and the ensuing elections for theconstituent assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of the abdication of the last Nepali monarchGyanendra Shah and the establishment of a federal democratic republic in 28 May 2008. The firstPresident of Nepal, Ram Baran Yadav, was sworn in on 23 July 2008.