The Himalayan mountain range forms the northern border of Nepal. Over millions of years, glaciers and melting snow have gouged out the steep valleys that form Nepal's rugged and isolated landscape. Separated by the world's highest mountains, hilltop kingdoms evolved with a multiplicity of languages and cultures, many of which remain largely unchanged to this day.
Secured by the mountains to the north and impenetrable jungle to the south, Nepal is one of the very few countries that avoided colonization by foreign powers. This results not only in the retention of cultural traditions, but also in a warm-hearted attitude towards foreign visitors who have only been allowed to come into Nepal since the 1950s. Imagine a country the size of Iowa with 90 languages and dialects and over 100 different cultural/ethnic groups. A week's trek will take the adventurer through a variegated cultural salad!
Hinduism and Buddhism provide a bedrock of faith and spirit that allows Nepalis to live in peace surrounded by so many different worlds.
Buddhists living in Nepal put up new prayer flags each year at the Tibetan New Year - Losar – to send prayers of compassion and encourage altruism to all who will pass and see the flags. These simple prayer flags act as an external aid to meditation and are relaxing and soothing to the soul.