A map of Nepal, showing highland and lowland areas and vegetationMuch of Nepal lies among the steep, snowy peaks of the Himalayan mountain range. Eight of the world’s ten highest peaks are found along its northern border, including Mount Everest, the highest mountain on Earth. The climate in northern Nepal is extremely cold and dry. Central Nepal is cut through by steep-sided river valleys such as the Kathmandu Valley. Farther south, the foothills of the Himalayas slope to a region of tropical lowlands, known as the Terai. Lying across the Eurasian and Indian tectonic plates, Nepal suffers frequent earthquakes.
Nepal has over 100 ethnic groups. The largest group are the Khas peoples, who have lived in the Himalayan region since ancient times. The majority of people are Hindu, but many practise some form of Buddhism as well, as the two religions are closely related in Nepal’s culture.
Nepal has the greatest difference in altitude of any country on Earth, ranging from 70 m (230 ft) to 8863 m (29,078 ft).
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