Nepal’s history and culture are strongly connected with the country’s specific geography. The landscape ranges from the lowland plains in the south up to the world’s highest peaks in the north. Likewise, Farwest Nepal is defined by distinct landscapes: the flat Terai, the Middle Hills and the high Himalayas. Each region is characterized by different climatic conditions, flora and fauna, but also by different peoples and their cultural traditions.
In the south, bordering India, you will find a flat landscape of forest and farmland that is called Terai. It used to be completely covered in dense jungle inhabited only by the Tharu people. However, the fertile land has since been cultivated and attracted many settlers from the northern regions of the country.
Just north of the plain Terai, majestic hills are rising. They are cut by deep valleys and wild rivers that come flowing down from the Himalayas. The population in the Middle Hills is predominantly Hindu. Tibetans makes up a small part of the population and yet have a significant influence on the area through trading. The Middle Hills of Farwest Nepal are also known as the Doti region, a word which some believe originated from ‘Dovati’. This translates as ‘the land between two rivers’ and describes the region’s location between the rivers Karnali and Mahakali. Others claim that it originated from the word ‘Devatavi’, a composition of the Hindu words for god (‘dev’) and ‘aatavi’, meaning the place of re-creation. The fascinating history of Doti goes back to the 13th century when Niranjan Malldeo founded the Doti Kingdom following the fall of Karyuris Kingdom. The Doti rulers called themselves Raaikas. Today we can still observe the ruins of Raaika Palace bringing us back to the ancient times of Doti Kingdom.
For a long time, the Himalayan region of Nepal was a hardly accessible and has been untouched until the 1950’s. However, routes through the Farwest Himalayas served for trans-Himalayan trade and as a gateway to the holy Mount Kailash and the mythical Lake Manasarovar in Tibet. The Farwest Himalayan range is crowned with the peaks of Mount Api (7132m) and Mount Saipal (7031m).