Nepal (/nɛˈpɔːl/ ne-PAWL Nepali: नेपाल [neˈpal] ( )), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked country located in South Asia. With an area of 147,181 square kilometres (56,827 sq mi) and a population of approximately 27 million. Nepal is the world's 93rd largest country by land mass and the 41st most populous country. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India. Specifically, the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Sikkim border Nepal, while across the Himalayas lies the Tibet Autonomous Region. Nepal is separated from Bangladesh by the narrow Indian Siliguri Corridor. Kathmandu is the nation's capital and largest metropolis.
The mountainous north of Nepal has eight of the world's ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest, called Sagarmatha (सगरमाथा) in the Nepali language. More than 240 peaks over 20,000 ft (6,096 m) above sea level are located in Nepal. The southern Terai region is fertile and humid. Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Gautama Buddha, is located in this region. Lumbini is one of the holiest places of the Buddhist religion; it contains important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimages dating from as early as the 3rd century BCE.
Hinduism is practiced by about 81.3% of Nepalis, making it the country with the highest percentage of Hindus. Buddhism is linked historically with Nepal and is practiced by 9%, Islam by 4.4%, Kiratism 3.1%, Christianity 1.4%, and animism 0.4%. A large portion of the population, especially in the hill region, may identify themselves as both Hindu and Buddhist which can be attributed to the syncretic nature of Hinduism and Buddhism in Nepal.
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 until 2008. A decade-long Civil War involving the Communist Party of Nepal and several weeks of mass protests by all major political parties led to the 12-point agreement of 22 November 2005. The ensuing elections for the 1st Nepalese Constituent Assembly on 28 May 2008 overwhelmingly favored the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of a federal multiparty representative democratic republic.
The political parties of Nepal agreed to form an interim government under the leadership of Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi in order to hold elections for the Constituent Assembly by 19 November 2013 to end a political deadlock. The election was held successfully and the 2nd Nepalese Constituent Assembly was sworn in, with Sushil Koirala appointed as the new prime minister.
In 2014, Nepal ranked 145th of 187 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI) and despite several challenges, Nepal has been making steady progress and the Government of Nepal have made commitment to help the nation to graduate towards one of the more developed nations by 2022.