Chepel is a small village with about 400 inhabitants at an altitude of approx. 2300 m in the district Solukhumbu east of the capital Kathmandu. When I first visited Chepel in 2012 it was a one-day jeep ride and thereafter a five-days hike over 3 passes to get there. Now, the “street” goes closer to Chepel, however, it is still a very exhausting and long trip. Since Chepel completely lies aside of any tourist route, there are no real tourist lodges around and a trip to Chepel is really like a trip into the very and still natural heart of Nepal.
A center like we know it does not exist in Chepel. The village looks more like 70 houses dropped from 2 km height with corn and potato fields around each house.
The picture above is taken from a place which is on the same altitude than Chepel and around 6 walking hours away. Chepel is behind the 4th mountain on the right side. All in the back the Himalaya range of mountains with over 6000 m can be seen, behind these the 8000 m high summits would appear. To get to Chepel from the place of the picture you still need to go down 1200 m of altitude, cross the 250 m long hanging bridge, and then 1200 m up again on the other side of the Dudh Khosi. There it goes on in the typical “Nepali straight” style – meaning up and down and up and down and…
The school in Chepel nowadays consists of 2 school buildings (one of them hosts the new communication center with a computer and a printer and the library), a new toilet built in 2013 after the old one had crumbled down in the course of heavy rain, a little temple, and since June 2019 a hostel for 35 kids.
The school was massively destroyed during the earthquake in 2015 and completely re-built by the community in Chepel with the financial support of Friend of Chepel e.V.
In 2016 the foundation also provided a compound to protect the school from, for example, animals from the surrounding jungle to enter the place.
Chepel has a little gompa (temple) at the very top of the village which is used by both, the Sherpa people who are Buddhist, and the Rai people who are Hindu.
As chepel is not located on any tourist route no Western tourists ever visit the village, except the FRIENDS of Chepel. Each time somebody visits the village, which is usually once a year. the guests get a wonderful welcome celebration with singing and dancing, which is absolutely marvellous.
Nepal is a land locked country between China/Tibet in the North and India in the South. From East to West it has about 900 km, from North to South around 200 km.
Nepal is divided into 3 zones: mountainous areas (4,000 – 8,848 m, 35% of the total land mass, population density: 7% of the population), hilly regions (600 – 4,000 m, 42% of the total land mass, population density: 43% of the population), Terai Zone (90 – 600 m, 23% of the total land mass, population density: 50% of the population, tropical – subtropical climate). With this, Nepal is the country with the biggest difference in allover altitude (from 90 – 8848 m) in the whole world.
There is also a subdivision into 5 development zones (Eastern, Central, Western, Mid-western, Far-Eastern), 14 main zones and 75 administrative districts and further division of districts into 3,915 “village development committees – VDCs.
Currency: Nepalese Rupee.
Approximately 30 million people live in Nepal with around 3 million in the valley of Kathmandu.
Kathmandu is the capital and is one of the ancient kingdoms together with Patan/Lalitpur and Bakthapur.
Nepal has the only non-rectangular flag in the world.
Religion: 80% of Nepali are Hindus, just under 15% are Buddhists, few are Muslims and Christians.
There are 103 different ethnic groups / castes, the largest ethnic groups are the Chhetri, Brahmis, Magar, Tharu, Tamang and Newar. 79% of the population is of Indo-European origin, 18% is of sino-tibetan origin.
Official language: Nepali (about 50% of the population). There are 92 different languages. Sherpa have their own Sherpa language, which is related to Tibetan. Nepali originated from Sanskrit.
The script used is Devanagari, which is related to Sanskrit.