Province No. 1, is one of the provinces established by the new constitution of Nepal which was adopted on 20 September 2015.
It is the most eastern region of Nepal which can be called Limbuwan, Kirata Kingdom, or Eastern Development Region. According to Census 2011, there are around 4.5 million people in the province, with a population density of 175.6 per square kilometer.
The Kiratas were the aborigines of the northeastern Himalayas. According to Baburam Acharya, they came to Nepal in about 700 BC and ruled over it. They were short and had robust bodies, broad cheeks, flat noses, thin whiskers, and dark eyes. They were well trained in the art of warfare and were very skillful archers. They were the ancestors of the present day Kiratas; Limbu, Yakha, Sunuwar, different types of Rais such as yongyang, sampang etc, Kulung, Thulung and Yellung.
Province No. 1 covers an area of 25,905 km2. The Province has a three-fold geographical division: Himalayan in the north, Hilly in the middle, and Terai in the southern part of Nepal varying between an altitude of 60 m and 8,848 m. The Himalayan region, in the north, consists of many mountain ranges. The highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest (8848 m); and the third highest mountain, Kangchenjunga (8598 m) also lie in this Province. Nepal’s lowest point, Kechana Kawal at 58 m, is located in the Jhapa district of this Province.
In the north summers are cool and winters severe, while in the south summers are tropical and winters are mild. Climatically, the southern belt of Province, the Terai, experiences warm and humid climate. Eastern Nepal receives approximately 2,500 millimeters of rain annually. Province no. 1 has five seasons: spring, summer, monsoon, autumn and winter.
The province is made up of the 14 following districts:
- Bhojpur District
- Dhankuta District
- Ilam District
- Jhapa District
- Khotang District
- Morang District
- Okhaldhunga District
- Panchthar District
- Sankhuwasabha District
- Solukhumbu District
- Sunsari District
- Taplejung District
- Terhathum District
- Udayapur District
- Hinduism (66.63%)
- Kirat Mundhum (17.14%)
- Buddhism (9.20%)
- Islam (3.59%)
- Christianity (1.72%)
- Prakṛti (1.33%)
- Other or not religious (0.39%)
The Khas are the largest ethnicity with the native Rai and Limbu not far behind. Rajbanshi people are also native to Jhapa and Morang.
The Rai people live in the hills mostly west of the Arun river in districts like Bhojpur, Khotang, and also in Solukhumbu, Udayapur.
The Limbu people inhabit the hills east of the Arun river in districts like Taplejung, Pachthar, and Tehrathum. Both Rais and Limbus also live in Dhankuta, Ilam and Sankhuwasabha.
The Sherpa people in the mountains are mostly in Solukhumbu.
The Maithili people and Tharu people who are a minority live in the Terai regions of south Sunsari and Biratnagar and east Morang.
All ethnic groups can be found in the Terai districts of Morang, Sunsari, Jhapa, and Udayapur these districts are more populated and are denser than the hill districts. Tamang and Magar’s people are also minorities but who mostly live in Dhankuta, Udayapur, and Ilam and throughout the plains.
The majority of people follow Hinduism with Muslim communities, especially in Sunsari and Morang, Buddhism is also followed mostly by Tamang, Limbus, and other Hill people, and Christianity is also a growing religion attracting hundreds of people every year. Animist religion is also followed by some Kirati people.
It is mainly based on agriculture and tourism. Most people in Province No. 1 are engaged in farming and animal husbandry. Tea, paddy, maize, wheat, potato, millet, etc. are the main crop in this region.
Tea is the main crop in the hilly region. Bay leaf, cardamom, different fruits, and vegetables are also grown in this region. Chhurpi is a type of cheese also produce from the yak in some hilly and mountainous regions of Province No. 1.
Eastern Nepal is much more famous than others. It is one of the tourist places in Nepal. It has beautiful mountains, hills, rivers, valleys, and other famous places. It possesses many more beautiful places which are the possibility for tourism development. Every year many tourists visit this part for different purposes like; mountaineering, bungee jumping, rafting, paragliding, and other many facilities provided for tourists.
All provinces of Nepal except Province No. 2 have difficult geographic features. Only three districts out of fourteen of Province No. 1 fall in terai and one district falls in inner terai. Other all districts have difficult features, so road networks are not well developed. There is no train facility. Only bus and air services are available.