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Books about Nepal

The following list are just a few of the books about Nepal that we believe are worth reading. We have tried to give examples in a number of genres.

Travel books

Lonely Planet

If you are planning on visiting Nepal for the first time we highly recommend the Lonely Planet book on Nepal. Whilst all travel books have a few mistakes, this one is the simplest and the most coherent, and gives the most support.

Michael Palin Himalaya

Palin and his team make an excellent guide through the region, and whilst the DVD and book seem a little light on Nepal (considering it has more of the Himalaya in it than anywhere else) the political situation perhaps scared the BBC health and safety a little!

Cultural books

Arresting God in Kathmandu

An unashamed collection of stories that somewhat exoticise Nepalese people written by an American Nepali. This book is beautiful for those who enjoy Rushdie and other Asian writers, and has won a number of awards in the USA.

The Nepali Cookbook

Difficult to get hold of and one of the few Nepali cookbooks. The recipes use American names for vegetables which is confusing but there are many to choose from and they have been adapted to western palettes.

Jewelery of Nepal

If you cannot get to the British Museum in London and see some for real, this glossy book shows the astonishing skills of artisans in Nepal.

Language books

Teach Yourself Nepali

We may be biased as we know Michael Hutt, but the book (and attached CD) is the simplest to understand and dive in and out of. It is also used as the syllabus for learning Nepali by the well regarded School of Oriental and African Studies in London.

Lonely Planet Nepali Phrasebook

This book is great for a tourist visiting for a few weeks and includes all the simple language that you can at least point to if you cannot pronounce it!

Political and historical books

The Tutor of History

Though fiction, this book really gives the reader a feeling for what politics is like in Nepal. Looking at the happenings in a small town Thapa addresses political change, the Maoists, gender-awareness, love, and more.

A History of Nepal

The leading book on the history of Nepal. Whelpton has done a lot of research to present a rounded interpretation of both Kathmandu-centric and others’ history in Nepal. Though possibly a little academic in some areas for the average reader, it is a far better quality than it’s rivals.

Conflict books

Himalayan People’s War

Another book by Hutt, this is a really investigative set of chapters looking at the origins of conflict in Nepal. Well worth a read to understand where the conflict came from and how the Maoists have been so powerful, although a couple of years out of date.


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