For a small country, Nepal has tremendous geographic diversity, rising from the tropical Terai Plain — the northern rim of the Gangetic Plain situated at about 100 meters above sea level in the south
— above the perpetual snow line at about 5,500 meters to some 90 peaks over 7,000 meters and eight over 8,000 meters including Mount Everest, locally known as Sagarmatha. North of the Himalaya, Nepal extends to the fringes of the high and arid Tibetan Plateau.

Nepal commonly is divided into three east-west physiographic belts: The Terai, the Hills and the Mountain Region. It is also divided into three major drainage systems: in the east the Koshi, in the center the Gandaki/Narayani, and in the west the Karnali.