Nepal is bound in the north by the Himalayan Mountains and in the south, there is a fertile plain that eases into the Indian heartland. The neighbor to the north, Tibet, is inaccessible because of the more than four mile-high mountains so the land to the south, India, has always had a great influence on Nepal, supplying immigrants and religious and cultural ideas.
It is not surprising, then, that the classic philatelic issues of Nepal have a strong feel of the more primitive Indian Native States' issues. The first stamps of Nepal were issued in 1881 and were really postal issues of the same class as that of the Indian States. Nepal's relations with the outside world were handled by India and the stamps of Nepal were only valid within Nepal and India.
Letters from Nepal that went to foreign countries needed Indian postage stamps on them. The printing on these early Nepal issues is very primitive and tete-beche pairs are so common as to indicate that the printers who set up the plates from the individual stamp printing cliches were probably illiterate and were unable to determine whether the cliche subjects were placed in correct relationship to one another.
Stamps are appealing for many reasons. Certainly, there is much grace in a beautiful line engraved miniature piece of art. But the local paper often with large chunks of wood and the primitiveness of design and execution have made the stamps of early Nepal among the darlings of philately.
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