The spelling and pronunciation of Himalayan place names has given many a traveller a headache. There are competing systems for transliterating from Nepali into English, and many names in mountain regions are taken from Tibetan dialects or even unwritten languages, so the possibilities can proliferate chaotically. When reading from maps and guides, or asking for directions, keep an open mind as to what might mean where. In general, we follow the most widely used spellings, but significant alternatives are given in brackets.
As regards pronunciation, there’s not even agreement on what to call the country – or its mountains. Should it be Nuh-pawl, as it has been in English for a century or so, or Nay-paal, imitating Nepali pronunciation? Is the range a singular Hi-maal-ee-yuh (reflecting the local word for mountain, himal) or Him-uh-lay-ers? Actually, that one’s easy: the name derives from the Sanskrit hima laya, or “Abode of Snow”, not himal, so the stress should be fairly even; and in English mountain ranges are usually plural, like “the Alps”. Hee-maa-lay-ahs it is, then.
bhanjyang pass, col
cho, tso lake
chorten stone religious monument/reliquary
deurali meeting point, often of paths on the saddle or side of a hill
himal mountain range
la mountain pass
lekh watershed range of hills, ridge
mani wall of stones inscribed with prayers
phedi settlement at the foot of a hill