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The administrative zone Mahakali is located in Western Nepal, and borders India. Mahakali is composed of four districts: Darchula, Baitadi, Dadeldura and Kanchanpur. Mahakali is part of the Far Western development region, which spreads over Terai, Hill and Mountain territories. Since the new constitution implemented in 2015, Nepal is a federal state divided into seven provinces. Mahakali is part of Province No. 7.



977,514 people live in Mahakali. The most populated district is Kanchanpur with 451,248 (216,042 men and 235,206 women) inhabitants. 250,898 (117,407 men and 133,491 women) people live in Baitadi; 142,094 (66,556 men and 75,538 women) people live in Dadeldura; and 133,274 (63,605 men and 69,669 women) people live in Darchula.

Figures for the Mahakali administrative zone are not available, but the Central Bureau of Statistics of Nepal provides data for the widest Far Western development region of which Mahakali is part.

In 2015, in the Far Western development region, out of 2,552,517 people, 2,481,805 were Hindus, 27,806 were Christians (mainly living in Kanchanpur district), 27,303 were Buddhists (mainly living in Kanchanpur district), 5,961 were Muslims, and 5,685 were Prakritis.

In 2010, the main ethnicities represented in the Far western population were Chetree, with above 1 million people from this descent, Tharu, with above 400,000 people from this descent, and Brahman, with above 300,000 people from this descent.  

The main languages spoken in 2010 were Nepali, Tharu, and Doteli.

The literacy rate was 54.1 percent in 2008.  



The Far Western development region, of which Mahakali is part, contributes very little to Nepal’s foreign trade. It accounts for 0.8 percent of Nepal’s exports and 0.898 percent of its imports.

In 2010, the mean income per household was 144,030 Nepalese Rupees and the mean income per capita was NRs 28,584.

The unemployment rate in 2010 was 1.6 percent.  

The poverty rate in 2008 was 45.61 percent.  

The Far Western development region is mainly agricultural. Out of 954,636 workers, 728,701 are employed in the agriculture sector, 30,718 in manufacturing, and 39,079 in wholesale and retail trade. 90.1 percent of households of the region were involved in agricultural activities in 2010. 85 percent of them cultivated paddy, 89 percent wheat and 85.2 percent maize.

In 2008, 35.2 percent of the population had migrated out of the region. This migration has induced a large scope of remittances. In 2010, 60 percent of households received remittances. The share of remittances on their income was 26.6 percent.

Mahakali’s economic and social situation is to progress. An integrated development scheme will be implemented in Province no. 7, of which Mahakali is part, to improve development in many areas, ranging from health to tourism.



In the latest local elections, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML) won a short majority of seats in Province no. 7, with 39 seats compared to 38 for the Nepali Congress. In the Makahali zone, the CPN-UML won in Kanchanpur, while the Nepali Congress won in Darchula, Baitadi, and Dadeldura districts. These elections marked a shift for the Nepali Congress, which lost in a region where it usually wielded a certain influence.


Further readings:

Mahendra Lawoti, Susan Hangen (2013) Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in Nepal: Identities and Mobilization After 1990, Routledge

V. R. Raghavan (2013) Nepal as a Federal State: Lessons from Indian Experience, Vij Books India Pvt Ltd

John Whelpton (2005) A History of Nepal, Cambridge University Press