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Nepali place names

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Even though Devanaagari (the script of Nepali and Hindi) spellings are phonetic, transliterating them into the Roman alphabet is a disputed science. Some places will never shake off the erroneous spellings bestowed on them by early British colonialists – Kathmandu, for instance, looks more like Kaathmaadau when properly transliterated. Where place names are Sanskrit-based, the Nepali pronunciation sometimes differs from the accepted spelling – the names Vishnu (a Hindu god) and Vajra (a tantric symbol), for instance, sound like Bishnu and Bajra in Nepali. We have followed local pronunciations as consistently as possible in this guide, except in cases where to do so would be out of step with every map in print.

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