Nepal World Heritage Sites
UNESCO has incorporated ten World Heritage Sites in Nepal both Cultural and Natural
Swayambhunath Stupa meaning “Self Existent” is the most ancient of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu valley. It is believed to have established more than 2500 years ago. It was already an important Buddhist pilgrimage destination long before the arrival of Buddhism into the valley. Its shining white dome and golden spire can be seen for many miles.A miraculous lotus, planted by a past Buddha, which blossomed from the lake that once covered Kathmandu valley, gave a brilliant light. People from all walks of life travelled to this lake in search of enlightenment. Bodhisatva manjushri was meditating at the sacred mountain had a vision of shining lotus. Manjushri, cut a gorge in the mountains surrounding the lake, so pilgrims can access Swayambhu easily. After the water drained away the Lotus was transformed into a hill and the light became the Swayambhunath Stupa. The valley-present day Kathmandu.
Bhaktapur – The city of Devotees, situated at an altitude of 1,401 Mtr covers an area of four square miles. It has some of the finest medieval arts of Nepal. The square is also one of the most charming architectural showpieces of the valley. There are many attractions in Bhaktapur Durbar square – the Lion Gate, the Golden Gate, statues of Kings on stone monoliths, the palace of fifty-five windowsand the art gallery which contains ancient paintings to name a few. Pottery is another highlight in this square.
Bouddhanath is also known as little Tibet, and it is the focal point of Tibetan culture and buddism in Nepal. The stupa is 36 meters high and is one of the largest stupas in South Asia. It was once situated in the area of ancient trade route to Tibet. For centuries merchants from Tibet offered prayers and had a rest. Many decided to reside in and around Bouddhanath after they fled from Tibet in 1950’s. Hence, Bouddhanath has developed into a township. Best time to visit Bouddhanath is early morning and evening.
Changunarayan is the temple of Lord Vishnu – the Preserver, which is situated in the village of Changu in Bhaktapur. It is believed to be 1600 years old and is often described as the most ancient temple in the Kathmandu valley. The temple built around the 3rd century has some of the finest samples of wood, stone and metal craft in the valley. It is only 15 kilometres from Kathmandu city and a day is advisable to enjoy this beautiful Changu Narayan.
Pashupatinath is the holliest Hindu temple and pilgrimage destination in Nepal. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva-the destroyer, existed at this site in AD 879. However, the Malla Kings renovated in 1697. A gold plated roof, silver doors and the finest quality of woodcarvings decorate the pagoda style temple. River bagmati flows behind the temple and on the banks are raised platforms for cremating Hindus.
Kathamandu Durbar Square is located in the heart of the city, where also Kasthamandap lies, from which Kathmandu derives its name. It is believed Kasthamandap is the center point of the valley and was built from a single timber tree. There are many interesting monuments in this square. Kal Bhairab, erotic carvings, the red monkey god, chasin dega and the living Goddess are just a few examples. The valley was divided into three kingdoms, Bhaktapur, Patan and Kathmandu, which was ruled by the Malla Kings. All three kings were children of Yaksya Malla and had great rivalry between the three palaces.They were trying to outdo each other in magnificent constructions and copied everything, building even grander style. It was an artistic warfare. There are around 50 temples in Kathmandu Durbar Square vicinity. It is also worth to visit two museums inside the palace premise.
Patan Durbar Square and its surroundings exhibits excellent architecture which goes back during the Malla era. The ancient palace of the Malla kings and the stone baths connected with various legends and episodes or history is worth a visit and especially interesting to visitors. Royal bath, the Golden Temple, Krishna Temple, Hiranya Varna Mahavira and Sundari Chowk with its excellent architecture, intricate stone and bronze carvings are masterpieces in Patan Durbar Square vicinity.
Lumbini – Buddha, once a Prince Siddartha Gautam was born in the gardens of Lumbini in 623 BC. The main shrines of Lumbini are Mayadevi Temple, Ashokan pillar and the lake Sakya Puskarni, where Mayadevi is believed to have taken a bath before Siddartha Gautam was born and given her son her first purification bath. Lumbini is a holy ground for Buddhist all over the world. There are many remains of the ancient stupas and monasteries in the surrounding area, which are restored. Lumbini is about 300 km from Kathmandu, situated in a small town in the southwestern plains of Nepal. Lumbini also offers culture insights into the village life of southern Nepal,besides its significance in religion and history. In Lumbini village visitors will find culture center, tourist facilities, accommodations and restaurants. It is worthwhile a visit.
Royal Chitwan National Park, established in 1973, is one of the richest and most spectacular wildlife sanctuaries, situated 75 air miles south west of Kathmandu in tall grass land and magnificent forests. In this panoramic jungle setting, inside the 960 square km park is found some of the greatest wildlife in South East Asia. One horned Rhinos, several species of deer, sloth bear, wild boar, fresh water dolpins, bison, leopard, the marsh mugger and crocodiles, over 450 species of birds, 67 different kinds of butterflies and the elusive nocturnal Royal Bengal Tiger. Nowadays the National Park can be easily visited on all levels of budget.
Sagarmatha National Park was declared a Natural Heritage site in 1979, and it is the highest national park in the world. The entire park is situated above 3,000 mtr with its rugged mountains, glaciers, valleys and plenty of flora and fauna. There are 118 species of birds and 26 species of butterflies in this region. Animals such as himalayan thar, deer, langur monkeys, hares, himalayan wolves, foxes and martens are found here. There are also some endangered animals such as musk deer, red panda, snow leopard and himalayan black beer in this park. Buddhism is the main religion with rich Sherpa culture, magnificient landscapes, and highest point on earth with three peaks above 8,000 mtr including Sagarmatha (Mt.Everest).