World Heritage Sites

There are 4 World Heritage Sites listed by UNESCO and four of them are located in Nepal. They are:
1.    Kathmandu Valley (Cultural),
2.    Lumbini, birthplace of Lord Buddha (Cultural).
3.    Chitwan National Park (Natural)
4.    Sagarmatha National Park (Natural),

1. Kathmandu Valley (The Cultural Heritage Site):
In the Kathmandu Valley there are seven major sites enclosed as major monuments they are: 
a. Kathmandu Durbar Square  b. Bhaktapur Durbar Square  c. Patan Durbar Square  d. Swoyambhunath     e. Pashupatinath  f. Bouddhanath  g. Changu Narayan
A.    Kathmandu Durbar Square:
Kathmandu Durbar Square in the heart of old Kathmandu city in Basantapur never fails to impress first time visitors with its intricate wood carvings and rich history. Surrounded by concrete buildings, the complex is an oasis in a fast developing, chaotic modern city. Once the residence of Nepal's Royal family, all coronation ceremonies were held here. The palace is an amalgamation of eastern and western architecture with additions by Rana and Shah Rulers over the centuries. An unbelievable 50 temples lie within the vicinity including the temple of the titular deity, Taleju Bhawani. The Durbar is divided into two courtyards, the outer Kasthamandap, Kumari Ghar, and Shiva-Parvati Temple, and the inner section consisting of Hanuman Dhoka and the main palace. Some floors have been converted to museums dedicated to three generations of Shah Kings. Most parts of the palace premises are open to tourists throughout the week.
Some important monuments to see in this area are:
- The Taleju Temple 
- The Jagannath Temple 
- The Kal Bhairav 
- Swet-Bhairav 
- Kumari Temple 
- Kaandasthamp 
- Nautalle Durbar (the nine storied palace)
B. Bhaktapur Durbar square:

The least busy among the durbar squares is Bhaktapur Durbar Square in the center of Bhaktapur city. Showcasing architecture that dates back to the Malla period, the square is the most charming, with wide open spaces that are off limits to vehicular traffic. In Bhaktapur you will see some of the finest medieval arts of Nepal. Of particular interest are: the Golden Gate, Fifty-five Windows and the beautiful statue of King Bhupatindra Malla mounted on a giant stone pillar. The Golden Gate was erected by King Ranjit Malla as the entrance to the main courtyard of the Fifty-five Window Palace. The Palace of Fifty-five Windows was built during the reign of King Yakshya Malla in 1427 A.D. and was re-modeled by King Bhupatindra Malla in the 17th Century. The Art Gallery has a fascinating collection of ancient manuscripts, thangkas, centuries-old stone sculpture, antique paintings that belong to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions of various periods. This gallery is open every day of the week except Tuesday.
C. Patan Durbar Square:
Patan Durbar Square complex is perhaps the most photographed of the three durbar squares. Located in the heart of Patan city, this was once the palace of the kings of Patan. The square is a display of Newari architecture that had reached its pinnacle during the reign of Malla kings who were great builders and patrons of the arts. The palace has three main courtyards: the central and the oldest is Mul Chowk. To the west of the complex are a dozen free standing temples of various sizes and built in different styles. A masterpiece in stone, the Krishna Temple, Bhimsen Temple, the Golden Temple of Hiranya Varna Mahavira and Sundari Chowk mark the artistic brilliance of the Newar craftsmen of that era. The Sundari Chowk with the sunken bath of Tusha Hiti showcases exquisite woodcarvings, stone and metal sculpture. Like the other palaces, Patan Durbar Square also houses a temple dedicated to Taleju Bhawani.
Some important monuments to see in this area are:
- The Golden Gate and golden windows of the old palace
- The famous Krishna Temple with 21 golden pinnacles.
- The bath with many carvings in stone at Sundari Chowk.
- The Taleju Bhawani Temple.
- The temple of Bhimsen with a magnificent golden balcony overlooking the square.
- Char-Narayan temple, which is among the finest examples of woodcarvings.
- Chyasi Debal
- Mangal Hiti
- Mul-Chock
D. Swoyambhunath:

Swoyambhu literally means 'Self-Existent One.' Swoyambhunath is believed to have been established more than 2,500 years ago. According to translations from an inscription dating back to 460 A.D., it was built by King Manadeva and by the 13th century, Swoyambhunath had developed into an important center of Buddhism.

Legend has it that Swoyambhu was born out of a lotus flower that bloomed in the middle of the lake which the Kathmandu valley once was. The largest image of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Nepal was recently built on the western boundary of Swoyambhu. Behind the hilltop is a temple dedicated to Manjushree or Saraswati - the Goddess of learning. Chaityas, statues and shrines of Buddhist and Hindu deities fill the stupa complex. The base of the hill is almost entirely surrounded by prayer wheels that were recently installed. Devotees can be seen circumambulating the stupa at all times.

The stupa sits atop the hill and the exceedingly steep stone steps leading up to the shrine is quite a challenge. However there is also a road going up almost to the top and you can drive up. A large numbers of Buddhists and Hindus alike visit Swoyambhunath through out the day. Swoyambhu is perhaps the best place to observe religious harmony in Nepal.
Some important monuments to see in this area:
-The huge gold plated Vajra ‘thunderbolt’ set in the east side of the stupa.
-Buddha statue on the west side of Swoyambhu.
-The sleeping Buddha.
-The temple dedicated to Harati, the goddess of all children. 
-The Dewa Dharma Monastery, noted for a bronze icon of Buddha and traditional Tibetan paintings.
E. Pashupatinath

The holiest shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, Pashupatinath is one of the four most important religious sites in Asia for devotees of Shiva. Built in the 5th Century and later renovated by Malla kings, the site itself is said to have existed from the beginning of the millennium when a Shiva Linga was discovered in the forest. The largest temple complex in Nepal, it stretches on both sides of the Bagmati River which is considered holy by Hindus.  The main pagoda style temple has a gilded roof, four sides covered in silver and wood carvings of the finest quality. Temples dedicated to several other Hindu and Buddhist deities surround the temple of Pashupatinath. Nearby is the temple of Guheshwori dedicated to Shiva's consort Sati Devi. Cremation of Hindus takes place on raised platforms and it is always in use. Only Hindus are allowed inside the gates of the main temple. The inner sanctum has a Shiva lingam and outside sits the largest statue of Nandi the bull, the vehicle of Shiva. There are hundreds of shiva lingams within the compound. The big Shivaratri festival in spring attracts hundreds of thousands of devotees from within Nepal and from India.
 F. Bauddhanath
 The awesome structure of Bouddhanath is indeed inspiring. The 36-meter-high stupa of Bouddhanath is one of the largest stupas in South Asia. With countless monasteries surrounding it, Bouddhanath is the center of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. Built in the shape of a Mandela designed to replicate the Gyangtse of Tibet, the stupa was renovated by Licchavi rulers in the 8th Century. The location of the stupa is interesting as it once lay on the ancient trade route to Tibet and it was here that Tibetan merchants rested and offered prayers for centuries. Boudha even today has a strong Tibetan presence as countless Tibetan refugees found a home around the stupa.  On top is the harmika and on each side are painted the all seeing eyes of the Buddha symbolizing awareness. The canopy has thirteen stages. At ground level there is a brick wall with 147 niches and 108 images of the meditational Buddha inset behind copper prayer wheels.
G. Changu Narayan:
Perched on a hill and visible from miles around, the Changu Narayan temple stands majestically above the rice fields of Bhaktapur. Dedicated to Vishnu, the Preserver the temple’s origins go back to the 4th century. A fifth century stone inscription in the temple proclaims it as one of the oldest shrines of the Kathmandu Valley. The temple is a showcase for Newari art and architecture of the early century. The stone, wood, and metal craft found here are exemplary.

On the struts of the two-tiered Changu Narayan Temple, are ten incarnations of Narayan. And a 6th Century stone statue shows the cosmic form of Vishnu. Garuda, half man and half bird, is the vehicle of Vishnu, and his life-size statue kneel before the temple.
Some important sculptures of Vishnu seen here are:
-Vishwaroop Vishnu
-Vishnu Vikranta
-Vishnu riding on the Garuda (the mythical bird) (Krisna Abatar)
-Narsimha Vishnu 


2. Lumbini (The Cultural Heritage Site):
Lumbini associated with the birth of Lord Buddha is of immense archeological and religious importance and also a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site. It is said that Prince Siddhartha Gautam, who later became Buddha the ‘Enlightened One’, was born in the gardens of Nepal the Lumbini in 623 B.C. The main shrines of Lumbini are the newly restored Mayadevi Temple, the Ashoka Pillar behind the temple and the Lake Shakya Puskarini where Mayadevi is said to have bathed before delivering the little Buddha into the world.

Several other places near Lumbini are linked with stories connected to Buddha and Buddhism. Lumbini is about 300 kilometers south-west of Kathmandu. Buses and flights to Bhairahawa (which is about 22 kilometers from Lumbini) are available from major cities. From Bhairahawa transport services to Lumbini are easily available. There are sufficient hotels and restaurants in Lumbini and Bhairahawa.

 
3. Chitwan National Park (The Natural Heritage Site):
The Chitwan National Park is the first National Park of Nepal. It lies at the foot of Himalayas in the inner Tarai’s lowland of Chitwan. The area of the national park is of 932 sq. km and is the most preserved conservation area of the all Asia. The park is rich in flora and fauna and has a fascinating variety of mammals and birds. The park preserves some of the last habitats for endangered species like the Greater one-horned rhinoceros and the Royal Bengal tiger. This National Park is famous for wild life adventure and safari in world’s tourism industries.  It was the reserve at the beginning and was designated a national park in 1973 and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
 
4. Sagarmatha National Park (The Natural Heritage Site):
The Sagarmatha National Park lies in northeast Nepal in to the large part of Everest Region (the trekking and conservation area) which covers several rugged mountains, glaciers, valleys and is crowned by the world’s highest mountain The Mt. Everest at 8,848 m. The area of national is around 1148 sq. km which extends across the region’s river areas and is also known as the homeland of Sherpas in Khumbu. Much of the land is covered by forest of rhododendron, birch, pine trees, juniper and silver fir up to an altitude of 4,000 m. Snow leopard, royal pandas, lynx, are seen in the national park as the rare mammals. The bird verities like snow cock, snow pigeon, and different species of pheasants are also found as rare birds in this area. This area is also famous for Everest Region Trekking Area and the conservation collects a certain entry fees through trekkers. The National Park is listed as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979.