World Heritage Sites of Nepal

Apparently incredible for its size, Nepal contains four World Heritage sites—two cultural and two natural heritage sites. Of them, the Kathmandu Valley and Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, are the cultural heritage sites. They are highly admired for their centuries-old traditions of art, culture and craftsmanship, as well as for numerous monuments of archaeological and historical importance. As for the natural heritage sites, both Sagarmatha National Park and Royal Chitwan National Park are home to many endangered beast and bird varieties. While Sagarmatha National Park boasts of accommodating Mt. Everest (8,850 m)—the highest point on earth, Royal Chitwan National Park gives shelter to such rare species as the Royal Bengal tiger, the Great One-horned rhino and gharial crocodiles. The Kathmandu Valley has been divided into seven monumental zones, all compacted within a radius of 20 km. Actually nowhere else can one find such a collection of heritage sites as in the bowl-shaped Valley. Given below is the list of Nepal’s exclusive heritage sites:


Kathmandu Durbar Square

The seat of royalty till the last century, Kathmandu Durbar Square is a wondrous cluster of ancient temples, palaces, courtyards and streets. The most noteworthy among them are the Hanuma- ndhoka palace complex, Kumari Dyochhen and the Taleju temple.

Even to date, all major state and social ceremonies, including the solemniza- tion of coronations, are carried out in one or the other courtyards within this complex. The royal enclave presently houses three museums. The monuments in and around the area are so mesmerizing that each appears more wondrous than the one next to it.

Swayambhunath Stupa

One of the world’s oldest Buddhist shrines, the stupa graces a hilltop, 77 meters above the Valley bottom. Situated six km to the west of the city-centre, this huge dome-like structure is surmounted by 13 gilded rings representing 13 Heavens and an elaborate canopy.

Pashupatinath temple

One of the most sacred Hindu shrin

es in the world, Pashupatinath lies five km northeast of Kathmandu. The two-storied pagoda houses a sacred lingum, or the phallic symbol of Lord Shiva. Although the temple dates back to the 4th century, it was brought into its present shape in the early 18th century. The temple is most noted for its gold-plated roofs and silver-coated doors.

Baudhanath Stupa

This is also known by Khasti, is one of the world’s largest stupas. The unique aspect of this great Buddhist monument is that it is set in the octagonal Mandala design. Hundreds of prayer wheels and the 108 images of the Buddha set into the niches around this huge structure make it even more mesmerizing. Another notable aspect of the area is the presence of about four dozen monasteries around it. Bouddha lies some six km to the east of the city centre.


Patan Durbar Square

  Nowhere else can be seen such a compressi   on of marvellous monuments within a limited space like in the Patan Durbar Square. Bes

ides the

 old royal palace, what dominates all others in grace and grandeur in this complex is the 17th-century Krishna Mandir.

Entirely made of st

one, this shikhara-style structure with 21 pinnacles is dedicated to Lord Krishna, a saviour deity in Hindu pantheon, and it

is equally noted for rare st

one carvings on its walls, which depict various episodes of the epic wars of Ramayan and Mahabharat. Other landmarks within the Square are Tusha-hity (water spout), Sundari Chowk, Taleju Temple and the Keshav Narayan Chowk. The Hiranyavarna Mahavihar (Golden temple), Rudravarna Mahavihar and the terra-cotta temple of Mahabouddha are other highlights in the vicinity.


Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Of the Valley’s three Durbar Squares, Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the best preserved one. Still emanating the medieval aura, this splendid palatial complex has its gems in such artistic masterpieces as the 55-Windows Palace, the Golden Gate, Golden Spout, the Taleju temple complex and Nyataponla—the Five-Storied temple—in the nearby Taumadhi Square. The 15th-century Dattatreya temple and the world famous Peacock Window at Tachapal, the terra-cotta windows at Tahamala and Nepal’s largest Shiva Lingum at Hanumanghat are also there to keep visitors spellbound.

Changu Narayan Temple

Seated atop a serene hilltop some six km north of Bhaktapur, the Changu Narayan temple, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu the Preserver, boasts of being the oldest pagoda in Nepal. Moreover, it in its brick-paved premises houses a stone inscription which, dated 424 AD, is believed to be the oldest of all such written records. While the two-storied temple’s main entrance is an excellent example of repose metal art, the many art-works scattered in and around the enclave embody ancient craftsmen’s flawless proficiency in wood, stone and metal.

Sagarmatha National Park

Sagarmatha National Park (1,148 sq km) encompasses Mt. Everest (8,850 m), the highest point on earth. Vegetation here includes pine and hemlock forests, fir, juniper, birch and rhododendron woods, scrub and alpine plant communities, and bare rock and snow. Wild animals that roam in this park are the Himalayan tahr, ghoral, serow and musk deer. The snow leopard and Himalayan black bear are present but rarely sighted. This is also home to the weasel, marten, Himalayan mouse hare (pika), jackal, and langur monkey.

Royal Chitwan National Park

Royal Chitwan National Park (932 sq km) covers a pristine area with a unique ecosystem of significant value to the world, containing the Churiya hills, ox-bow lakes and flood plains. Approximately 70% of the park vegetation is forest. The remaining vegetation types include grassland, reverie forest, and pine forest. There are more than 43 species of mammals in the park. It is highly noted for the endangered Great One-horned rhinoceros, Royal Bengal tiger, gharial crocodile, gaur, wild elephant, four-horned antelope, striped hyena, pangolin and Gangetic dolphin. Other animals found in the park include the hog deer, barking deer, sloth bear, palm civet, langur and rhesus monkey. There are over 450 species of birds in the park. Among the endangered birds are the Bengal florican, giant hornbill, lesser florican, black stork and white stork. Common birds seen in the park include the peafowl, red jungle fowl, and different species of egrets, herons, kingfishers, flycatchers and woodpeckers. More than 45 species of amphibians and reptiles have been recorded in the park, some of which are the marsh crocodile, cobra, green pit viper, and various species of frogs and tortoises.


Lumbini is the hallowed birthplace of Lord Buddha—the Apostle of Peace. The Enlightened One was born here over 2,500 years ago. The objects worth seeing here are the scattered ruins dating back to the days of the Buddha. The remains of historic palaces, monasteries, temples and above all, a stone kept by India’s great king Ashoka to pinpoint the exact birthplace of the Buddha are here to take you back by ages. Many countries including China, Germany, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the USA and Vietnam have built monasteries and stupas in the area. Lumbini is a recent addition in the roster of Nepal’s World Heritage sites.

Lumbini the birth place of Shakyamuni Buddha lies 300 km. south west of Kathmandu. Buddha’s birth place is arguably the single most important historical site in Nepal and the source of one of the world’s great religions. A veteran Asian traveller and author of several books writes, As millions of Christian look to Jerusalem for inspiration, as millions of Muslims turn to Mecca, so do three hundred million Buddhists seen in the sacred kingdom of Nepal, a pillar left by the great Emperor Ashoka to mark the site where Buddha was born”. The ‘sacred garden’ where Buddha was born contains all of Lumbini’s treasure; massive stone pillar erected by the emperor Ashoka in 250 BC. to pay homage to the birth place of Buddha is the oldest monuments in Nepal with the inscription recording Ashoka’s visit in 249 BC. The temple of Maya Devi, containing a stone relief depicting the birth scene of Bouddha, the famous pool of ‘Puskarani’ where the infant was given first purification bath, an eternal flame a fitting remembrance of the Light of Asia, Tibetan monasteries and Theravada monastery are the places of interest in Lumbini.

Sightseeing Places in Lumbini

Maya Devi Temple – A relief depicting the nativity; Ashoka Pilar – a stone pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka in 249 B.C. to mark the Buddha birthplace; Sacred Pond where Buddha’s mother took bath after giving birth; Eternal Peace flame; Water Canal; , Ancient Archaeological ruins; Myanmar Temple – A gleaming gold and white structure soaring in the sky; Gautami Nuns Temple – A replica of the Swayambhu Stupa; China Temple – An impressive gathering of pagodas and prayer room in the middle is placed a huge statue of Buddha; Korean Temple – A finest architectural representation of Korea; Bajrayana’s ritual place; Dharma Swami Vihara; Vietnamese temple.

Lumbini Museum – for Mauryan Kushana coins, religious manuscripts, terra-cotta, stone and metal sculpture and icons; Lumbini International Research Institute – provides 12,000 books and periodicals on religion, philosophy, art and architecture; IUCN Wetland Park – to see endangered Blue bulls, Sarus cranes and other wetland birds; Japanese Peace Stupa – Nepal’s tallest Buddha’s statue; Thai Temple; Sri Lankan Temple and Guest House, and 18 more monasteries from India, Germany, and many International Buddhist organizations.

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