World Heritage Sites of Nepal
by Jayaram Thapaliya · Updated August 18, 2023
Though Nepal is a relatively small country, it has 10 remarkable UNESCO world heritage sites. So it’s the fortune of Nepal that enriches 10 heritage sites. So far, UNESCO has identified 10 historical sites of Nepal as World Heritage Sites. Among them, 8 are cultural heritage sites while 2 of them are natural heritage sites. Interestingly, there are man-made sites that are more than 200 years old. Thousand of tourists come to visit for world heritage sites tour in Nepal.
Let’s look at all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites that belong to Nepal and how to do a tour.
Table of Content
- Kathmandu Durbar Square
- Patan Durbar Square
- Bhaktapur Durbar Square
- Chitwan National Park
- Sagarmatha National Park
1.Kathmandu Durbar Square
The Kathmandu Durbar(Royal Palace) Square is an ancient royal courtyard that lies in Kathmandu. Inside this Kathmandu Durbar, many Hindu deities’ temples are standing. Most of the buildings of it were constructed from the 15th – 18th centuries, but some of them are under maintenance as it is damaged by Earthquake(2015). It has other names Basantapur Durbar Square and Hanuman Dhoka.
When was Kathmandu Durbar Square enlisted in World Heritage sites?
In 1979, Kathmandu Durbar Square was enlisted in the world heritage site. It was built between the 12th and 18th centuries by the Malla kings. It was a Royal Residency till the 19 century and a place for several royal ceremonies and King’s coronation.
How to get to Kathmandu Durbar Square?
Among the various routes, the easiest way is to begin your excursion from Thamel. From Thamel, take a road that leads to Chatrapati Chowk and follow the street that leads you to Ason. From Ason, take the path to Indra Chowk and head towards Bishal Bazaar. Some minute walking from Bishal Bazar, you’ll reach Kathmandu Durbar square.
What are the Highlights of Kathmandu Durbar Square?
- Pagoda style temples
- Ancient Royal residences
- Fine metal, stone, and woodwork created by Newari artisans
- Kumari Temple
2. Patan Durbar Square
8km South-east of Kathmandu, the Patan Durbar Square is situated. It is considered the oldest city of Kathmandu Valley. The main highlight of this palace is the finest Newari Craftsmanship. Both Hindus and Buddhist monuments are scattered around this ancient royal palace.
Relatively Patan Durbar Square is smaller than Kathmandu Durbar Square but it is richer in Architectural monuments.
When was Patan Durbar Square enlisted in World Heritage sites?
In 1979 AD, the Patan Durbar Square was enlisted as a World Heritage Site. Likewise Kathmandu Durbar Square, the Patan Durbar Square is an ancient Royal Palace. It lies in the Lalitpur district of Nepal and is one of the sites of Kathmandu Valley.
How to get to Patan Durbar Square?
As it is far from Kathmandu, it is wise to take road transportation. It means either we can take a taxi or we can also use a public bus. But it is very wise to take a taxi to get to Patan Durbar. It takes around 20 minutes if there is no traffic Jam.
Among the various options to get Patan Durbar Square from Thamel- Kathmandu, Taxi is the easiest way to transport. It is not expensive and also saves your precious travel time. However if you prefer Local Bus, you can get it from Ratnapark. The Ratnapark is just 20 minutes far by waking.
What are the Highlights of Patan Durbar Square?
- Ancient Hindu temples, and Buddhist monasteries
- Palace of the popular temple such as Krishna Temple, Golden Temple, and Kumbeshwar Temple
- Patan Palace Museum
3. Bhaktapur Durbar Square
13km east of Kathmandu, there is an ancient royal palace known as Bhaktapur Durbar Square. It has another name “Bhadgaon”. Mostly it is popular for 55 Windows Palace and five-story Nyatapola Temple. Bhaktapur city is famous for preserving and showcasing the traditional Newari lifestyle.
The Bhaktapur Durbar square is a combination of Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square, Durbar Square, and Pottery Square. It is one of the most peaceful, pristine durbar squares among the three Durbar squares that lie in Kathmandu Valley.
Grand temples, sophisticated ancient architecture, enrich culture and history. Try pottery and potters square, eat some authentic Newari cuisine along with the nation-wide famous curd(Juju Dhau).
How to get to Bhaktapur Durbar Square?
You can take a taxi from Thamel to Bhaktapur and it takes around 45 minutes to get there. Public bus services are also available but it is timely.
What are the highlights of Bhaktapur Durbar Square?
- 55 Windows Palace
- Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla
- Art Gallery with antiques and temples of stone and wood carvings
- Resplendent Golden Gate
- Peacock Window, the Woodcarving Museum, and the Brass & Bronze Museum.
The Pashupatinath Temple is the first listed world heritage sites of Nepal. It was enlisted in 1979.
The word “Pashupatinath” is one of the names of Lord Shiva. And the Pashupatinath temple is one of the biggest temples for Hindus. It is located on the bank of the Bagmati River. Inside this temple, only Hindus are allowed. During the Hindus occasions such as Teej and Shivaratri, 100 thousand people visit here.
The Pashupatinath temple is surrounded by a variety of smaller temples, ashrams, and sculptures. Tourists can observe the various rituals, ceremonies, and funerals.
In short, the Swayambhunath is a Buddhist stupa which is located central to Kathmandu. Though its official name is Syambhunath, among the foreigners it is known as Monkey Temple.
It is an ancient religious temple for both Hindu and Buddhist practitioners. Mostly Swayambhunath’s iconography comes from the Vajrayana tradition of Newar Buddhism.
As it’s located on a hill, the views of the city from Swayambhu is impressive. This site is of great significance to Tantric Buddhists. It is believed that the Syambunath was founded at the beginning of the 5th Century.
Among the list of world heritage sites, the Baudhanath Stupa is one of the oldest and biggest monuments. It was founded in 600 AD by King Songtsen Gompa of Tibet. The structure of it’s built around the 5th century A.D and has 36m high unique three-level mandala style structure.
Located 12 Km east of Kathmandu in Dolagiri Hill of Bhaktapur district, Changunarayan is the least visited world heritage sites of Kathmandu Valley. It is the temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. This site is surrounded by Champak forests and a traditional settlement of the Newari ethnic community. The oldest stone inscription ever discovered in Kathmandu Valley, dating back to 464 AD, is preserved in the temple.
The Changunarayan temple features various sculptures of Lord Vishnu, statues of King Bhupendra Malla, Chinnamasta Devi Temple, Kileshwar Shiva Temple, etc. The stone inscriptions and pillars along with the temple and also its various statues have recorded history 464 AD.
Lumbini( the birthplace of Lord Buddha) was enlisted as a UNESCO site. It is the main destination for Buddhist pilgrimages. The Lumbini consists of many monasteries, museums, and monuments. In 1997, the Lumbini was enlisted as a World Heritage Site.
9. Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park is located in the Terai region. It is a habitat to a host to wild animals such as Tiger, Rhino, Sloth Bears, Gharials, and many more. The Chitwan National Park is for sheltering the endangered one-horned rhinoceros and Royal Bengal tiger. It is home to Sloth Bears, Gharials, and Wild elephants.
Furthermore, Chitwan National Park is also one of the best spots for bird watching.
10. Sagarmatha National Park
Sagarmatha National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an exceptional area with dramatic Himalayas, Glaciers, and Deep valleys. Nonetheless, it is dominated by Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world (8,848 m). Sherpas with their unique culture, adds further interest to this national park.
The most recognizable part of the Sagarmatha National Park is Mount Everest, the highest peak(roof of the world).
This national park is expanded over an area of 1,148 sq. km and it’s home to a diverse variety of Himalayan flora and fauna such as rhododendrons, silver fir, blue pine, birch, and so on.
Located on the roof of the world, the Sagarmatha National Park is home to popular tourist activities such as trekking and expeditions. It covers Everest Base Camp Trek and Gokyo Lakes Trek which are choices of many Nepal visitors. Inside this national park, several rare species such as the snow leopard, lynx, snow cock, pheasant, snow pigeon, and the lesser panda live.
When was Sagarmatha National Park enlisted in World Heritages sites?
In 1979, the Sagarmatha National Park was enlisted in world heritage sites. It was declared a national park in 1976 and its first national park in Nepal. Just 3 years after the national park declaration, it’s designated for UNESCO sites.