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All Ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nepal Explained

If there is one thing that you shouldn’t miss exploring during your visit to Nepal, it’s World Heritage Sites in Nepal. These World Heritage Sites in Nepal give you a great deal of information about the country, whether it be about their cultures, ancient art and architecture, history, and even about the natural attractions that the country is so widely known for.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites are only a few among the many reasons to come to Nepal. You will be surprised at the numerous options that the country will present to you when it comes to things to do here. You will not just be entertained but also gain a lot of memories to take back home.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nepal

1. Boudhanath Stupa

Baudhanath Stupa is considered as the most prominent Buddhist pilgrimage site in Nepal, especially by the followers of Tibetan Buddhism, and a remarkable World Heritage Sites in Nepal. There is an interesting story behind the former belief. Kathmandu has always been linked with Tibet economically. So, whenever the Tibetan traders visited Nepal, they would make sure to pay homage to Baudhanath Stupa. Years later, when the Tibetans were forced to leave their homes, many of them came and settled in and around Baudhanath Stupa.

boudhanath stupa

The people of Tibetan descent are still found around that area. The only difference is that they proudly call themselves Nepalese. Baudhanath Stupa is built on a mandala; it is the largest spherical stupa in Nepal. There are nearly 50 gompas built around the stupa. Altogether, the area is known as Baudhanath complex. It was inducted into the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1979. The complex was established by a Lichchhavi King known as Sivadeva in the late 6th century. And since then, it has gone through various remodels and rebuilds. It’s beauty and the peaceful surrounding attracts thousands of tourists every year.

2. Swayambhu Stupa

Swayambhunath Stupa is regarded as the most significant Buddhist pilgrimage site in Nepal by the followers of Newari Buddhism, and a major World Heritage Sites in Nepal. Newars are the people who are indigenous to Kathmandu Valley. Swayambhunath stupa is situated on the top of a hill, and as a matter of fact, is a part of a temple complex consisting of so many smaller temples, chortens and other religious structures. The complex is also known as the monkey temple, probably because of a huge population of monkeys that live in and around the complex.

Swayambhunath stupa

It is believed that the temple was established by a Lichchhavi ruler named King Vrsadeva in the earth 5th century. Since then, it has undergone numerous rebuilds and changes. The structure of the stupa and the symbolism are the features that amaze a lot of tourists who visit the temple complex. At the base, there is a semi sphere done, on top of which there is a cubical structure with eyes painted on them, on all four sides. These are topped with thirteen pinnacles altogether. Overall, the stupa symbolizes the awakening of a man from a deep sleep, and the process of gaining enlightenment in his life.

3. Lumbini

Lumbini is considered to be one of the holiest places in Nepal, and a major Buddhist pilgrimage site. It is regarded as the birthplace of Gautam Buddha. Lumbini is famous for Mayadevi temple, which is built on the same spot where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Gautam Buddha. Right in front of the temple is a holy pond. It is the same pond where Mayadevi took her first bath after giving him birth. Quite near to the temple is the Ashokan Pillar. It is considered to have been built by King Ashoka of the Maurya empire in India, during his visit to Nepal in the 3rd century BC.

mayadevi temple

Realizing the holy stature of the place, so many countries and organizations have established monasteries, and other religious heritages in Lumbini. All of them are dedicated to Gautam Buddha, and Buddhism altogether. A few of these heritages are Myanmar Golden Temple, World Peace Pagoda, China Temple, Dharma Swami Maharaja Buddha Vihar, and so on. During you visit to Lumbini, you have to try and visit all of these places. If you want to know more about Buddhism and Gautam Buddha, you could make a visit to the Lumbini Museum.

4. Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park is one of the most visited protected areas in Nepal. The park offers the tourists so many activities to get indulged in. One of the best ways to take a tour of Chitwan National Park is to go on an elephant ride. You can also go for other jungle safari options such as jeep ride and canoe ride. A lot of people mainly the researchers also tend to hike inside the park. However, in order to do so,you need to take special permission, and be accompanied by an experienced guide. Apart from taking a tour of the park, you can try other activities as well, for instance, elephant bath, where you help the mahouts give a bath to the elephants, and in return, they spray gallons of water on you through their trunks.

jungle safari in chitwan national park

You could also visit elephant breeding farm, to witness these giant creatures in all the stages of their life. There is also a museum in the area, which you can visit if you want to know more about the history of the park, and the animals present in them. One of the activities that you shouldn’t miss out is the cultural performance, songs and dance, of the local Tharus. These are people indigenous to the region.

5. Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square is popular because of the numerous historical, cultural and religious heritages that it houses. It is a complex consisting of a palace, temples and courtyards. The square was established in around 3rd century, during the time of the Lichchhavis. Since then, there have been many rebuilds and constructions, mainly to add the heritages. During your visit to the square, you will come across temples such as Taleju Temple, Vishnu temple, Indrapur Temple, Kotilingeshwara Mahadev Temple, and so on. If you’re interested in history and want to know more about the area and the country, you could visit King Tribhuvan Memorial Museum and Mahendra Museum.

kathmandu durbar square

One of the most interesting things about Kathmandu Durbar Square is that it is home to Kumari temple, which is the home of Kumari, the only living goddess in the world. She is worshipped on the auspicious occasion of Indra Jatra. The palace in the Kathmandu Durbar Square complex served as the place of residence for many generations of royal families who ruled over Kathmandu. They moved out after Singha Durbar was built.

6. Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Quite like Kathmandu Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square is also a complex of a palace, temples and courtyards. Before the takeover by the Shah Dynasty, the Malla rulers treated the palace as their place of residence. Considering the design of the squares, one can see that Bhaktapur Durbar Square is more spacious than the other two Durbar Squares. It is because of the two devastating earthquakes that destroyed the numerous heritages within the complex. One of them occurred in the year 1934, and the other one occurred in 2015.

bhaktapur durbar square

Few of the significant attractions of Bhaktapur Durbar Square are Vatsala temple, Bhairav Nath Temple, Mini Pashupatinath Temple, Golden Gate, Lion’s Gate, Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, and so on. Tourists find Nyatapola Temple and 55 windows palace quite interesting to explore. The former one is a 5 storeyed temple, and the latter one actually has 55 windows. The are four major palace squares in the complex. They are called Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square and Pottery Square. The palace square tells the history of this ancient city.

7. Patan Durbar Square

Kathmandu Valley has three cities – Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur. Each of these cities have their own palace squares. They are known as Kathmandu Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Patan Durbar Square. A long time ago, these cities were ruled by three different kings, however, all three of them were brothers. The three kingdoms didn’t just share brotherhood, but so many other things as well. It is for the same reason that you will find so many structural similarities between the three Durbar Squares. Quite like the other two, this one also has a palace, numerous temples and courtyards.

patan durbar square

These heritages are the prime examples of Newari art and architecture. Few of the major temples in the palace square are Taleju Bhawani Temple, Bhimsen Temple, Vishwanath Temple, and so on. Krishna Mandir is the most prominent one among them. It is dedicated to Hindu God Lord Krishna. It receives quite a lot of visitors and pilgrims during Krishna Janmashtami. Despite the fact that there are so many temples dedicated to Hinduism, for a long time, Patan has also been a center of Buddhism.

8. Pashupatinath Temple

Pashupatinath Temple is probably the most significant Hindu pilgrimage site in Nepal. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is a major Hindu deity. Often called the destroyer, he is one-third of holy trinity as per Hindu mythology. The temple receives visitors throughout the year, but their number is high especially during Shivaratri, which generally occurs in the month of February. Pashupatinath Temple is a complex with so many other smaller temples and religious structures located inside of it.

pashupatinath temple

There is also an old age home, a crematorium, and a special house that serves as a resting spot for individuals who are at the brink of their death, inside the complex. The holy river Bagmati flows through the area, and it is on its banks that the dead bodies are burned and the final rituals are observed. The temple was established in around 750 CE, by a Lichchhavi King known as Prachanda Dev. The temple was inducted in the UNESCO World Heritage List in the year 1979. During your visit to the Pashupatinath Temple, you will get to witness temples such as Vasuki Nath Temple, Surya Narayan Temple, and so on.

9. Sagarmatha National Park

Sagarmatha National Park is one of the richest national parks of Nepal, from the perspective of flora, fauna, and other natural spectacles. The two major activities that Sagarmatha National Park is famous for, are trekking and mountaineering. The park is home to Mount Everest, which is the highest mountain in the world. It is to view these mountains up close that trekkers from all over the world come to this region, and trek through the hills and forests. Now, despite the fact that mountaineers can climb Mt. Everest from the northern face in China, majority of them prefer climbing it from the southern face, which happens to be in Sagarmatha National Park.

Apart from that you will find so many other natural heritages in the park. Some of them are Gokyo Lakes, Khumbu Icefall, Gokyo Ri, Kala Patthar, Chhukung Ri, Kongma La, Cho La, Renjo La, and so on. The other prominent peaks in the region include Ama Dablam, Nuptse, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, and so on. You will also have a great time visiting the villages inside the park. Some of the major ones are Namche Bazaar, Lukla, Tengboche, Gokyo, Khumjung, and so on.

10. Changunarayan Temple

Changunarayan Temple is one of the most visited and highly regarded temples in Nepal. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is a prominent Hindu God. Also known as the preserver, he is one-third of the holy trinity. The temple is situated in the district of Bhaktapur, and quite like Swayambhunath, it is located on top of a hill. Towards the bottom of a hill is a forest, which is called Champak forest. It is named after Princess Champak from Kashmir, who married the then prince of Bhaktapur. Though the temple is a holy pilgrimage site for the Hindus, anyone, following any faith, can make a visit.

changunarayan temple

The temple is actually a complex with so many smaller temples and religious structures. Two of the temples are Kileshwar Temple and Chinnamasta Temple. You will also spot sculptures like that of Vishworup, Narsimha, Garuda Narayan, and so on. All these are the different forms of Lord Vishnu. If you’re really interested in Hindu mythology and culture, and want to know more about the temple and its history, you could visit the museum or information center situated nearby. It’s a great feeling visiting the temple premises.

To explore the world heritage sites of Kathmandu, you can check our package: Kathmandu UNESCO Heritage Site Tour

#Bonus Point 

Day Tour in Nepal

There are so many day tour in Nepal options. The major difference between a day tour and a regular tour is that day tour generally lasts for a period of one day, however, regular tours can last for numerous days. One of the prime examples of day tour is Nepal is Food tour in Nepal. When you’re in Kathmandu, you can go for a walk around the old city, which is the area around Kathmandu Durbar Square.

 Yoga retreat

In the nooks and corners, you will find numerous shops selling local delicacies. Whether you go around the place during the morning, afternoon or evening, you’ll definitely find something to tingle your taste buds. The same thing implies in case of Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square. By going on a food tour, you don’t just get to explore the mouthwatering local food, but also the numerous religious and historical heritages.

For all our day trip packages, you can check: Day Trips in Nepal

Cultural Tour in Nepal

Nepal is a diverse country. There’s diversity in flora and fauna, geographical landscapes, and other spectacles of nature. On top of everything, you’ll witness a great amount of diversity in people. They follow different religions, belong to different castes and backgrounds. It’s a great experience to get to know about them altogether. Cultural tour in Nepal allows you to come in contact with the locals, spend your time with them, interact with them, and experience the cultures followed by them first hand.

Cultural Tour in Nepal

There are so many remote villages where you can reach by trekking, and instead of living in hotels, you could live in homestays. This way, you get to live a part of their lives. A lot of times, these families welcome tourists during festivals. If you happen to stay with them during special occasions, you also get to celebrate these events the way they do.

You might like our cultural tour package: Nepal Cultural Tour With Himalayan Vista

Kathmandu Valley Tour

Any tourist who visits Nepal makes sure to visit Kathmandu city, and moreover Kathmandu Valley. It is mainly because of two reasons. The first one is that Kathmandu is the only point of entrance into the country, especially if you’re arriving here by air. So, it’s obvious for them to take a look around when they’re in the city. The second one is that it is the oldest city in Nepal, with so many historical, religious and cultural heritages. As mentioned above, the valley of Kathmandu has three cities in it – Kathmandu, which is the capital, Patan, and Bhaktapur.

When you walk around the old neighborhoods here, you will find so many similarities among the three. These cities are only a couple of miles apart, so, you could cover all these places in one day. Or, if you want, you could go on Kathmandu Valley tour in a more relaxed manner, by spending a couple of days, or even more. There are so many things to do in or around Kathmandu Valley.

Visit Nepal 2020

If you’re someone who’s never visited Nepal, the year 2020 is the right time to do so. Few of the main reasons to visit Nepal are the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nepal. Altogether, there are 10 World Heritage sites in Nepal, and these include sites with historical religious, cultural and natural importance. Among the 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 7 happen to be in Kathmandu. The UNESCO World Heritage sites in Kathmandu tell you a great deal about the history of Kathmandu valley.

Apart from this, the government of Nepal and the other members of the tourism industry in Nepal have launched the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign. As per the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign, tourists are offered exciting offers in travel packages and other tour related services. It makes sense to cash this opportunity, and take a tour of this magical country.

Tourist Arrivals Rise

While the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu are more historical and religious, World Heritage Sites in Nepal, i.e. the ones outside the valley are mainly close to nature, and so, they consist of numerous natural spectacles. As per your interests, you could decide which World Heritage Sites in Nepal you’d like to cover during your visit here. As mentioned above, there are so many activities that you can enroll yourself in apart from visiting these World Heritage Sites in Nepal. Few of the activities that the tourists so dearly prefer are the numerous adventure sports. Whatever the case, make sure to take a tour of Nepal during your upcoming holidays.

Great Nepal Treks is a reliable, experienced and affordable travel and tour operator. They have been actively working in the field of tourism for decades, and they are one of proud promoters of Visit Nepal 2020 campaign. Trekking and Expedition are two activities that they specialize in. They can prove to be the best service providers especially if you’re coming to Nepal for any of these activities. If you’re not quite into challenging things to do as such, you can try one of their luxury tour options. These options include jungle safari, cultural tour, food tour, helicopter tour, and so many more.

One of the most popular ones is the World Heritage Sites in Nepal tour. What makes Great Nepal Treks’ services different from that of others is their focus on client satisfaction. In order to achieve that, they allow their clients to suggest changes to the itinerary. They even apply these changes as far as practicable. They offer exciting packages that feature interesting tourist destinations from countries like Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. If you’re looking to visit these places, and try one of these activities, make sure to contact Great Nepal Treks as your travel partner. You will absolutely love the travel experience.

About the author

Great Nepal Treks and Expedition welcomes you to the land of the Himalayas, where adventure and surprise await even the most casual traveler. Whether you’re interested in performing adventurous sports, exploring nature, or savoring a local culture, Nepal is a land that will take you there and beyond. Our peculiar traditions, cultures, ethnic groups, nature, biodiversity, flora and fauna, society, and various communities will fill your heart, and the selfless smiles of the Nepali people will warm your soul. At Great Nepal Treks and Expeditions, we have put together customized itineraries, from simple day tours to complex mountain treks for both beginners & professionals. We pride ourselves on being experts at taking the hassle out of traveling in the remote outback of Nepal. Our offerings can be enjoyed as planned, or we can customize any option to fit your time schedule, budget, and particular interest. Please visit our reviews page to see what travelers have had to say about their experience with us. Join us and feel the difference!

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