Nepal is a country with a mixture of various cultural, natural and religious heritages. Heritage represents the arts, cultures and traditions of the nation. All of these cultural, natural and religious heritages are the property of our nation, so we need to preserve our treasures for the next generation. The melting points of rituals and religions, located between India and China, magical, mysterious and enchanting. It was only a few decades ago, an ancient Nepal opened its border, until then, due to the command of the Gorkha dynasty, a home of the divine was totally isolated. The foundation of Kathmandu formally known as Kirtipur, took place during the first third of eight century.
Nepal?s heritages sites are divided into three categories i.e. i) Natural heritage site ii) Cultural heritage site iii) Religious heritage site. See the heritage sites of Nepal by UNESCO listed below.
1) Natural Heritage Sites
- Chitwan National Park
- Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park
2) Cultural Heritages Sites
- Kathmandu Durbar Square
- Bhaktapur Durbar Square
- Patan Durbar Square
3) Religious Heritage Sites
- Changunarayan Temple
- Bouddhanatha Stupa
- Swayambhunatha Stupa (Swayambhu Maha Chitya)
- Pashupatinath Temple
Hindus Shrine “Pashupatinath Temple”
It is the biggest sacred Hindu temple of Nepal located on the bank of the Bagmati River, north east of Kathmandu city. It is a major pilgrimage site for Hindus who try to visit once in their lifetime. The architecture of the temple is Nepalese pagoda style having four main silver doors. It has a huge gold pinnacle which is a symbol of religious thought. Over the past years, only those born Hindu were allowed to enter the temple but nowadays the norms have been a changed due to many incidents. There are certain circumstances where it may be possible to enter as someone not born Hindu, but they are difficult to attain. Maha Shivaratri is one of the main festivals celebrated here in Pashupatinath temple where 700,000 Hindus devotee visit on this day from all parts of Nepal as well as India. Pashpatinath is the cremation site of many Hindus.
It is the oldest temple of Nepal according to epigraphic evidence; this was found to be the first temple premises in Nepalese history of the Lichhavi king Mandeva. It has many pieces of 5th and 12th century art and is a Hindu temple which is dedicated to lord Vishnu located east of Kathmandu city in the Bhaktapur district. This temple is surrounded by beautiful green forest with a small Newar village known as Changu village. Changunarayan temple has Nepal?s richest structure historically as well as artistically.
It is one of Nepal?s important and highly venerated Buddhist religious shrines. The site is located at the top of a hill in the Kathmandu valley. The stupa represents the body of Lord Buddha. It is surrounded by a beautiful forest where you will see a variety of trees. There are many monkeys living in the north-west of the stupa. Foreigners often call it Monkey Temple; local people call this stupa ?Swayambhu Maha Chitya.? Swayambhunath stupa contains a variety of temples, stupas, shrines, a museum, a library and a Tibetan monastery. It has Buddha?s semi-closed eyes facing north, south, east and west. It is believed that Lord Buddha is overlooking the Kathmandu valley from all four sides. The main entrance has 365 steps long steps to reach the top of the site.
It is also the most popular sightseeing destination for tourist along with Swayambhunath. Bouddhanath stupa is the Buddhist largest stupa in the world which dominates the skyline. It is also one of the Buddhist shrine sites inside Kathmandu valley. In 1979, it has been listed in UNESCO world heritage sites. The stupa is an ancient Tibet trade route to enter the Kathmandu valley from the northeast corner. In 1950s Tibetan refugees came to Nepal and decided to live in Bouddhanatha stupa. So, you will find mostly the Tibetan Buddhist around this stupa. They constructed over 50 Tibetan monasteries around Bouddhanath.
Lumbini “Birth place of Lord Buddha”
Lumbini is the Nepal?s biggest Buddhist pilgrimage site where Lord Buddha was born in 623 BC. In 1997, Lumbini has been listed in world heritage site by UNESCO. More than 400,000 visitors visit Lumbini every year. In third century BC, Ashoka Marurya erected the stone pillar which marks the exact spot that queen Maya Devi gave birth to the Lord Buddha in Lumbini. The shrine site of Lumbini is bounded by the large monastic zone where hotels, restaurants and lodges are strictly prohibited to build; only monasteries can built. The site has number of temples including Maya Devi temple, sacred garden and Pushkarni pond where the baby Siddhartha (who later attained enlightenment as ?Buddha?) was given first bath by his mother after his birth. Nowadays, Lumbini has been considered as the “Source of World Peace and the biggest Buddhist Holiest Pilgrimage destination of peace loving people from the world.”
Chitwan National Park (Ecological Diversity)
Chitwan National Park, also known as Royal Chitwan National Park is the first national park in Nepal. It was established in 1973 and granted the status of a world heritage site in 1984. It covers an area of 932 KM and it located in the subtropical inner Tarai lowlands of south-central Nepal in the Chitwan district.
The park consists of hilly areas of the Siwalik range covered by deciduous Sal forest. It also includes the flood plains of the Narayani, the Rapti and the Reu rivers covered by dense tall elephant grass with riverine forests of silk cotton (Kapok), acacia and Sisam tress. This ecologically diverse area is the home of more than 300 endangered Asian one-horned rhinoceros and rare Royal Bengal tiger. Moreover, Chitwan boasts of a great variety of flora and fauna. There are four species of deer, including the spotted chital (deer), leopard, sloth bears, wild boar, rhesus monkey, grey langur monkey, wild dog, small wild cats, the white stockinged gaur and many other animals. The swampy areas and numerous oxbow lakes of Chitwan provide a home for marsh crocodiles. Here also is found one of the world?s four species of fresh water dolphins. For the ornithologist and the amateur bird-watcher the park offers excellent possibilities with more than 450 species recorded. Some of the resident specialties are several species of wood peckers, horn bills, Bengal florican and red-headed trogons.
Sagarmatha National Park – Dominated by world highest Peak “Mount Everest”
Sagarmatha National park is situated in Solukhumbu district of eastern Nepal which is dominated by world highest peak ?Mount Everest?. The protected area was established in 1976 with its 1,148 km2. area. The park linked international border with Qomolangma National Nature Preserve in north side of Tibet and spreads to the Dudh Koshi River in the south. The height of the park ranges from 2,845 m (9,334 ft) to 8,848 m (29,029 ft) at the top of Mount Everest from the sea level. Sagarmatha is the Nepali name of ?Mount Everest?, the word derived from ?Sagar? means ?Sky? and ?Matha? means ?Head? in English. Mostly the area of park is rugged, steep and the terrain cut by the deep rivers and glaciers.
Kathmandu Dubar Square
Kathmandu Dubar Square is also one of the Nepal’s UNESCO world heritage site. It reflects the skills of Newari artists and craftsmanship over several centuries. It holds the places of the Malla and Shah Kings who ruled over city. It is known as Human Dhoka Square, a name derived from a statue of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram, at the entrance of the palace. Kathmandu durbar square is the site of the Hanuman Dhoka Palace complex, which was the Roayla Nepalese residence until the 19th century and where important ceremonies, such as the coronation of the Nepalese monarch, still take place today. The palace is decorated with elaborately carved wooden windows and panels and houses the king Tribhuwan Memorial Museum and the Mahendra Museum. Only a few parts of the palace are open for visitors and the Taleju temples are only open for people of Hindus and Buddhist faiths.
At the southern end of Durbar Square is one of the most curious attractions in Nepal, the Kumari House. This gilded cage contains the Raj Kumari a girl chosen through an ancient and mystical selection process to become the human incarnation of the Hindu mother goddess Durga. She is worshiped during religious festivals and makes public appearance at other times for a free paid to her guards.
Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square is situated at the center of Lalitpur city. It is one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu valley all of which are UNESCO world heritage sites. One of its attractions is the Ancient Royal Palace where Malla kings of Lalitpur resided. Patan is one of the oldest places known as Buddhist city. It is a center of both Hinduism and Buddhism with 136 bahals or courtyards and 55 major temples. Krishna temple is the most important temple in Patan Durbar Square. The temple was built in 1637 by King Siddhinarasimha Malla. There are 21 golden pinnacles in the temple. The square is crowded with thousands of Hindus pilgrims and devotees during Krishnaastami. Bhimsen temple was built by Srinivasa Malla in 1680. It is renowned for its three interconnected golden windows. Vishwanath temple dedicated to god Shiva was built in 1627 during the reign of Siddhinarasimha Malla. Taleju temple was built by Siddhinarasimha Malla in 1640 and rebuilt by Srinivasa Malla in 1667 after a fire.
The three main courtyards in the palace are Mulchowk and Keshav Narayan Chowk. Besides these courtyards, the complex boasts impressive temples, religious shrines and historical places, all noted for their exquisite carving and beautiful display of ancient Newari architecture. Mulchowk is the central courtyard. It is the most famous and largest courtyards among the three main Chowks. Sundari Chowk is to the south of the Mulchowk. The entrance of the Chowk is guarded by the stone statues of Hanuman, Ganesh and Narsingha, man-lion form of Vishnu. Keshav Chowk is towards the northern part with Degutale temple next to it.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur durbar square is one of the most visited artistic durbars square enlisted in UNESCO world heritage sites. Bhaktapur is the third ancient regal city of the 13km long from Kathmandu valley that was always being prospered trading between India, Tibet and China. Through the golden gate of Sun Dhoka is the old royal palace complex. The Taurana above the gate is richly gilded and features the ten armed goddess Taleju and a loyal guards. At one time, royal residency is where situated around the courtyard of which today only one bearing bastion under few artistic carving remains. On the edge of Durbar square is the palace of fifty five windows and master piece of traditional wood carving. This memorial phenol is dedicated to King Bhuptendra Malla. During construction, it was damage but was immediately rebuild. The beautiful temple is located in front of eastern area of the palace, was destroyed during the large earthquake but it was rebuild in 1911. The elongated and slightly slopping Takapala taller square is dominated by the huge three stories Dattatraya and pagoda. In the nearby eye, there is a building constructed in typical Newari style and features the famous peacock window. Of a square of the potters, everything is created from the black clay of a plotter and immediately offers for sale. The tallest pagoda in Nepal which is located on Durbar Square, this five storing temple is 13 meter high.