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Heritage Sites in Nepal to visit in 2024

The United Nations governing body UNESCO defines a world heritage site as a place that belongs to all the people in the world. There are four world heritage sites in Nepal. Two are in the cultural category and two are in the natural category. World Cultural Heritage Sites of Nepal are Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, and seven monuments of Kathmandu valley within a radius of 20km (together counted as one Heritage Site). The World Natural Heritages Sites are Chitwan and Sagarmatha National Parks, Kathmandu Valley World Heritage comprises three historical palaces – Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur Durbar Squares; two Buddhist Stupas- Swayambhunath and Bauddhanath; and two Hindu temples Pashupatinath and Changu Narayan. Nepal offers incomparable scope to connoisseurs of art and culture to see and study different aspects of fine arts in its paintings, sculpture, wood carving, and architecture.

Pashupatinath Temple

Pashupatinath Temple is the largest and holiest shrine for Hindus. This heritage Site in Nepal, situated on the bank of the Bagmati River was built in the 5th century There are around 492 temples, 15 Shivalayas (shrines of Lord Shiva), and 12 Jyotirlinga (phallic shrines) to explore. No entrance fee is charged for SAARC nationals to enter the temple. Although only Hindus are allowed to enter the temple, visitors can clearly see the temple and the activities performed on the temple premises from the eastern bank of the Bagmati River.

Boudhanath Stupa

Boudhanath Stupa is one of the largest stupas in South Asia. It is the central hub of Buddhism in Nepal which is surrounded by hundreds of monasteries. Lichchavi rulers renovated the staple during the 8th century, which has made the shape of a Mandala.

Swyambhunath Stupa

Swayambhunath is one of the most glorious, holiest, and oldest Stupa in the world. It is located on a small hillock in west Kathmandu hence commanding an excellent view of the valley. The stupa was built in 460 A.D. by King Manadeva, and is also known by the name “Monkey Temple”.

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of the three Durbar Squares of Kathmandu Valley. The Malla king Pratap Malla erected the statue of Hanuman (the Hindu god of power) in this place and it was named Hanuman Dhoka.  Taleju Temple, Tribhuvan Museum, the house of Kumari (Living Goddess), Kasthamandap, the temple of Kal Bhairav along with a few other temples are some places to explore.

Patan Durbar Square

Patan is also known as Lalitpur, the “City of Beauty”, and its unique Durbar Squares, temples, cuisine, the hospitality the city, and is located just across the Bagmati river from Kathmandu. Patan also boasts a Durbar Square full of temples like Baglamukhi, Krishna, Mahaboudha, Golden, Rudravarna Mahavihar, Machchhendranath, Kumbheshwar, and Bhimsen. It also has an Ashok Stupa and Patan Museum.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a combination of the pagoda and shikhara-style temples, mostly dedicated to Hindu gods and goddesses grouped around a 55-window palace of brick and wood. It is an ancient Newar city in the east corner of the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, about 8 miles (13 km) from the capital city. Bhaktapur has the best-preserved palace courtyards and old city center in Nepal and is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Changunarayan Temple

The oldest temple of Nepal has been started around 1700 years of history, named “Changu Narayan”. Approximately 22 km away from Kathmandu Valley, Changu Narayan temple is perched on a high hilltop of a small village, known as Changu Village. Besides the hill, the flowing Manahara River gives a pleasing view. , it was built in the 4th century during the Lichhavi Dynasty and remodeled in 1702 after a major fire occurred.

The temple was built neither in shikhara style nor in pagoda but consists of a double-roofed, dedicated to Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Narayan and held in special admiration by the Hindu people.

Nepali architecture remains a major landmark with regally embossed works. The main statue in the sanctum is devoted to Hindus as a Garuda Narayan. The only priest is permitted to see the statue. The statue of Lord Vishnu seated on a Garuda is located to the north of the temple which was sculptured back in the 9th century. On the way to the temple, a private museum is located, “ChanguMuseum”, which has a collection of ancient tools, coins, architecture, and art.

Chitwan National Park

The Chitwan National Park (CNP) is a world heritage property, and it also contains a Ramsar Site – Beeshazari Tal in its buffer zone. The CNP has a history of over 3 decades in park management and rich experience in resolving conflicts between the park and the people.

It is a rich natural area in the Terai, the subtropical southern part of Nepal. A total of 68 species of mammals, 544 species of birds, 56 species of herpetofauna, and 126 species of fish have been recorded in the park. The park is especially renowned for its protection of One Horned Rhinoceros, Royal Bengal Tiger, and Gharial Crocodile.

Sagarmatha National Park

The Sagarmatha National Park, located in the Khumbu region, is home to rare species of wildlife like the snow leopard, musk deer, and red panda. The region is also renowned for the highest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest. Namche Bazaar, also known as the Sherpa capital, has facilities such as ATMs, bakeries, and even the world’s highest bar. The Everest region of Nepal is famous around the world for its treks and stunning natural beauty. Thousands of trekkers and travelers join expeditions to the summit of the world every year. The famous Everest Base Camp (EBC) trek, which begins from Lukla, offers some of the most breathtaking views despite being one of the toughest treks. You can get to Lukla from Kathmandu by a 25-minute flight. Alternatively, you can fly to Phaplu airport, near the headquarters of Solukhumbu district, and take the Junbesi trekking route to Lukla. You can also reach Junbesi by boarding a mini-bus which will take you about 10-12 hours.

Lumbini ( Birth Place of Buddha)

Recognized as the epitome of Buddhism, Lumbini is one of the holiest sites in the world. It houses the archaeological remains associated with the birth of Lord Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Lumbini is approximately 200 km away from Kathmandu.

The Maya Devi Temple, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most ancient temples in Lumbini and is located next to the Bodhi tree where Buddhist monks often meditate and chant spiritual scripts. The Ashoka Pillar, a 3rd-century stone pillar built by the Indian Emperor Ashoka, was erected as a mark of respect after Ashoka visited the birthplace of Lord Buddha. Lumbini is also home to the World Peace Pagoda, the Lumbini Museum, and monasteries built by Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia among other attractions.

The shortest way to travel to Lumbini is via a domestic flight from Kathmandu to Bhairahawa airport. Alternatively, you can also board a bus and get to Lumbini in about 10 hours from Kathmandu.


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