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UNESCO World Heritage Sights of Nepal

UNESCO has declared 7 World Heritage Sites, all inside Kathmandu Valley. These seven World Heritage Sites are all amazing man-made wonders still standing majestically – some of them as old as 2500 years. Although their close proximity means you could probably travel to each sight in a single day, you'll need two to three days in the city of Kathmandu to get the full experience of each location.

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Lies in the heart of the capital and is popularly known as the Hanuman Dhoka Palace – the Gateway of Hanuman - an ancient seat of Nepalese Royalty. The Palace consists of the huge Royal Square imposing a tremendous variety of the temples dedicated to different Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Most of the buildings were constructed from the 15th – 18th centuries. The Palace is named after the Hindu Monkey God, Hanuman, and is painted completely red right next to the main entrance (the Golden Gate) of the Palace. He is regarded as the protector of the entire Durbar Square.

Also at this location, you'll see the Taleju Temple, Jaganath Temple, and Kal Bhairabh Statue of the King Pratap Malla in praying gesture, a 17th Century Kumari Temple and the Kasthamandap from which the city got its name.

Patan Durbar Square

Situated on a little plateau across the river Bagmati River, Patan is only 7.8 km south – east of Kathmandu city. This city is considered one of the oldest among the three cities of Kathmandu Valley. The city was founded in 3rd century by King Veera Dev and has the distinction of being the home of the finest Newari craft. The finest Hindu and Buddhist monuments are scattered around but the most important monuments are in the square or close by.

Other features like the Golden window, the royal bath of Sundari Chowk, the Taleju Temple, and Keshab Narayan Chowk are worth visiting. The four Stupas, located in the four cardinal directions, were erected by Indian Emperor Ashoka the Great.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

This is a unique city located east of Kathmandu at 1,400m above sea level. With an area of 5 sq. km. this unique city is divided into 24 traditional localities. It was founded by King Ananda Dev in 889 A.D.

This is a unique city located east of Kathmandu at 1,400m above sea level. With an area of 5 sq. km. this unique city is divided into 24 traditional localities. It was founded by King Ananda Dev in 889 A.D. Bhaktapur in supposed to have been built in the shape of a conch shell, a scared symbol of Lord Vishnu. The world Bhaktapur means The City of Devotees.

Bhaktapur; at one time an independent city, was ruled by the Malla Kings. They were very religious and gave importance to their artistic heritage which is evident throughout the city. Some of the significant monuments here are:

  1. The Lion Gate: Built by King Bupatindra Malla in 17th century A.D.
  2. Golden Gate: The main entrance to the famous 55 Window Palace and Royal Taleju. Constructed in 1754 A.D.
  3. The statue of King Bupatindra Malla.
  4. 55 Window Palace: This architectural structure dominates the entire Bhadgaon Durbar Square. It is worth admiring.
  5. Vastala Temple.
  6. Pashupati Nath Temple.
  7. Nyatapole Temple.
  8. Bhairav Nath Temple.

Swayambhunath

A Buddhist Stupa on a western hill of Kathmandu. The 2,500 year old monument is a holy site replete with symbols. The mound represents the four elements of earth, fire, wind and water. The 13 gilded rings of the spire symbolize the 13 steps of the ladder leading to Nirvana, the final salvation. The shrine is bedecked in colorful prayer flags. Pilgrims and tourists pass to Swayambhumath’s holy premises through a path of 365 steps.

Close to the Stupa is the Dewa Dharma monastery, noted for bronze icon of the Buddha and traditional Tibetan paintings.

Below are some important dates when pilgrims visit this holy site to take part in religious activities.

  1. Buddha Purnima, the birth of Lord Buddha – full moon day of Baisakh (April – May)
  2. Gunla, the holy Buddhist month, according to Newari calendar (August – September)
  3. Kojagrath Purnima (September – October)
  4. Samyak Day of the Magh (January – February) every 12 years!

Boudha Nath Stupa

One of the oldest and the biggest Buddhist monument ever built in the Himalayan Kingdom it is 36m high. The Stupa is unique with its three levels, Mandala style, platforms. The structural feature of the Stupa is somewhat similar to the Swayambhunath Stupa. It was built around the 5th century A.D.

What Mecca is to the Muslims, this Boudhanath Stupa is for Tibetan Buddhists. Every year thousands of pilgrims flock here from all over the Himalayan region.

During the Buddhist festivals, listed with Swayambhunath above, pilgrims gather to celebrate with great reverence to all Buddhist deities.

Pashupati Nath Temple

Pashupati Nath is considered one of the holiest shrines of all the Hindu temples. It is 6km. east of downtown Kathmandu. The temple has remained the presiding deity of ruling Nepalese Royalty.

The two tier magnificent golden temple, with four triple silver doorways, is a unique example of the Nepalese temple architecture. It is one of the largest Hindu temple complexes in South-Asia with hundreds of Shiva Lingam shrines and icons Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The temple is spread out over a large area.

The main entrance, for Hindu people only, is on the western side. Tourists may peak inside, or go on the other side of the river to have a glimpse of the temple complex from above. During the festival of Shivaratri (February – March) 10,000's of devotees and pilgrims (many from India) visit this temple and make ceremonial fires.

Changu Narayan Temple

Situated on a small hillock overlooking the Kathmandu Valley, this temple is 12km. east of Kathmandu. The temple is decorated with magnificent art works in metal and wood. This famous temple was built in the 3rd century A.D. An inscription opposite the temple tells about a historic event which is the first epigraphic evidence of Nepali history. Some of the important sculptures here are:

  1. Viswo Roop – 8th Century A.D.
  2. Vishnu Vikranta – 8th Century A.D.
  3. Vishnu mounted in his vehicle Garuda – the mythical man bird.
  4. Nara Singh Vishnu in his half human and half lion form.

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