Bouddhanath Stupa

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu

Got a free day in Kathmandu? Visit the following UNESCO world heritage sites in Kathmandu and witness the rich history, heritage, culture and tradition. 

In such a culturally rich nation like Nepal, you do not always have to go to a far-flung and remote land to witness its heritage. In fact, Kathmandu Valley is the perfect place to get introduced to Nepali culture. The valley has remained the centre of social, cultural and economic power since bygone days. You can take Kathmandu Valley Sightseeing Tour of UNESCO sites. There are 8 Cultural sites and 2 Natural sites enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nepal and 7 of them lie inside Kathmandu Valley alone. So, walk through the cobbled street of Kathmandu Valley and enjoy sightseeing some of the finest oriental architecture masterpieces.

1. Bouddhanath Stupa

Importance: UNESCO World Heritage
Category: Cultural

This is declared to stand as the largest Buddhist shrine of South Asia. The ancient colossal chhorten was built in the 6th century A.D. by King Man Deb. It rests on a series of three terraces and from the bird’s eye view it takes the relevant shape or of a lotus flower which indeed remains a very holy object for all the devout Buddhists of the world. The chhorten is surrounded by a circular market, which forms a part of Tibet town. In this case, also the four pairs of the Buddha’s eyes give a vivid flash to the four cardinal directions, meaning to keep a diligent watch over the people and their commitments all day all night. The chhorten embraces the authentic philosophy of Mahayan the faith of which is known as Lamaism in Sikkim, Ladakh, Bhutan and Tibet.

2. Pashupatinath Temple


Importance: UNESCO World Heritage
Category: Cultural

It is pagoda style Hindu temple with gilt roofing and richly carved silver doors dedicated to Lord Shiva and is situated at the bank of the holy Bagmati River. One of the most sacred temples in the entire Hindu world, Pashupati Nath Temple is the nerve centre of pilgrimage on the day of Shivaratri. The minute religious town itself which houses the great temple is known as Debpatan and is situated 5 kilometres east of the capital city. Only Hindus are permitted to enter the main courtyard of the temple. Alien tourists can view the temple from the eastern side of the Bagmati River.

3. Kathmandu Durbar Square 

 

Importance: UNESCO World Heritage
Category: Cultural

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the seemingly uncountable monuments in the Kathmandu Durbar Square. The house of the Living Goddess (Kumari Ghar), the ferocious Kal Bhairab, the red monkey god, and hundreds of erotic carvings are a few examples of the sights at the Square! The buildings here are the greatest achievements of the Malla dynasty, and they resulted from the great rivalry between the three palaces of Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. The Valley was divided among the children of Yaksya Malla. For visitors today, and for the Nepalese, it was serendipitous that they, and later their off-springs, began artistic warfare trying to outdo each other in splendid constructions. Kings copied everything their neighbours built in an even grander style. A visitor who wanders around the Square will see around the temple in the pagoda architectural style, the temple of Goddess Taleju (legend has it that She played dice with King Jaya Prakash Malla), and an image of Shiva and Parvati sitting together among the many monuments.

The Square teems with colourful life. Vendors sell vegetables, curious, flutes, and other crafts around the Kastamandap rest house. This rest house is said to have been built with the wood of a single tree and is the source from which the Kathmandu Valley got its name. Nearby are great drums which were beaten to announce royal decrees. All woodcarvings, statues, and architecture in this area are exceptionally fine, and Kathmandu Durbar Square is among the most important sights for travellers to see. The complex also houses the Tribhuvan Museum that carries the mementoes of different Shah Kings

4. Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple)

Importance: UNESCO World Heritage
Category: Cultural

This is believed to be 25 centuries old and stands as one of the world’s oldest Buddhist Chaityas. The Great Stupa of Swayambhu is the wonder that was Nepal, the glory that was Nepal. It is indeed listed a World Heritage for Site to prove that it serves as the nerve centre of faithful worship for all the devout philosophy of Bajrayan in particular and honours Lord Adi Buddha. It is dedicated to the self – originating flame God. The stupa, which forms the salient structure, is well composed of a solid hemisphere of terra – cotta bricks and soil supporting a cornice of copper and gilt. Painted on the four-sided based by of the spiral are the all-seeing eyes of Lord Buddha, keeping an eternal watch on the Valley distinguishing between vice and virtue. It is some two miles west of Kathmandu City proper across the holy Bishnumati River. Situated on the top of a hillock, it is about 500 feet above the level of the Valley. The whole hill is a mosaic of small Chaityas and pagoda temples possessing great five Mahayana (Lamaism) and one Hinayana (Therbadist). On the hind hill is located another important Buddhist shrine; it is called Manjushree. This Chinese Buddha is the God of Knowledge.

5. Bhaktapur Durbar Square

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Importance: UNESCO World Heritage
Category: Cultural

Bhaktapur lies only a short distance from the capital, but it could be another planet, so great is the difference in the atmosphere and sense of history. It really feels, despite the gradual encroachment of satellite dishes, that little has changed here for centuries.

There are so many points of interest between the focal centres of Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square and Dattatraya Square that it would be impossible to detail them all. A stroll through the town at a leisurely pace, however, will leave you with a sense of awe and enchantment at the beautifully preserved setting, which nevertheless has a prosaic life of its own.

In Bhaktapur, there is the National Museum of woodcarving a Bronze and Brass museum and the National Art Gallery. Visit the Lion gate, Picture Gallery, Golden gate and the Palace of fifty-five windows. Four kilometres away stands the stunning Changu Narayan temple, with a history dating back to the 4th century. The building itself is the 7th century but many of the images to be found here have a long history, and its relatively untouristed nature makes this one of the more atmospheric temples to visit in Kathmandu.

Bhaktapur, literally the city of Devotees’, is renowned for its elegant art, fabulous culture, colourful festivals, traditional dances and the typical Newar lifestyle. Tourists visiting Nepal feel their visit incomplete unless they get a mesmerizing glimpse of this ancient city of culture. Old dances and festival are still observed by the locals with the same fervour and enthusiasm as their ancestors did in the past. King Yarsh Mall (15th century) heavily fortified this city. The Hindus and the Buddhists have coexisted in harmony and drawn inspirations from each other through the ages. Bhaktapur is predominantly comprised of the peasantry, painting, carving, masonry, bronze casting, jewellery; pottery, etc are other traditional enterprises still existing. Monuments and artistic carvings on wood, stone and metals are strewn all over the historical core of the city. Alleys and narrow and zigzagged lanes lead you to see the Environment of Newar medieval settlements.

6. Patan Durbar Square

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Importance: UNESCO World Heritage
Category:  Cultural

Patan Durbar Square complex, situated in the centre of Patan city, also known as Lalitpur “the city of arts” houses the residence of the former Patan Royal Family. Its square and surroundings are good examples of ancient Newari architecture. There are three main courtyards in the palace: Mul chowk, Sundari chowk and Keshav Narayan chowk. Mul chowk is the oldest one and is at the centre of Patan square. Several multi-sized and a multi-styled temple houses the western part of the complex. Main among these is Krishna Temple, Bhimsen Temple and the Golden Temple of Hiranya.

7. Changunarayan Temple

Importance: UNESCO World Heritage
Category: Cultural

Changu Narayan Temple, an ancient Hindu temple is 15 kilometres far from the Kathmandu valley. The temple history dates back to the 4th century. A stone inscription from 464 A.D and other architectural masterpiece showcase the rich history of Kathmandu Valley.

Virtual tour of Pashupatinath 
Virtual tour of Bouddhanath
Virtual tour of Patan Durbar Square

Contact us for more information on the tour of above-listed world heritage sites. Or perhaps you might be interested in doing a helicopter tour to Mt. Everest 

About Author

Highland Expeditions is a high altitude adventure travel company based in Kathmandu, Nepal founded by local alpine experts with over 30 years of experience in trekking and mountaineering in the Himalayas.

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