UNESCO World Heritage Sights of Nepal
Nepal is home to 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including seven in Kathmandu Valley, Lumbini (Birthplace of Buddha), Chitwan National Park and Sagarmatha National Park. The heritage sites have been nominated based on their cultural and natural value. This world heritage sites are man-made wonders still standing majestically which are as old as 2500 years.
7 World heritage sites In Kathmand are:
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square also known as Hanuman Dhoka square is one of the major attractions in Kathmandu Valley. Kathmandu durbar square is a must see and hard to miss location in the heart of the capital city Kathmandu. The immediate large square is surrounded by ancient Newari architecture, high temples, popular shrines and the old royal palace. Today Kathmandu durbar square is still an active and living square. Filled with people worshiping in shrines, selling goods or simply walking through. It’s a living part of Kathmandu city.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
The Bhaktapur Durbar Square is located in the current town of Bhaktapur, also known as Bhadgaon, which lies 13 km east of Kathmandu. This city, rich in ancient arts, religious values, fabulous cultural traditions, architectural masterpieces and ancient sculptures, is also known as an open museum. Morever, the city is also famous as a city of gods. Bhaktapur has a cluster of temples, pagodas, monuments, courtyard, squares. traditional houses, artistic stones, taps, also Buddhist shrines and monasteries built in different times of the history.The square is one of the most charming architectural showpieces of the Valley as it highlights the ancient arts of Nepal. The main square of the city contains innumerable temples and other marvelous architectural showpieces like the Lion Gate, the statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, the Picture Gallery, the Golden Gate, the Batsala temple and the Bell of Barking Dogs. An intriguing part of this square is the fifteen-century Palace of 55 windows.
Swayambhunath Stupa also known as the Monkey Temple is an ancient religious area on the top of a hill in the Kathmandu valley, located west of Kathmandu city. It is known as Monkey temple as there are holy monkeys living in parts of the temple in the North West place. Swayambhunath Temple is a sacred place for the Buddhist pilgrimage and engage a central point for the Buddhist Newars whose origin is from the myths and continues their religious practices. 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.
Below are some important dates when pilgrims visit this holy site to take part in religious activities.
Buddha Purnima, the birth of Lord Buddha – full moon day of Baisakh (April-May)
Gunla, the holy Buddhist month, according to Newari calender (August – September)
Kojagrath Purnima (September – October)
Samyak Day of the Magh (January – February) every 12 years!
Changu Narayan Temple
The ancient Hindu temple of Changu Narayan is located on a high hilltop that is also known as Changu or Dolagiri. It remains a milestone in Nepali temple architecture with rich embossed works. The temple was surrounded by forest with champak tree and a small village, known as Changu Village. This shrine is dedicated to Lord Visnu and held in especial reverence by the Hindu people. The Changu Narayan temple is a double-roofed temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Narayan. The temple is decorated with ten incarnations of the Narayan. Stone lions guard all the four doors of the temple. It is the oldest temple in Kathmandu valley. The temple is of great importance due to its idols and shrines having rich architectural beauty. Changunarayan temple 18 km east of the Kathmandu city and close from the Bhaktapur. It lies on the top of the hill and tourist can view the beautiful views of the kathmandu valley. If some tourist interested for hiking they can make 2-4 hours treks till Nagarkot. Nagar kot is the one of the best view point around the kathmandu valley. It is listed in the World Heritage Site in the UNESCO in 1979.
The following monument are located while visiting the temple from the right side after entering from the main entrance (Eastern gate) to courtyard.
• Historical pillar: It is the pillar erected by Mandeva in 464 AD
• Garuda:- It’s the flying vehicle of Lord Vishnu which has got a human face and is a devotee of Vishnu.
• Statue of Bhupalendra Malla Statue of King of Kantipur and his queen BhuwanLakshmi.
• Chanda Narayan (Garuda Narayan):- It’s the 7th century stone sculpture of Vishnu riding on Garuda. This sculpture has been depicted in the 10 rupee paper note issued by Nepal Rastra Bank
• Sridhar Vishnu:- Its the 9th century stone sculpture of Vishnu, Laxmi and Garuda which stands on the pedestals of various motifs.
• Vaikuntha Vishnu :- Its the16th century sculpture of Vishnu seated on the lalitason position on the six armed Garuda and Laxmi seated on the lap of Vishnu
• Chhinnamasta:- It is the Temple dedicated to Chhinnamasta devi, who beheaded herself, offered her own blood to feed the hungry Dakini and Varnini.
• Vishworup:-It is the 7th century stone sculpture- beautifully carved that depicts the scene from the Bhagwat Gita, in which Lord Krishna manifests his universal form to his devotee Arjun.
• Vishnu Vikrant :- It is the 7th century sculpture of Trivikram Vishnu that depicts the scene of popular Hindu myth of Lord Vishnu and his beloved Bali Raja.
• Narasimha :- It is the7th century sculpture of Narasimha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, killing the demon King Hiranyakasyapa to save his beloved devotee Prahalad.
• Kileshwor:- It is small two storied temples of Lord Shiva, who is believed to have appeared in this place for the protection of the hill.
Boudha Nath Stupa
Boudha Nath Stupa is one of the oldest and the biggest Buddhist monument ever built in the Himalayan Kingdom it is 36m high. Boudhanath Stupa is a religious center for Buddhist people which are located centre in Kathmandu. This largest Buddhist Stupa in Nepal lies about 8 km to the east of downtown Kathmandu. It located on flat land and encircled by houses & monasteries, where Rinpoches reside. This colossal Stupa is set on concentric ascending terraces in the powerful pattern of a Mandala. Boudhanath Stupa is the center of Tibetan culture in Nepal. Because of its location and size, it seems much larger than the Swoyambhunath Stupa. This largest Buddhist Stupa in Nepal, the same hemi-spherical dome symbolizing the emptiness from which everything emanates. On top of this largest Buddhist Stupa in Nepal is the harmika painted on each side with the eyes of the Buddha symbolizing awareness, and above the spire with its 13 stages to the canopy.
Pashupati Nath Temple
Pashupati Nath is considered one of the holiest shrines of all the Hindu temples. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Pashupatinath is one of the four most important religious sites in Asia for devotees of Shiva. Pashupatinath Temple is located on both banks of Bagmati River on the eastern outskirts of Kathmandu. Only Hindus are allowed inside the gates of the main temple. Lord Shiva is known by many different names; and Pashupati is one. Pashu means leaving beings, and Pati means master. In other words Pashupati is the master of all living beings of the universe.
The daily rituals of Pashupatinath Temple are as follows:
• 4:00 am: West gate opens for visitors.
• 8:30 am: After arrival of Pujaris, the idols of the Lord are bathed and cleaned, clothes and jewelry are changed for the day.
• 9:30 am: Baal Bhog or breakfast is offered to the Lord.
• 10:00 am: Then people who want to do Puja are welcomed to do so. It is also called Farmayishi Puja, whereby people tell the Pujari to carry out a special Puja for their specified reasons. The Puja continues till 1:45 pm in the afternoon.
• 1:50 pm: Lunch is offered to the Lord in the main Pashupati Temple.
• 2:00 pm: Morning prayers end.
• 5:15 pm: The evening Aarati at the main Pashupati Temple begins.
• 6:00 pm onward: Recently the Bagmati Ganga Aarati; done by the shores of Bagmati, has been gaining lots of popularity. We can see the shores of Bagmati crowded mostly on Saturdays, Mondays and on special occasions. Ganga Aarati along with Shiva’s Tandava Bhajan, written by Ravana, is carried out on evening Ganga Aarati.
• 7:00 pm: Door is closed.
Apart from the daily rituals, special observed are plotted during special dates of the lunar calendar.
Patan Durbar Square
Patan is the oldest of all the three cities of Kathmandu valley. The city is situated on a plateau across Bagmati River. The city was founded in 3rd century by King Veera Dev and has the distinction of being the home of the finest Newari craft. It is the best known for its artistic heritage . Patan Durbar square is the famous visiting place. The square is full of ancient places, temples, and shrines noted for their exquisite carvings.