|Of the many historical sites in Nepal ten are listed as World
Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Among the eight Cultural Heritage Sites in the
world heritage list, seven are in Kathmandu Valley, whereas the birthplace
of Lord Buddha, Lumbini, is the only Cultural Heritage Site outside the
Valley. Sagarmatha National Park and Chitwan National Park have been listed
as Natural Heritage Sites.
The Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal's first ever national park lies at
the foot of the Himalaya in the Inner Terai lowlands of Chitwan. Covering
an area of 932 sq. kilometers the park extends over deciduous forest foothills
and river floodplains. The park is rich in its variety of vegetation and
wildlife. The park provides one of the last habitats for endangered species
like the Asiatic one-horned rhinoceros and the Royal Bengal tiger. Royal
Chitwan National Park was officially established in 1973 and included as
Natural Heritage Site in 1984.
The Sagarmatha National Park with its rugged mountains, glaciers, valleys
and crowned by the highest peak on earth Mt. Everest at 8,848 meters lies
in Northeast Nepal. The 1,148 sq. kilometers of Sagarmatha National Park
extends across the region's river areas and the famous Sherpas' homefront
Khumbu. Forests of rhododendron, birch, blue pine, juniper and silver fir
are found up to an altitude of 4,000 meters. Rare species of animals like
the snow leopard, pandas, lynx are seen in the region. Rare bird varieties
like snow cock, snow pegion and different species of pheasant are also to
be seen here. The park was declared a Natural Heritage Site in 1979.
Nestled in the lap of snow mountains, the verdant Kathmandu Valley abounds
in archaic temples, shrines and palaces that reflect its glory of the bygone
era. Colorful Kathmandu with its old Asian legacy houses seven Cultural
Heritage Sites four of which are its art-excelling temples while three are
residential palaces of ancient Royals. The Valley is situated at 1,336 meters
above sea level and comprises three cities within its parameters. Kathmandu
is connected by air and by road to most parts of Nepal. It is also connected
by air to major cities in India and some parts of the world. With its many
facades, Kathmandu is a true little city of wonder for its visitors.
| Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square is in the heart of old city Kathmandu in Basantapur.
The Royal complex was residence to Nepal's Royal family before the
construction of the Narayanhiti Royal Palace. The founding of the
Royal Palace dates back to Licchavi times. With considerable renovations
by Malla rulers and later the Ranas, construction was accomplished
progressively over many centuries. There are around 50 temples in
the vicinity including the temple of Royal titular deity, Taleju Bhawani.
The Durbar is divided into two courtyards, the outer comprising Kasthamandap,
Kumari Ghar, and Shiva-Parvati Temple, and the inner consisting of
Hanuman Dhoka and the main palace. It also houses two museums. Important
ceremonies, including the coronation of the Nepali monarch, are held
in the Kathmandu Durbar Square. Most parts of the palace premise are
open for tourists throughout the week during office hours. Back
|Bhaktapur Durbar Sqauare
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is located in the center of Bhaktapur.
The Square is one of the most charming architectural showpieces of
the Valley as it highlights some of the finest medieval arts of Nepal.
The main items of interest in Bhaktapur Durbar Square are the Lion
Gate, the Golden Gate and the statues of kings on stone monoliths.
The Golden Gate was erected by King Ranjit Malla as the entrance to
the main courtyard of the Fifty-five Windowed Palace. The Palace of
Fifty-five Windows was built during the reign of King Yakshya Malla
in A.D. 1427 and was remodelled by King Bhupatindra Malla in the seventeeth
century. The art gallery of Bhaktapur Durbar Square contains ancient
paintings belonging to the Hindu and Buddhist traditions of various
periods. This gallery is open everyday except Tuesday. Back
Patan Durbar Square complex, situated in the center of Patan city,
houses the residence of the former Royal family of Patan. The Square
and its surroundings provide very good example of ancient Newari architecture.
The palace has three main courtyards the central and the oldest is
Mul Chowk. To the west of the complex are a dozen free standing temples
of various sizes and styles. Krishna Temple, Bhimsen Temple, the Golden
Temple of Hiranya Varna Mahavira and Sundari Chowk mark the architectural
excellence of its era. The Sundari Chowk with the sunken Royal bath
of Tusha Hiti, contains exquisite woodcarvings, stone, and metal sculpture.
Patan Durbar Square also houses a temple of Taleju Bhawani.
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Swayambhu literally means 'Self-Existent One.'
Swayambhunath is believed to have been established more than 2,500
years ago. An inscription dated 460 A.D. states that the construction
was carried out by King Manadeva. By the thirteenth century Swayambhunath
had developed into an important Buddhist learning site. The history
of Kathmandu Valley is said to have started with the beginning of
Swayambhu. The largest image of the Sakyamuni Buddha in Nepal is in
a monastery next to the stupa. Behind the hilltop is a temple dedicated
to Manjusri of Saraswati - the goddess of learning. Statues and shrines
of Buddhist and Hindu deities dot the stupa complex. Large numbers
of Buddhists and Hindus alike visit Swayambhunath. Swayambhu is perhaps
the best place to observe the religious harmony in Nepal. The stupa
is atop a hill, and requires considerable walk. There is also a road
that leads almost to the base of the statue. Back
Narayan is the temple of Vishnu the Preserver, in the village of Changu
in Bhaktapur. The origins of Changu Narayan goes back to the fourth
century. A fifth century stone inscription in the temple proclaims
it as one of the oldest shrines of the Kathmandu Valley. The temple
is believed to be sixteen hundred years old. It is embellished by
the best examples of stone, wood, and metal craft. On the struts of
the two-tiered Changu Narayan Temple, are the ten incarnations of
Narayan. A sixth-century stone statue shows the cosmic form of Vishnu.
Garuda, half man and half bird, is the steed of Vishnu, and his life-sized
statue kneels before the temple. Back
Pashupati is one of the four most important religious sites in Asia
for Shiva devotees. Pashupatinath, dedicated to Shiva the Destroyer,
is the holiest Hindu pilgrimage destination in Nepal. Although the
Pashupati Temple was only built in the fifth century and later renovated
by Malla kings, the holy site is said to have existed from the beginning
of the millennium. A gold-plated roof, four silver doors, and wood
carvings of the finest quality decorate the pagoda temple of Pashupati.
Temples dedicated to several other Hindu and Buddhist deities surround
the temple of Pashupati. Nearby is the temple of Guheshwori dedicated
to Shiva's consort Sati Devi. Behind the temple is the River Bagmati.
On the banks of Bagmati are raised platforms used as cremation sites
for Hindus. Only Hindus are allowed inside the Pashupatinath courtyard.
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Bouddhanath is the center of Tibetan culture in Nepal. The 36-meter-high
stupa of Bouddhanath is one of the largest stupas in South Asia. Bouddhanath
Stupa was renovated by Licchavi rulers in the eighth century. The
mandala design in Bouddhanath is a copy of the one in Gyangtse in
Tibet. The stupa is located in the area of ancient
trade route to Tibet where Tibetan merchants rested and offered prayers
for many centuries. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet in the
1950s, many decided to live around Bouddhanath. Hence, a complete
township has developed around Bouddhanath. The stupa is said to entomb
the remains of a Kasyap sage venerable both to Buddhists and Hindus.
Smaller stupas are located at the base. Gompa monasteries, curio shops,
and restaurants surround Bouddhanath.Back
Lumbini associated with the birth of Lord Buddha is of extreme
archeological importance and also a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site. It is
said that Prince Siddhartha Gautam, who later became Buddha the Englightened
One, was born in the gardens of Nepal's Lumbini in 623 B.C. The main shrines
of Lumbini are the newly restored Mayadevi Temple, the Ashokan Pillar behind
the temple and the Lake Shakya Puskarini where Mayadevi is said to have
bathed before delivering the little Buddha into the world.
Several other places near Lumbini are linked with stories connected to Buddha
and Buddhism. Lumbini is about 300 kilometers southwest of Kathmandu. Bus
and flights to Bhairawa which is about 22 kilometers from Lumbini, are available
from major cities. From Bhairawa transport services to Lumbini are easily
available. Food and accommodation facilities are available in Lumbini and
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