Being a small landlocked country sandwiched between two great countries (China and India) with an area of 147,181 sq. km, Nepal holds 10 cultural and natural site in UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization) as ‘World Heritage Sites’.
UNESCO lists the most important natural and cultural heritage of the world on the basis of their significance. The heritages are chosen and examined on the basis of their historical, natural and cultural, their artistic value, their rare quality and their unique characteristic which identify the nation.Among the 878 properties of world heritage list 10 sites (8 Cultural sites and 2 Natural sites) are of Nepal, seven of them are in Kathmandu Valley and all these 10 sites are the most popular places to visit in Nepal.
Mostly based on the religious beliefs, the Nepalese culture heritage site has its own significance. Based on religion the cultural heritage site is not only important for Nepalese but also an important part of the world community.
Kathmandu Durbar Square
A popular place to visit in Nepal the Kathmandu durbar square is a plaza in front of the 19 century old royal palace. It is one among the three royal palaces (Durbar square) in the Kathmandu valley listed in the world heritage site. The Kathmandu Durbar Square is full or cultural and ancient craft showcasing Newar craftsmanship over several centuries. Also known as Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square, the Kathmandu Durbar Square holds the palaces of Malla and Shah Dynasty who ruled over the city for many years. The Kathmandu Durbar Square premises is decorated with the temple of Taleju Bhawani, Panchmukhi Hanuman temple, the temple of Kumari (Living Goddess), the Shiva-Parbati Temple, Sri Ganeshsthan, Gaddi Baithak and many more to explore.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Located in the current town of Bhaktapur the Bhaktapur Durbar Square is a plaza in front of the royal palace of the old Bhaktapur Kingdom. The example of cultural and ancient craft the Bhaktapur Durbar Square contains innumerable temples and other architectural like the 55 window palace, Golden Gate, Nyatapola Temple, etc all built during the regime of the Malla Kings. The statue of the Malla King Bhupatindra Malla in the act of worship placed on a column is considered to be the most magnificent among all the other statues available in Nepal.
Lalitpur (Patan) Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square located at the center of Lalitpur city is a marvel of Newar architecture. The Durbar Square is full of ancient palaces, temples and other shrines for the period of Ashoka and the Malla Dynasty. The Patan Durbar Square lays out three main chowks or courtyards, the Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Keshav Narayan Chowk. Beside the courtyards Patan Durbar Square boast impressive temples like Krishna Mandir, Bhimsen Temple, Taleju Bhawani Temple all noted for their exquisite carvings and beautiful display of ancient Newari architecture. One another attraction of the Durbar plaza is the ancient Royal palace where the Malla kings of Lalitpur resided.
Built in the Nepalese pagoda style of architecture Pasupathinath Temple is a famous sacred Hindu temple located in the eastern city of Kathmandu on the bank of the holy Bagamati River. Dedicated to the Lord Pasupathinath the Pasupathinath Temple is on the UNESCO world heritage site since 1979. Considered to be the biggest Lord Shiva temple in the world the Pauspathinath temple is also well-known for its wooden and erotic figurine on the struts. Pashupatinath, with a tiered golden roof and silver doors is the holiest destination for all the Hindu pilgrims of the world. Non Hindu visitor are not allowed into the temple complex but can look to the main temple from adjacent side of the river.
The Changu Narayan temple
The oldest temple in Nepal, the Changu Narayan temple is the holy place where Hindus, Buddhist and Shakyas come to observe and worship Sri Changu Narayan. The ancient Hindu temple is located on the high hilltop which is also known as Changu or Dolagiri. Located in the Changunarayan VDC of Bhaktapur District, Nepal the hilltop is about 8 miles east of Kathmandu and few miles north of Bhaktapur. The pagoda style temple is believed to be existed as early as 325 A.D and has several masterpieces of 5th and 12th century Nepalese art.
Boudhanath Stupa is the major Buddhist Stupa in Nepal. Boudhanath Stupa a religious center for Buddhist people and the largest Buddhist Stupa in Nepal lie about 8 km to the east of downtown Kathmandu. Boudhanath Stupa is the center of Tibetan culture in Nepal. The stupa, well known as Khasti, is also known as the World Heritage Site. The 36 meter-high Stupa of Bouddhanath is one of the largest stupas in South Asia. Bouddhanath Stupa, largest Buddhist Stupa in Nepal was renovated by Licchavi rulers in the eighth century. The Mandala design in Boudhanath Stupa is a copy of the one in Gyangtse in Tibet. There are more than 45 Buddhist monasteries in the area and is the one of the most popular tourist site in Nepal.
Swayambhunath is a very old religious complex atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city. Swoyambhu means ‘Self-Existent One.’ Swayambhunath also known as the monkey temple is believed to have been established more than 2,500 years ago. The Swayambhunath compound consists of a stupa, a variety of place of pilgrimage and temples, some dating back to the Licchavi period. The God Swayambhunath is also considered as the creator and destroyer, people from different religions such as Hindus, Buddhist, Shakyas come to worship God Swayambhunath. The Swayambhunath stupa consists a dome base above which a cubical formation with eyes of Buddha keeping an never-ending watch on the valley distinguishing between vice and virtue in all four direction. Swayambhunath is a main landmark from where you can enjoy an exceptional view of the Kathmandu valley.
Lumbini is situated in the south west of Terai belt in Nepal. This place is also the center of religious pilgrimage for millions of Buddhists from around the world. This place is known as the as the birth place of Lord Gautam Buddha. Lumbini lies 1 km west of Siddarthnagar (Bhairahawa) in the Rupandehi district of Lumbini zone. It is said that in those days, Lumbini was a beautiful garden full of green shady Sal trees.
Some proposed additions to the UNESCO world heritage site are the medieval walled city of Lo Monthang in the Mustang region; the temple of Vajrajogin, the medieval town of Tansen and the Nuwakot Palace. Also in the 12th century Ram Janaki temple which is believed to be the birthplace of the Hindu goddess Sita.
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