The UNESCO, abbreviated form of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations. A World Heritage site is a landmark, monument or an area chosen specifically by UNESCO as a gratitude of recognition for having cultural, scientific or historical significance. These world heritage sites are under the direct protection of the international treaties, and are under critical maintenance and safety. These sites have great importance as they are specifically selected as a world heritage site and is a great tourist attraction.
So, talking about the world heritage sites that are present in Nepal, there are 10 different world heritage sites here. These heritage sites have great significance here in Nepal. Among the 10 heritage sites, 8 of them are culturally significant and the rest 2 are of natural importance. Apart from having cultural and natural significance, these sites are popular tourist destination as well. Travelers from all around the world come to visit these heritage destinations.
These heritage sites of Nepal are A true gem\ among themselves and have a lot of importance to the Nepalese. The following are the World Heritage sites of Nepal.
Located at the heart of the capital city, Kathmandu, this heritage site is a sacred temple devoted to Lord Shiva. Said to have been existing before the beginning of the millennium, this holy shrine is one of the most important religious sites in Asia for Hindu devotees. The temple area stretches over both sides of the holy Bagmati river. The main temple is a pagoda style architecture with gold roof, four silver doors and a lot of amazing and exquisite wooden structure. The Hindus cremate the deceased on the very same riverbanks of Bagmati river, as it is considered to be the holiest of the holy. Take a visit to Pashupatinath for an unmatched spiritual experience, and to witness the epitome of religious tolerance, as many buddhist shrines also reside in the Pashupatinath area.There are a total of 492 different temples in the Pashupatinath area, each with its own value and religious sentiment.The place was listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1979.
Another heritage site with great religious significance is Swayambhunath. The temple resides at the top of a hill, west of Kathmandu city. Swayambhunath translates to “Self-sprung”, and has a reason as to why it came to be called that. According to legends, the entire Kathmandu Valley was a huge lake, and in the lake, a lotus grew. Thus, the valley came to be called Swayambhu, meaning self-created. The temple is of great significance to multiple ethnic groups, i.e. Buddhist Newars, and the Tibetan Buddhists. This monument also depicts great religious tolerance, as there are hindu temples in its close vicinity. It is widely recognized for its architecture, and the symbolism behind the architecture.
The boudhanath temple is the largest stupa in Nepal and is considered to be the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple. The temple is located on the eastern outskirts of Kathmandu and about 5 kms from the airport. The first stupa was built after 600 AD when the Tibetan king converted to Buddhism. The authenticity and the purity of the stupa is revered and is second to none. The structure of the stupa, is 36-metres high, and is constructed in the shape of a mandala design. The place is considered to be the center of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal.
The Changu Narayan Temple, an ancient and symbolic Hindu temple is located atop a high hill, 12 km east of Kathmandu. The temple is surrounded by champak tree forests. The historic structure was built around the 3rd century A.D. The temple has a lot of religious significance to the Hindus, especially to the people from the Newar community. You can find a small village residing near the temple with many lodges, restaurants and souvenir shops.The4 shrine is dedicated to Lord Vishnuand is held in special reverence. The temple is considered to be the oldest temple in the history of Nepal.
Lumbini is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi District in Nepal. According to Budddhist tradition, Queen Maiyadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautam in 563 BC. Siddhartha Gautam, who later achieved enlightenment and became Buddha founded Buddhism. Lumbini is one of the most prominent pilgrimage sites for Buddhists as the place is pivotal to the life of the Buddha. The place has a lot of different temples and statues. There is the Pillar of Ashoka, which was built to mark the visit of Ashoka The Great in Lumbini. There is also Maiyadevi temple, the shrine of eternal flame, and many other historic and important shrines.
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Lying in the heart of the Capital city, Kathmandu Durbar Square is an ancient royal courtyard. Also known as Hanuman Dhoka Palace, the place was once home to the king of Kathmandu. There are many different temples around the place dedicated to different deities. There is also a temple of the living goddess Kumari. You may get the chance to see the Kumari, but it is very rare. The place was constructed during 15-18th century. The place is a very famous tourist destination, and there are many restaurants and hotels to enjoy as well.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur Durbar Square, also known as Bhadgaon is an ancient area, built around the 15th century. The place was once home to the kings who ruled the city. Now, the place is an ancient square and a popular tourist destination. The complex contains four distinct squares, Durbar square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square and Pottery Square. The place has a very antique and ancient feel to it and the ambiance is amazing. You can also visit Siddhapokhari on your way to the Durbar Square.
Patan Durbar Square
Located at about 8 km south-east of the Kathmandu City, Patan Durbar Square is one of the oldest cities in the Kathmandu Valley. With exquisite architectures flaunting Newari craftsmanship, the place is a popular tourist destination for both foreigners as well as for the locals. With many temples and Buddhist monuments in its vicinity, the place attracts Hindu worshipers and Buddhist followers as well. With the increase in tourists, there are great restaurants around the area that serve great food. You can try the local cuisines as well.
Chitwan National park
The first National Park of Nepal, Chitwan National Park is a wildlife protection park. The place covers 952.63 km square of lush wildlife. During the 19th century, the place used to be a favorite hunting ground for the Royal family during the cold winter season. Since then, hunting has been made illegal with severe punishments to those who still hunt. The national park is home to some of the highly endangered animals. The one-horned rhinoceros, the Bengal Tiger, Clouded leopards are some of the endangered animals who live in the jungles of Chitwan National Park. Now, the place is famous for its jungle safari and animal sightseeing. You can get on the back of an elephant and go for a jungle safari. If you are lucky enough, you might spot a few tigers basking in the sun.
Sagarmatha National Park
Sagarmatha National Park is another conservation park comprising of an area of 1,148 km square in the Solukhumbu district of Nepal. As the name suggests, the park lies in the vicinity of Sagarmatha, also known as Mt Everest. Established in 1976, this national park is the first park to be listed in the World Heritage Site.The forest area of the park is home top at least 200 species of different birds and animals. Endangered animals like musk deer, snow leopards, Himalayan Black bear, red panda, etc call this forest area their home. The park was listed as a world heritage site in 1979, only 3 years after its establishment.
The heritage sites are truly a marvelous destinations to visit and to know about the rich culture and history of Nepal. The cultural heritage sites define the ancient culture, tradition of our country and how the traditions used to be. The natural heritage sites conserve and help flourish the wildlife that is on the verge of extinction. These sites are of great importance to the country, both for tourism aspect and historic value.