When people think of Nepal, they often think of the Himalayas__the world’s highest mountain range__and the possibility of seeing Everest up close and personal during one of their treks. While the mountains are certainly impressive, there’s much more to Nepal than these natural wonders, and visitors can explore their history in a variety of UNESCO World Heritage Sites found throughout the country.
Located in South Asia, Nepal has many beautiful historical sites that are added to the list of world heritage sites in Nepal. While you can’t visit them all on one trip, visiting at least some of these top 10 world heritage sites in Nepal is a must-do during your vacation to this gorgeous country.
List Of 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites In Nepal
With its majestic Himalayan peaks, Nepal has been recognized as one of the most beautiful countries in the world. In order to preserve this beauty, several locations have been designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, including seven sites that are found in the country’s capital city of Kathmandu and rest in the other part of the country. UNESCO maintains this list to help protect and preserve culturally significant sites all over the world.
1. Pashupatinath Temple
Considered as the oldest temple in Nepal and situated on the banks of Bagmati river Pashupatinath is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, and was classified as World Heritage Site in 1979 A.D. Pashupatinath Temple is a collection of many small temples, ashrams, sculptures, and many religious & cultural monuments dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is considered an important pilgrimage site for Hindus, with many making their way here to immerse ashes of loved ones who have passed away.
2. Boudhanath Stupa
The Boudhanath Stupa, also known as Boudha and Khasti Chaitya is a large stupendous stupendous structure towering stupda located in Kathmandu. Located about 11 km from the centre and northeast of Kathmandu, Boudhanath is an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists. This 36 meters (118 feet) high stupa is visible from the most of the places in Kathmandu Valley. It is one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal as well as in the world. Added to the list of world heritage sites in Nepal in 1979, Boudhanath Stupa is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kathmandu Valley.
3. Swayambhunath Stupa
The Stupa of Swayambhunath is an ancient religious monument located on a hilltop in Kathmandu, and it’s one of the most important cultural sites in all of Nepal. It is considered by some as a National Monument and is also among one of the 7 World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu valley. The complex of Swayambhunath consists of a stupa, and variety of shrines and temple all dating back to the Licchavi period. Although no one is really sure what it was created for or how old it is, many historians agree that it has been around for at least 2,500 years. According to the Gopālarājavaṃśāvalī, it was founded by the great-grandfather of King Mānadeva (464-505 CE), King Vṛsadeva, about the beginning of the 5th century CE. This seems to be confirmed by a damaged stone inscription found at the site, which indicates that King Vrsadeva ordered work done in 640 CE.
4. Kathmandu Durbar Square
Also known as Basantapur Durbar Kshetra, Kathmandu Durbar Square is part of a larger complex that encompasses many sacred courtyards and temples including Hanuman Dhoka, Shivaparvati Temple, Basantapur Tower, Kalbhairav Statue, Hanuman Statue, Taleju Temple, and many more religious, historical, and cultural monuments. Locals come here to pray and make offerings. The courtyard also hosts a daily flea market. The preference for the construction of royal palaces at this site dates back to as early as the Licchavi period in the third century. Even though the present palaces and temples have undergone repeated and extensive renovations and nothing physical remains from that period. This durbar used to held the palaces of the Malla and Shah kings who ruled the Kathmandu city in the ancient time. During the Nepal Earthquake 2015, Kathmandu Durbar Square faced major destruction in which seven building in the square completly collapsed and many damaged.
5. Patan Durbar Square
Considered as one of Kathmandu Valley’s biggest tourist attractions, Patan Durbar Square is full of architectural beauty. This historic site contains more than 50 ancient temples, monuments, and idoles of historical and cultural significance. Most of these monuments date back to Malla Period (1200 – 1700 AD) and serve as a historical background for almost every tourist who visits Kathmandu Valley. Patan Durbar Square is a marvellous example of Newar architecture. Some popular sites include Balgopaleshwor Temple, Krishna Mandir and Chaumukha Temple. This durbar square also was heavily damaged by the earthquake of 2015 in Nepal. Still someone can’t easily get their eyes off from the marvellous beauty of this place.
6. Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is an ancient square located in Bhaktapur, one of the three major durbar squares in Kathmandu valley which share a UNESCO world heritage site together. This ornate square features intricate architecture and beautiful historic buildings. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the royal palace of the ancient old Bhaktapur Kingdom. The city dates back as far as 753 AD, making it one of Nepal’s oldest cities. Some locals even refer to it as the living museum due to its historic appearance. With an area of 6.52 square miles, it has numerous temples and monuments. The overall complex of this durbar consists of four other durbars named as Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square and Pottery Square.
7. Changunarayan Temple
Almost 12 km east of Kathmandu and a few miles north of Bhaktapur, there lies an ancient Hindu temple named Changunarayan on a very high hilltop, surrounded by tree forest called Champak and a small village named Changu. This temple is listed among the world heritage sites in Nepal for its very ancient history. Changunarayana Temple is considered to be the oldest temple in the history of Nepal, even older than the Pashupatinath Temple. Also, during earthquake in 2015 in Nepal, the temple didn’t completly collapsed, though it was heavily damaged. The temple also remains as a milestone in Nepali temple architecture with rich embossed works. The two-storey roofed temple still standing on a high plinth of stone is remarkeable work of arts and architecture. There is also an ancient stone tap located on the way to Changunaran which is believed to have existed since the time of Lichhavi.
The birthplace of Gautama Buddha, Lumbini is a pilgrimage site that holds much significance for Buddhists around the world. It is the holiest place of one of the world’s great religions. Lumbini is located within 25 kilometres (16 mi) of Devdaha and 250 kilometres (160 mi) south of Kathmandu. It is a place where Gautam Buddha was born around 563 BCE. Lumbini has a number of older temples, including the Mayadevi Temple, and various new temples, funded by Buddhist organisations from various countries, have been completed or are still under construction. Many monuments, monasteries and a museum, and the Lumbini International Research Institute are also within the holy site. It is one of 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nepal, as well as being a masterpiece according to criteria set out by UNESCO.
9. Sagarmatha National Park
Home to Mt. Everest and other breathtaking peaks, Sagarmatha National Park is one of those must-see places for anyone who loves nature. It is an exceptional area with dramatic mountains, glaciers, deep valleys dominated by the world’s highest peak-Mt. Everest. Spread in an area of 1,148 sq.km, its elevation ranges from 2,845 meters to 8,848 meters. The national park is also a home to several rare species in Nepal such as the snow leopard and the red panda. Established in 1976, it became country’s first national park that was inscribed as natural world heritage site in Nepal. Encompassing the infinitely majestic snow capped peaks of the Great Himalayan Range, the chain of mountains including the world’s highest Mt. Everest and extensive Sherpa settlements that embody the openness of SNP to the rest of the world. The carefully preserved natural heritage and the dramatic beauty of the high, geologically young mountains and glaciers were recognized by UNESCO with the inscription of the park as a world heritage site in 1979.
10. Chitwan National Park
This national park was one of Nepal’s earliest declared protected areas, with its history reaching back to 1973 when it was established. Located in Chitwan district and covering an area of 952.63 square kilometers, it’s home to hundreds of species, including Bengal tigers and Indian rhinoceroses. It has a particularly rich flora and fauna. The park is also a center for research on primates and birds. The best time to visit is during monsoon season when wild animals come down from their high forest homes. Chitwan National Park was added later to the list of world heritage sites in Nepal in 1984 AD.
These are the 10 world heritage sites in Nepal enlisted by UNESCO. If you’re planning a trip to Nepal, be sure to include these 10 world heritage sites in Nepal on your itinerary. Each site offers an unforgettable experience that can be enjoyed by everyone, not just those who are especially interested in history or the environment. Beside these 10 world heritage sites, there are few more places that should be listed in world heritage sites in Nepal.
How Many World Heritage Sites Are In Nepal?
There are total 10 world heritage sites in Nepal enlisted by UNESCO.
When Was Sagarmatha National Park Enlisted In World Heritage Site?
Sagarmatha National Park was enlisted in World Heritage Site in Nepal in 1979 AD.
Which Is The First World Heritage Site Of Nepal?
The first sites that were added to the list of world heritage sites in Nepal were Sagarmatha National Park and Kathmandu Valley.
Which Is The Last Added World Heritage Site In Nepal?
Lumbini was the last added world heritage site in Nepal. Lumbini gained the status of world heritage in 1997.