UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Cultural & Natural)
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES (Cultural)
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Durbar Square is an overwhelming frenzy of art and architecture. The medieval palace complex is erected in different styles at the right hand side of the Kumari temple. This palace complex is locally known as the Basantapur Durbar or Nautale Durbar and the street is called Basantapur after it. This monument was constructed in 1770 A.D. in the initiation of King Prithivi Narayan Shah after capturing the Kathmandu Valley in 1768 A.D. The massive pagoda structure houses the tutelary deity of the Malla Kings. The palace building is labyrinth of stone paved quadrangles. The coronations ceremony is still performed in the main courtyard, the Nyasal Chowk. The palace façade is tapestry of intricately carved windows, shaded by gently sloping roofs of shimmering brown tiles.
The Swayambhu Stupa crowns a hillock to the west of Kathmandu .A massive white dome surrounded by a 13 stage spire, the stupa is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in Nepal. It is said to be 2000 years old. Its origins are linked to the founding of the Kathmandu valley, draining the water out of the lake by Bodhisattva Manjushree. Swayambhu manifested in the lake as a brilliant light emanating from a lotus and Manjushree let the water out by slashing a passage through the surrounding hills to facilitate paying homage to Swayambhu, thus making the valley inhabitable.
It is the world’s biggest stupa located about 2 kilometers to the north of Pashupatinath temple. This colossal Stupa is known by the name of Bouddhanath, the god of wisdom. It is difficult to assign a period to it, as some believe that it was built during the reign of either Shiva Dev or Anshu Verma in the 7th century A.D. The design is much like the Swayambhu Stupa, except that the final consists of receding squares instead of circles. Bouddhanath attracts the Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world.
One of the holiest Hindu shrines in the world, the temple of Pashupatinath is the focus of pilgrims from all over Nepal and India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is built in the familiar Pagoda style. Chronicles indicate the temple’s existence prior to 400 A.D. It lies 5 kms east of the city center. This holy place is picturesque collection of temples and shrines. All the dying persons are brought to Pashupatinath for cremation. Only the Hindus are allowed to go inside.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
The city of Bhaktapur lies 14 km to the east of Kathmandu. Bhaktapur is the ancient capital of Mallas. Historically, the city was built in the 9th century (889 A.D.) during the reign of King Ananda Deva. The city was originally built in the shape of a sacred conch shell, which is associated with Lord Vishnu, the lord protector. Its Durbar Square is a symphony of art and architecture. The centerpiece is the 55-window palace overlooking the square which is paved over with brick. The history of the palace dates back to the 12th century.
The temple of Changunarayan is situated on a peninsular ridge to the north of Bhaktapur. It was built in the 3rd century and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple is one of the most ancient specimens of Pagoda-roofed shrines in the valley. It is decorated with some of the finest stones, metal and woodcrafts. Most of the architectural wealth was put together during the reign of the Malla king who ruled the Kathmandu valley from the 13th to 18th centuries. The temple is thought to have been builts by Bishnu Gupta, and was latter added to it by Hari Dutta Verma in 323 A.D. The surrounding views are splendid and the temple is the living museum. From Kathmandu, it is 8 miles in the eastern direction. Himalaya peaks like Manaslu (8156m), Ganesh Himal (7111m), Langtang (7246m), Choba Bhamre (6016m), Gaurishankar (7134m) and Numbur (6957m) are also clearly seen from Nagarkot.
Patan Durbar Square
It is an enchanting melange of Palace buildings, artistic courtyards and graceful pagoda temples. This square was the former Royal Palace complex which was the center of Patan’s religious and social life, and houses a museum containing an array of bronze status and religious monuments. One remarkable monument here is 17th century temple dedicated to the Hindu god Krishna, built entirely of stone.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Natural)
CHITWAN NATIONAL PARK
Nepal's first and most famous national park is situated in the Chitwan Doon or the lowlands of the Inner Terai. Covering an area of 932 sq km. the park includes hilly areas of the Siwalik Range covered by deciduous sal forest. One fifth of the park is made up of the floodplains of the Narayani, Rapti, and the Reu Rivers and is covered by dense tall elephant grass interspersed with riverine forests of silk cotton (kapok), acacia and sisam trees. This ecologically diverse area is the last remaining home in Nepal for more than 300 of the endangered Asian one-horned rhinoceros and harbours one of the largest populations of the elusive and rare Bengal tiger. Besides rhino and tiger, Chitwan also supports a great variety of flora and fauna. There are four species of deer, including the spotted chittal, leopard, sloth bear, wild boar, rhesus monkey, grey langur monkey, wild dog, small wild cats, the white stockinged gaur (the world's largest wild cattle) and many other smaller animals. The swampy areas and numerous oxbow lakes of Chitwan provide a home for marsh crocodiles. In a stretch of the Narayani river is found one of the few remaining populations of the rare and endangered fish-only eating gharial, or Gangetic crocodile. Here also is found one of the world's four species of freshwater dolphins. For the ornithologist and the amateur bird-watcher the park offers excellent possibilities with more than 450 species recorded. Some of the resident specialities are several species of woodpeckers, hornbills, Bengal florican, and red-headed trogons. Winter birds such as waterfowl, Brahminy duck, pintails and bareheaded geese, amongst many other cold weather visitors are drawn by the sanctuary of the park's rivers. In the summer the forest is alive with nesting migrants such as the fabulous paradise flycatcher, the Indian pitta and parakeets.
SAGARMATHA NATIONAL PARK ( Mt. Everest )
Unique among natural heritage sites world-wide is the Sagarmatha National Park, which includes Mt. Everest (8,848 m) and other high peaks such as Lhotse Shar, Cho Oyu, Ama Dablam, Pumori, Kangtega, Gyachung Kang, Thamserku and Kwangde. Located North-east of Kathmandu, Sagarmatha National Park is 1,148 sq km. in area and consists of the upper catchment areas of the Dudh Koshi, Bhote Koshi and the Imja Khola rivers. Much of the park lies above 3,000m. Sagarmatha is rugged, with deep gorges, glaciers and unnegotiable ice and rock faces. Locally known as the 'Khumbu', it is the home of the famous Sherpa people. The Sherpas make a living by farming barley and potatoes and graze their yaks in high altitude pastures. Young Sherpas have also made their name in mountaineering and the trekking industry has of late become the community's economic mainstay. In 1979 the park was declared a World Heritage Site.
Trees such as rhododendron, birch, blue pine, juniper and silver fir are found up to an altitude of 4,000 meters above which they give way to scrub and alpine plants. In late spring and summer, the hillsides around the villages of Namche Bazaar, Khumjung, Thyangboche and Thame are a riot of colours with several species of rhododendon in bloom. Wildlife most likely to be seen in Sagarmatha are the Himalaya tahr, ghoral, musk deer, pikka (mouse hare) weasel and occasionally jackal. Other rarely seen animals are Himalayan black bear, wolf, lynx and snow leopard. Birds commonly seen are Impeyan pheasant, blood pheasant, snow cock, snow pigeon, red billed and yellow billed chough, Himalayan griffin vulture and lammergeier.