Nepal: World Heritage Sites

World Heritage Sites
  • Hill Station
  • Mountains
  • Major Places around Kathmandu Valley
  • Other Places.
  • Heritage Places
  • National Parks, Wildlife Reserve and Conservation Area.
  • Pilgrimage Sites.
  • Rivers & lakes

The small area of Nepal holds a considerably high number of places recognized by UNESCO as “World Heritage Sites”. The list includes both natural as well as cultural sites. There are all together ten World Heritage Sites in Nepal, out of eight cultural heritage sites, seven of them which glorify the Kathmandu Valley. Nepal is one of the few countries in the world where seven World Heritage Sites are situated within a 20 km. radius. Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Swayambhunath Stupa, Pashupatinath Temple, Bouddhanath Stupa, Changu Narayan Temple are within the valley whereas the birth place of Lord Buddha, Lumbini is the only cultural Heritage site outside the valley. Everest (Sagarmatha) National Park and Chitwan National Park are the two natural heritage sites.



The Pashupatinath temple is the largest Hindu temple and is considered to be the holiest of all Hindu temples. This is a two tiered golden temple with four silver doorways, hundreds of Shiva linga’s , shrines and holy symbols. It is located on the holy river – Bagmati, 6 km east of Kathmandu. Non-Hindus are not allowed into the temple. It is believed that this temple was built long before the Christian era begin. Its original beauty still remains with the beautifully sculpted stone sculptures found here. Thousands of Hindus come here each year on Shivaratri.

Bouddhanath Stupa

Bouddhanath Stupa

This is a huge Buddhist stupa located about 7 Km. east of Kathmandu. It stands on a massive mandala style platform and has features similar to the Swayambhunath, though its final to is bigger. It is said that this stupa was built during the 5th century A.D. Every year, in winter, thousands of pilgrims from neighbouring countries come to visit this place.

Swayambhunath Stupa

Swayambhunath Stupa

This stupa, having hundreds of voltive shrines and other historical monuments in and around it, was built in 250 B.C. This is the largest stupa in Nepal and it displays typical Buddhist architecture. This white dome is regarded as a spotless and pure jewel of Nirvana. It has thirteen tiers, representing the elevator to Nirvana, and a pair of painted eyes on all four sides of this stupa, symbolizing the all seeing eyes of the Buddha.

Changunarayan Temple

Changunarayan TempleThis 5th century temple, located 1500 meters height 24 km away from Kathmandu. and is full of art works on metal and wood. Inscriptions dating back to 464 A.D., found here, are the first epigraphic evidences of Nepali history. The temple itself is dedicated to Vishnu (often called Narayan). In the large square courtyard, many real masterworks in stone sculpture stand or lie around. The oldest piece of is Garuda, the mythical half-bird, half-man (Narayan’s mount), which dates back to the 5th century AD. Should all these art treasures and archeological relics not be enough to satisfy the curiosity of a casual visitor!

Bhaktapur Durbar Square


About 10 Km. east of Kathmandu is a town called Bhaktapur, meaning the city of devotees. It covers an area of 5 sq. Km and was founded by King Anand Dev (889 A.D.) in the shape of a conch shell, which is a sacred symbol. Bhaktapur was once ruled by the Malla’s who built magnificent temples, statues etc.

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square

It is also known as Hanuman Dhoka Durbar, used to be the residence of the Nepali royal family and administrators. This ancient palace lies in the heart of the city. It consists of huge Royal palace with different temples, inside as well as outside the temple, dating from the 15th to the 18th century. This palace is named after Hanuman, the monkey god, as a stone statue of Hanuman is placed right next to the main entrance protecting the whole palace.

Patan Durbar Square

Patan Durbar Square

Patan is located 7 Km. away from Kathmandu. This city has many 15th to 17th century, Hindu and Buddhist, monuments built during the Malla dynasty. The most important area with many monuments is the Patan Durbar Square.



Lumbini is the birth place of Lord Buddha. It is situated 230 Km away from Kathmandu in the Rupandehi District of Southern Terai (lowland), at an altitude of 600 ft. above sea level. Lumbini, respected by all Buddhists. In 1998, Lumbini was declared as the Fountain of world peace and the pilgrimage for all the peace loving people of the world.

World Heritage Sites (Natural):

Everest (Sagarmatha) National Park

Sagarmatha National Park is located to the north-east of Kathmandu in the Kumbu region of Nepal covering an area of 1148 sq. kilometers. The park includes the highest peak in the world, Mt. Sagarmatha (Everest), and several other well-known peaks such as Lhotse, Nuptse, Cho Oyu, Pumori, Ama Dablam, Thamserku, Kwangde, Kangtaiga and Gyachung Kang. Vegetation includes pine and hemlock forests at lower altitudes, fir, juniper, birch and rhododendron woods, scrub and alpine plant communities, and bare rock and snow. The famed bloom of rhododendrons occurs during spring (April and May) although other flora is most colorful during the monsoon season (June to August).

Wild animals most likely to seen in the park are the Himalayan Tahr, Goral, Serow and Musk deer. The Snow Leopard and Himalayan Black bear are present but rarely sighted. Other mammals rarely seen are the Weasel, Maren, Himalayan mouse hare (Pika), Jackal and Langur monkey. The park was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1979.

ChitwanNational Park.

ChitwanNational Park.

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



Dal bhat is a traditional South Asian and staple dish which is essentially rice (bhat) and lentil soup (dal). This is a common dish in South Asian countries, especially Nepal.

Generally eaten twice a day with another (usually spicy but sometime bitter or sour) dish called tarkari which can be either vegetarian or non-vegetarian, usually depending on whether the day is a celebration of some kind.

The recipes vary by locality, ethnic group, family, as well as the season. Dal generally contains lentils (different types are used according to taste), tomatoes, onion, chili and ginger along with herbs and spices such as coriander, garam-masala and turmeric. Dhedo The most average Nepali people have this Dhedo as a meal. It is made of different kinds of flours, ranging from wheat to millet, which is boiled until thick.

The Dhedo, in reality, we soon found, resembles half a sphere of a brown substance with a volcano, crater-like indent at the top, filled with GHEE! This stodgy lump of thickened flour, will not suit everyone's taste-buds.

I.e. it has a slightly gummy and fibrous texture but bland taste (like saw dust ! haha… kidding) which amazingly went great with the accompanying curries and gundruk (veg
etables). Because of harsh conditions prevailing in the highlands of the Himalayas, foods are preserved by dehydrating or fermenting staple ingredients during their growing season. Examples include Sukuti - dehydrated meat and Gundruk - fermented vegetables.

Gundruk is the nepali name for dry spincah. It is said to be the poor people food. In nepal, the village people used to eat gundruk und dhedo ( dry flour).


Festivals in Nepal

JamaraIt is said festivals outnumber days in Nepal, hardly one goes by without one ethnic group or another having a reason to celebrate.

Vijaya Dashami (Joint Family Dasain) :

Is the main national festival of Nepal. Every Nepali is stirred by the prospects of joy that this festival brings with it. There is a change of mood in the weather with the humidity of the monsoon behind as the autumn season sets in. The climate is ideal at this time; it is neither too cold nor too warm.

Clear days and a clear blue sky coupled with green carpeted fields, give cause for both celebration and optimism. The Nepalese people cherish Dashain as a time for feasting and dressing up. Each house sets up a shrine to worship the Goddess at this time and barley seeds are planted on the first day in every household, they are then nurtured for nine days,

TikaDuring this period Goddess Durga Bhawani is worshipped with a lot of animal sacrifices. Buffaloes, goats, chickens and ducks are killed at the temples and many households. On the concluding day of the festival, called the Tika, the elders of the family give Tika to their junior members and to other relatives who also come to get their blessings, the fresh shoots of the barley are put on the head or ear. Family feasting and feting of guests is a common practice at this time.

Tihar (sister and brother / the festival of light) :
Tihar quickly follows Dasain, it lasts for five days and is marked by the worship of different animals on certain days: The crow, dog and cow followed by Puja. The most important day is Laxmi Puja.

The most fascinating sight of this festival is the illumination of the entire town with rows of small flickering lamps and candles in celebration of Laxmi Puja. (Goddes of wealth).

On the fifth day, sisters show their affection toward their brothers with a grand Puja, they feed them with delicious food. They pray to Yama, the Hindu God of death for their brothers long life

Bala Chaturdasi
It is thought that one year after the death the soul of the dead wanders around awaiting entrance to the under world. It is the inescapable duty of living relatives to provide it with substance, comfort and peace once or twice each year, Bala Chaturdasi represents one of these occasions. The relatives pay homage to Pashupatinath and offer grains while making a circumference of the temple.

Maghe Sankranti
A Sankranti signifies the first day of any month in the Nepali calendar year. Maghe Sankranti is celebrated on the first day of the month of Magh (January) taken as a holy day in Nepal because the sun on this day is believed to be astrologically in a good position. It commences on a northward journey through the heavens thus announcing the beginning of the Uttarayana. Nepalese believe this day marks the division of the winter and the summer solstice. Bathing in rivers, especially at the river confluence and feasting with rich food are both common practice during this festival.

Basanta Panchami
On this day Nepalese people bid farewell to the winter season and look forward to the spring . Most of the people of Nepal worship the Goddess of learning “ SARASWATI”. The people of Katmandu valley go to a little shrine near Swayambhunath to worship this Goddess.

Maha Shivaratri
This is the most famous and celebrated Hindu festival of Nepal which attracts large amounts of people from places far afield, both from India and Nepal. The festival is celebrated in honour of Lord Shiva and is observed by bathing and religious fasting. All Shiva shrines become places to visit for “Darshan”, the greatest attraction of all is held at the temple for Pashupatinath (on the banks of the holy Bagmati river a tributary to the Ganges) in Kathmandu. Thousands of Hindu devotees throng the temple, among them are a large number of Sadhus and naked ascetics. Many people stay awake for the whole night meditating over an oil lamp burnt to please Shiva. In the afternoon an official function is held to celebrate this festival at Tundikhel, the main parade ground in central Kathmandu, where the The Nepal Army organizes a show.

Fagu Purnima
Known as Holy, is the festival of colour. It is observed for eight days just before the full moon of March. During this time people indulge in throwing coloured water balloons at each other. The last day people “let loose” with coloured paste and water that they spread over all those that wish to play. The festival does not have any religious importance, nevertheless it has got some official status because it is heralded by the erection of a wooden pole with colourful streamers beside the old Royal Palace at Basantapur.

Ghode Jatra

The festival has two distinct ways of celebrating. Culturaly it involves the Newars of Kathmandu, who celebrate for many days during this time. The idols of the Gods of many localities are taken in a procession in their area on portable chariots and every household will be feasting.

Less formerly, a display for the people is organised by the Nepalese Army at the parade grounds at Tundikhel in central Kathmandu. In the afternoon of the main day horse races and acrobatic shows are presented. A meeting of Kumari, Bhadrakali, Kankeshori and Bhairab at the bazzar in Asan on the second day of the main celebration is another highlight of the festival.

Seto Machhendranath Jatra
Seto Machhendranath Jatra is a popular festival held in honour of the white Machhendranath, who is actually the Padmapani Lokeswara (incarnation of Lord Buddha). A permanent shrine to him is situated at Matsyendra Bahal in Kel Tole in the bazaar area of central Kathmandu.

A huge wooden chariot set on four large wheels and supporting two tall towers covered with green foliage is made ready for receiving the image of the divinity before being hauled by people around the old town. There is a huge turnout to pay homage to Seto Machhendranath who is also said to be the “Embodiment of Compassion“ of life at this time.

Ram Nawami
The celebration of the birth of Ram, one of the incarnations of Vishnu, a prominent Hindu God. A fast is observed and worship is offered to Ram followed by a special celebration that takes place at Janakpur temple a famous temple dedicated to Ram and Janaki in the Terai region of Nepal.

Machhendranath Jatra
The festival takes place every twelve years between the settlements of Bungmati and Patan where the two shrines of Machhendranath, the most widely respected deity of the Kathmandu valley are found. It is the biggest social-cultural event for both towns . The festivsal begins with a chariot (30 mtrs high appr) journey around the town of Bungmati, the Chariot is then hauled by the people along the lanes and small roads, 12 kms to Patan and beyond. Machhendranath’s popular name is Bunga Deo, non-Newars also call him by the name of Red Machhendranath.

A smaller yearly event is celebrated in Patan where a three wheeled chariot is prepared at Pulchowk and pulled through the town in stages for several days before it reaches Jawalakhel for the final celebration.The two Machhendranaths of Patan and Kathmandu form part of same cult of Avalokiteswara in the Mahayan religion.

Buddha Jayanti
A day which falls on the full moon of the month to celebrate the birth, knowledge, enlightenment and death of Gautam Buddha, the founder and preacher of Buddhism. Prayers are sung and worship is offered by Buddhists in leading Buddhist shrines throughout the country. The birth place of Lord Buddha, Lumbini is a major focus on this day, a huge fare is held on this day.

Janai Purnima (Rakchshya Bandhan)

Janai Purnima falls on the full moon of the month of July. Considered a very sacred day, this festival is held throughout Nepal and is celebrated in different ways by various ethnic groups. The most widely accepted way of celebration is performed by Brahmins and Kshetris, the two major castes of Nepal. A ritual bath is taken followed by a change Janai (a holy thread worn across the shoulder). The Brahmins distribute strings of thread to be worn on the wrist as protective symbol for the following year. Many people travel for days to the higher Helembu region and the Sacred Lakes of Gossainkunda to bathe in the Holy waters. The pageantry of the Jhankris attired in their traditional costume as they come to bath at Kumbheshwor in Patan is one highlight on this day. These Jhankris also visit the temple of Kalinchowk Bhagawati in the Dolakha district (east of Kathmandu). They go to display their healing powers and are the traditional healers for Nepalese villages.

The week beginning from Janai Purnima begins a season of many religious and cultural activities. All the Buddhist monasteries open their gates to visitors to view their bronze sculptures and collections of paintings for a week. In Patan, people celebrate the festival of Mataya at this time.

Gai Jatra (The cow festival)Gai jatra
The festival portrays teenage boys dressed up as cows who parade in the streets of the town. This custom springs from the belief that cows help the members of the family who died within that year to travel to heaven smoothly. Some people dress up as an ascetic or a fool for achieving the same objective. Groups of mimics improvise short satirical performances on the current social scenes of the town for the entertainment of the public.

The festival of Gai Jatra itself lasts for a week, it is punctuated by many lively performances of dance and drama in the different localities of the town. The spirit of the old festival has been increasingly adapted by cultural centres, newspapers and magazines to fling humour and satire on the Nepalese social and political life.

Krishna Aastami
Is held in celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna, one of the incarnations of Vishnu. Religious fasting is observed, the Krishna temple in Patan is visited by many devotees on this day. A procession goes around the town displaying the pictures of Lord Krishna, a practice that was started in recent years by a religious organisation called the Sanatan Dharma Sewa Samiti.


Teej is the main festival for the women of Nepal. On this day the Nepalese women go to a Shiva temple in colorful dresses to worship Lord Shiva. In the Kathmandu valley, the majority of women will visit Pashupatinath to worship Shiva (Hindu God of Destruction), to make a wish for the long life of their husbands.

Indra JatraIndra Jatra
Indra Jatra bares many similarities to Gai Jatra, only the practices differ. The festival also heralds a week of religious and cultural activity in Kathmandu. On the night when this festival begins, members of the family in which there has been a death within the last year go around the town limits of Kathmandu burning incense and placing lamps along the route. The next morning a tall wooden pole representing the statue of Indra and large wooden masks of Bhairab are displayed in the bazaar. Several groups of religious dances are performed during the week in celebration of Devinach (women goddesses). The week commences with pulling of a chariot of Ganesh, Bhairava and Kumari in Kathmandu. The day also commemorates the victorious march on the town by King Prithvi Narayan Shah, the founding ruler of Nepal who conquered the town and assumed power in 1768.


Kumari Devi

20 months ago: PATAN, NEPAL - MARCH 23: Kumari Devi (means Royal Living Goddess) Chanira Bajracharya, 12, blesses Nepali women in the puja room March 23, 2007 in Patan, Nepal. As a royal Kumari, Chanira doesn't leave the home except for special holidays, and is tutored since she isn't allowed go to a public school. Nepal has countless gods, goddesses, deities and Buddhas. The Kumari Devi is a young girl who is prepubescent, considered to be a real goddess, worshipped and revered, the practice going back hundreds of years into Nepali culture. She must meet 32 strict physical requirements ranging from the color of her eyes to the sound of her voice. Her horoscope must also be appropriate as well. Although there are many Kumaris in Nepal, the Kathmandu goddess is the most important and only makes rare public appearances. The Kumari's reign ends with her first period, after that she reverts back to the status of a normal mortal. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Chanira Bajracharya


MOUNT EVEREST : The Pride of Nepal

The official altitude of the world's highest peak is 29,029 feet (8,848m). However, the National Geographic Society has determined the height to be 6 feet taller, 29,035 feet, but the Nepali government has not yet been made this new altitude official.

Shifting tectonic plates continue to push Everest upward, along with the whole Himalaya mountain range, at 1.6 to 3.9 inches (4 to 10 centimeters) per year.
Everest is part of the Himalaya mountain range along the border of Nepal and Tibet. It is located 27° 59' North latitude, 86° 55' East longitude.

In 1841, Sir George Everest, Surveyor General of India from 1830 to 1843, first recorded the location of Everest. It was subsequently named "Peak XV". In 1865, it was renamed Mt. Everest to honor Sir George.

Everest is also called Chomolungma in Tibet and Sagarmatha in Nepal.



Chitwan National Park in the central Terai lowlands and Bardia National Park in the western Terai provide some of the best wildlife and nature viewing places in Asia. Visit a wonderful world of lush sub-tropical jungles, tall elephant grass, lakes and rivers - home to some of the most endangered animals on earth, the elusive tiger and the prehistoric rhinoceros, including many species of mammals, birds, insects and reptiles. Tour by elephant back, jeep and boat. Savor the forest and its unique sanctuary on a quite nature walk with a local guide. For the more serious bird watcher the Kosi Tapu Wildlife Park, in south-east Nepal, provide a unique venue for watching migratory waterfowl, waders and shore birds that congregate along the Kosi River from December to February every year. We have a choice of Jungle Lodges, Tented Camps and Guest Houses from where you can explore the Himalayan parks and its wildlife.

At the foot of the Himalayas, Chitwan is one of the few remaining undisturbed vestiges of the 'Terai' region, which formerly extended over the foothills of India and Nepal. It has a particularly rich flora and fauna. One of the last populations of single-horned Asiatic rhinoceros lives in the park, which is also one of the last refuges of the Bengal tiger.

Cebong`s Notez
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