Nepal is home to some of the remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Heritage sites in Nepal vary from natural wonders to magnificent cultural landmarks. While some are keepers of history’s splendor, some are sheltered and lavish havens for thriving biodiversity. UNESCO has identified ten historical sites in Nepal as World Heritage Sites. Among them, 8 are cultural heritage sites with centuries-long historical backgrounds, while 2 are natural heritage sites. Travelers are welcome to discover these brilliant landmarks and appreciate Nepal’s grand and astonishing legacies. Whether you are a nature lover or history and culture buff, the World Heritage Sites of Nepal have something to offer.
1. Kathmandu Durbar Square
Otherwise called Hanuman Dhoka or Basantapur Durbar Square, Kathmandu Durbar Square lies in the core of Kathmandu valley. In English, ‘durbar’ translates as a palace. The durbar square is located in the notable focal point of old Kathmandu. The square is an outdoor gallery of grand ancient temples, pagodas, structures, and holy places. The castle once used to be involved by Nepal’s sheltered imperial family and is still home to the Kumari, Kathmandu’s one-of-a-kind living goddess. So, while in Kathmandu Durbar Square, remember to look at Maru tole, Kumari Ghar, Taleju Temple, Seto Bhairab, and Hanuman Dhoka Palace Museum.
2. Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur Durbar Square is another lovely milestone of Kathmandu valley and a famous World Heritage Site. Among the three urban communities of Kathmandu valley, Bhaktapur is the smallest one. The city is famous for preserving and showcasing the traditional Newari life. The city has a mixed population of Hindu and Buddhist practitioners. Pottery square, Dattatreya Square, Taumadhi Square, and Bhaktapur Durbar square, which unfurls medieval Bhaktapur’s rich culture and history, are must-visit sites.
3. Patan Durbar Square
In 1979 AD, Patan Durbar Square has declared a World Heritage Site. Like Kathmandu, the old illustrious royal residence of Patan has a great Durbar square. This compact mass of temples is perhaps the most externally impressive showcase of Newari architecture in Nepal. From the fourteenth to the eighteenth century, temple buildings in the square went into overdrive during the Malla period. Therefore, when visiting artificial works of art, do not miss to enjoy the temples of Lord Krishna and many other deities. Also, visit the museum and find out about the centuries-long history of the city.
4. Changu Narayan Temple
The origin of the Changu Narayan Temple can be traced back to the Lichchavi era, during the reign of Haridatta Burma in 323 BC. Changunarayan Temple is one of the oldest temples in Nepal and an old archeological site. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, It was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1969.
5. Swoyambhunath Stupa
The famous whitewashed stupa of Swoyambhunath is one of the most consecrated Buddhist places of worship in Nepal. The stupa is otherwise called Monkey Temple because of the many monkeys residing on the temple grounds. The stupa is recognized for the iconic eyes in the electric mishmash of prayer flags. Travelers meander the sanctuaries, turning supplication haggles mantras. Coming to Swoyambhunath is a beautiful experience, with old carvings stuck into each square inch of the space and the smell of incense filling the atmosphere. According to local legend, the origin of Kathmandu is6. linked to the building of this stupa by Boddhisattva Manjushri.
6. Boudhanath Stupa
Boudhanath Stupa was founded in 600 AD by King Songtsen Gompa of Tibet. The stupa is one of the world’s largest dome-shaped stupas. The dome is accurately proportioned and symbolic. The whitewashed dome and its gilded tower decorated with the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha act as a three-dimensional reminder of the journey of the Buddha to enlightenment.
7. Pashupatinath Temple
For Hindu devotees, Pashupatinath is a holy shrine. This magnificent temple lies beside the river Bagmati. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple. They can view the temple from the eastern bank of the Bagmati river. A puja ceremony is held each night on the river banks, below the temple, where hundreds of pilgrims participate. The temple also has one of the oldest Hindu cremation sites in Nepal.
8. Lumbini – The birthplace of Lord Buddha
Lumbini is the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the most excellent spiritual teacher. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the town’s landmarks are the Maya Devi Temple, Sacred Garden, Puskarini Pond, and the many monasteries built by different Buddhist countries. One can experience a feeling of tranquility and harmony here.
Highlights of Lumbini:
Maya Devi Temple, the spot where Buddha was born
Ashoka Pillar, built by Emperor Ashoka, where it is inscribed that this s the spot of Lord buddha’s birth
Explore Puskarini Pond and Sacred Garden
Visit the various monasteries, Lumbini Crane Sanctuary, and the Pagoda for World Peace
09. Chitwan National Park
One of the oldest natural heritage sites in Nepal is Chitwan National Park. The national park is a habitat to a host to wild animals—the park shelters the endangered one-horned rhinoceros and Royal Bengal tiger. The park is also home to sloth bears, gharials, and wild elephants. Chitwan National Park is also one of the best spots for bird watching. Birds such as kingfisher, Bengal floricans, grass warblers, storks, egrets, etc., are found in the park.
Highlights of Chitwan National Park:
Explore the habitat of the endangered one-horned rhino and Royal Bengal tiger
Take a jeep safari into the wilderness and watch the wild creatures without upsetting their natural environment
Stroll around a Tharu village and observe their lifestyle
Enjoy a canoe ride on the Rapti River
10. Sagarmatha National Park
The first Himalayan national park designated a World Heritage Site is Sagarmatha National Park. The park is a rare territory of mountains, glaciers, ice caps, and deep valleys inhabited by Sherpas. The national park has some of the world’s highest mountains, including Mount Everest, the tallest mountain globally. It is a storehouse of rare Himalayan herbs, flowers, and wildlife. Sagarmatha National Park has the most famous trekking destination globally, the Everest Base Camp.