When it comes to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Nepal has more than it’s fair share…..whether it may be amazing architecture or stunning landscapes.
For simplicity, Nepal’s World Heritage sites can be categorised into four distinct and very, very different locations: The Kathmandu Valley, Sagarmatha National Park (that’s the Everest region!), Chitwan National Park, Lumbini – The birthplace of Buddha
So, let’s take a closer look at each of these and see some of the wonders of each.
The Kathmandu Valley
It could well be argued that the entire Kathmandu Valley is a living museum and a testimony to Nepal’s rich, cultural heritage. In respect of UNESCO World Heritage sites, the focus is on seven groups of monuments and buildings:
These include the Durbar Squares of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur
Changu Narayan Temple near Bhaktapur
The Hindu Temple of Pashupatinath on the banks of the Bagmati River that forms the boundary between Kathmandu and Patan
Swayambunath Temple, more commonly referred to as the Monkey Temple, which lies astride a hill top on the outskirts of Kathmandu and where both Buddhist and Hindu religious structures can be seen together on one site.
Last, but not least the great Stupa of Bouddha, which used to be a site surrounded by open fields, but has now been swallowed up by the ever increasing growth of Kathmandu.
Sagarmatha National Park (The Everest region)
Containing the world’s highest mountain, Everest, and some of the most dramatic mountain landscapes in the world too, the Sagarmatha National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the late 1970’s.
As well as being home to to the unique culture of the Sherpa people, it contains rare wildlife such as the Snow Leopard and Red Panda.
Chitwan National Park
Arguably Nepal’s best known National Park for wildlife and home to around 120 Bengal Tigers, One-Horned Rhino, a myriad of colourful birds and more, that Chitwan is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a surprise to some.
But, it definitely needs to be. Chitwan remains the last surviving natural ecosystem of the Terai and is an area of outstanding natural beauty. A jungle lowland with the Himalayas as a backdrop and the indigenous culture of the Tharu people. Chitwan is so much more than a “jungle safari”.
Famous for being the birth place of Buddha and as a result a long-standing place of pilgrimage, there used to be time when for the non-Buddhist/spiritual visitor there wasn’t a great deal there. However, in recent years and since being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lumbini has become more developed as a Buddhist pilgrimage centre with both conservation and the needs of the visitor in mind.
The main attractions at Lumbini are the Bodhi Tree, a descendant of a fig tree where it’s said that Buddha attained enlightenment, the Ashokan Pillar and the Mayadevi Temple where it’s claimed that Buddha’s birth location is.
Our WORLD HERITAGE NEPAL TOUR visits all of these UNESCO World Heritage Site locations in Nepal