UNESCO Heritage Sites

UNESCO Heritage Sites

UNESCO Heritage Sites is a very important destination for tourists. Most of the tourists come to Nepal by air and stay in Kathmandu at least for a day, as the only international airport is in the Kathmandu Valley. Being the capital city, Kathmandu has a lot of touristic things to offer and is always on the list for every traveler in Nepal.

There are many beautiful places that you can visit within Kathmandu. It is now the federal capital as well as the biggest metropolitan city. From UNESCO world heritage sites, temples, hiking trails, museums, shopping malls, farmers markets to local eateries.

Traditional villages and agricultural farmlands, it’s a perfect place to understand and enjoy the Nepalese way of life. Besides the Kathmandu Valley according to the time duration of our guest, we will arrange the programmed.

UNESCO has listed 4 World Heritage Sites in Nepal. Chitwan National Park and Sagarmatha National Park are in Natural World Heritage Sites. Pashupati Nath Temple, KDS, LDS, BDS, Swyambhu, Bouddha, and Changu are in World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu. Similarly, the birthplace of Lord Buddha (Lumbini) is in Cultural World Heritage Sites outside Kathmandu.

Our service for our guest

UNESCO Heritage Sites

Our trips are fully supported and offered personalized service to our guests. If you’re interested to involve in these trips by your interest, time, and physical and mental preparation it’s fine.

Besides this, Hot Spring Trek, Trek near Kathmandu, Panchase Trek, Ghalegaun Trek, Chepang Hill Trek, Chisapani Nagarkot Trek, Ghorepani Ghandruk Trek are available.

Similarly, Annapurna Circuit Trek – 14 Days, Annapurna Base Camp Trek – 14 Days, and many more are in Annapurna Region.

Other hands, Everest Base Camp Trek – 12 Days, Everest Three Pass Trek – 17 Days are in Everest Region

In Langtang Region Holy Gosainkunda Trek – 6 Days, Langtang Valley Trek – 9 Days, Langtang Gosainkunda Chisapani Trek – 13 Days are available.

Manasalu Area Trek – 15 Days, Upper Mustang Trek – 14 Days, Nar Phu Valley Trek – 12 Days, Rara Lake Trek – 11 Days are in Restricted Region.

As well as Ganesh Himal, Kanchanjunga, Makalu Trek, and furthermore programs are organized by Robinson Crusoe Holidays.

Among the cultural programmed; Honeymoon Tour Package – 10 Days, Nepal Pleasure Tour – 8 Days, Adventure Package Tour – 14 Days, Historical Nepal Tour – 10 Days, Spiritual tour Package – 12 Days, Kathmandu Unique tour – 5 Days, Historical Gorkha Village Tour 9 Days, Nepal India Cultural Tour – 10 Days, Nepal Bhutan Tibet Tour – 12 Days.

If you are interested to plan your tour and trek yourself according to your interest we manage it. According to your time duration and schedule, please go to our Plan Trip or Customize Trip.

Robinson Crusoe Holiday is always ready to provide excellent services for our guests. Based on our cultural motto “Matri Debo Bhaba, Pitrii Debo Bhaba, Atithi Debo Bhaba.” Mother as a God, Father as a God, and Guest as a God.

Overview

UNESCO Heritage Sites

UNESCO has listed 4 World Heritage Sites in Nepal; Chitwan National Park and Sagarmatha National Park are listed as UNESCO Natural World Heritage Sites; 7 sites in Kathmandu Valley counted together as one and Lumbini the birthplace of Lord Buddha are listed as UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Sites.

  • Kathmandu Valley: Kathmandu valley is bowl-shaped. It’s central lower part stands at around 1300 meters above sea level. Kathmandu valley is surrounded by four mountain ranges: Shivapuri, Phulchowki, Nagarjunand Chandragiri. The major river flowing through the Kathmandu Valley is the Bagmati. In other words, Bagmati jaladhar chhetra is known as Kathmandu valley. The valley is made up of the Kathmandu District, Lalitpur District, and Bhaktapur District covering an area of 220 square miles (570 km2). The valley is a cultural and political hub of Nepal. The Kathmandu valley was accorded the status of a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1979.

(I) World Heritage Sites (Cultural)

(i) Kathmandu Durbar Square

Centered in Kathmandu, Kathmandu Durbar Square has Hanuman Dhoka, Degutale Temple, Taleju Mandir, Nasal Chowk, and Nine story Basantapur Tower, Panch Mukhi Hanuman Temple, Mul Chowk, Mohan Chowk, Sundari Chowk, Tribhuvan Museum, King Mahendra Memorial Museum, and Kal Bhairab temple in its vicinity. Hindu Mythology boasts that if a person interprets 17th century stone inscriptions written in 15 different languages on the walls of the palace of Hanuman Dhoka, there would be instant flooding of milk from the wall. Hanuman Dhoka was the former Royal Palace of the Malla kings and later was passed onto the Shah dynasty.

The royal family lived in the Hanuman Dhoka palace till 1886 and thereafter shifted to Narayanhiti palace. However, the palace is still used for ritual and ceremonial occasions. A new King is crowned inside the palace. The palace has a 17th-century statue of Hanuman to the left of the palace entrance and an amazing sculpture of Lord Narasimha. The palace bears the historical reminisce of the Royal family, culture, and religion of Nepal. Museums inside the palace let one explore the culture, religion, custom, tradition, architecture, history of Royal palaces, etc.

  1. Taleju Temple: The sanctuary worked by King Mahendra Malla in 1562 AD was devoted to the illustrious divinity of the Malla rulers. Laying on a 12 arrange plinth, the sanctuary is 36.6 meters high. The sanctuary is opened to general society only once a year amid Nawami of Dashain (sept-oct).

Taleju Temples are named after and devoted to Goddess Taleju Bhawani, a holy divinity who has four heads and ten arms. Brilliant statues and metalwork portraying the ten-furnished Goddess can be found in different areas around the three Taleju Temples. Inside the sanctuaries are the sanctums of Taleju Bhawani and the Kumari, Nepal’s Living Goddess. Taleju Bhawani was the tribe Goddess of the Malla lords, who ruled Nepal from the twelfth to the eighteenth century, which clarifies the presence of a Taleju Temple in each of the valley’s three primary downtown areas.

  1. Krishna Temple: This octagonal sanctuary devoted to Lord Krishna was worked in 1649 AD by Pratap Malla in memory of his two dead rulers. There is a say in the epigraph that the sanctuary contains the status of the ruler and his rulers speaking to as Lord Krishna and his consorts. Inside there are pictures of Krishna and two goddesses, which, as indicated by a Sanskrit engraving, are demonstrated on the lord and his two spouses. The sanctuary’s Newari engraving fails to say the Lord’s little demonstration of vanity.
  2. Jagannath Temple: The picture of Jagannath was introduced in 1563 AD amid the rule of Mahendra Malla and the sanctuary is well known for sensual carvings. The reason why the temple is so famous among the tourists is the various types of erotic carvings on its roof. The temple is located at Durbar square and it is the oldest structure in this part of the famous Durbar Square. While in his reign, Pratap Malla claimed that it was he who constructed the temple and brought it to people’s attention. But when we consider the historical context of the temple, it is said to be made during the 16th century while Mahendra Malla was in the reign. There are two stories and three tiers in the temple. Although there are three doors, one on each side of the temple only the center door is opened for people to visit it.
  3. Pratap Dhoj pillar: Golden images of Pratap Malla and his family decorate the column top of the Pratap Dhoj Pillar. This column was built by Pratap Malla in the seventeenth century. Columns of this sort have been traditionally put up more as a token of respect to the divine than for self-love. The Pratap Column faces the temple of Degu Taleju, who is the family divinity of the Mallas. Pratap Malla built this column essentially to express his devotion to his principal deity. According to an inscription on this column, the memorial was created for Pratap Malla, his two queens Priya Devi and Prabhawati Devi and his five princes Bhupendra Malla, Chakravartendra Malla, Mahipatendra Malla, Nripendra Malla, and Parthivendra Malla
  4. Degutalle Temple: A tantric goddess speaking to the family god of the Malla Kings is revered in the sanctuary and access is confined to guests. The sanctuary lies inverse the stone section and was worked in 1671 AD by King Shiva Singh and later redesigned by ruler Pratap Malla.
  5. Hanuman Statue: Bowing Hanuman, the monkey god, situated on a stone platform and flanked by a couple of lions symbolizes quality and assurance against every single conceivable danger. The Hanuman platform was raised by Lord Pratap Malla in 1672AD.
  6. Shiva-Parvati Temple: Looking north from the plinth of the destroyed Maju Deval, a couple of much-captured white pictures of Shiva and his associate watch out from the upstairs window. The sanctuary was worked by Bahadur Shah, the child of Prithvi Narayan Shah. In spite of the fact that the sanctuary isn’t exceptionally old by Kathmandu benchmarks, it remains on a two-arrange stage that may have been an open moving stage many years sooner.
  7. Enormous Bell: The bell, built by King Rana Bahadur Shah in 1797, is rung only when worship is offered to Taleju Bhawani. The temple of Taleju, however, was built in the Malla period during the reign of King Mahendra Malla in 1564. The temple opens for a public visit only on the day of Ashwin Shukla Navami.
  8. Kal Bhairav: Bhairav is a standout amongst the most unsafe types of Lord Shiva and among the different types of Bhairav; Kala Bhairav is the most hazardous one. The exacting significance of Kala is ‘time’ or ‘demise’, henceforth, Kala Bhairav is likewise considered as the ‘Ruler of time or passing’. Considered as the master of the planetary divinity Shani (Saturn), Kala Bhairav is regularly delineated conveying the executed head of Brahma as it is said that the blame of trimming out one of the five heads of Brahma influenced him to convey the head and meander around as vagabond for quite a while until the point that he was acquitted of the transgression.

The image of Kala Bhairav is situated in the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square premises in Kathmandu is said to be the largest image of the Lord and is also considered as one of the powerful temples in Kathmandu valley. The 12 foot high stone image of Kala Bhairav which is enshrined in the temple is said to have been sculpted in the 5th or 6th century and was later rediscovered in a paddy field in the 17th century by the Malla King Pratap Malla. Legend has it that the temple served as a supreme court in Nepal for a long time as the people believed that the person who lied in front of the sculpture would be dead by the powers of the Lord. The image of the lord is black in color and is worshipped every day by the people living in the area and also, those who happen to pass by the image make sure to bow and pay their respects to the Lord.

  1. Maju Deval: This 17th-century temple was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake. All that remains is the temple’s nine-stage ochre platform. The temple dated from 1690 and was built by the mother of Bhaktapur’s King Bhupatindra Malla (Queen Mother Riddhi Laxmi). The large, triple-roofed temple had erotic carvings on its roof struts and a Shiva lingam (phallic symbol) inside. At the bottom of the temple stairway on the east side was a small white temple to Kama Deva, the Hindu god of love and desire. It was built in the Indian shikhara style, with a tall corn cob–like a spire.
  2. Trilokya Mohan Narayan: This small five-roofed temple dating from 1680 was completely destroyed in the 2015 earthquake. All that remains is the fine Garuda kneeling before it, added later by King Prithvibendra Malla’s widow soon after his death. The temple was dedicated to Narayan/Vishnu and featured Vaishnavite images on the carved roof struts and window screens with decoratively carved medallions. Dances depicting the 10 incarnations of Vishnu are performed on the platforms to the east of the temple during the Indra Jatra festival.
  3. Basantapur Durbar: The Basantapur Durbar otherwise called Nau-table durbar was worked by lord Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1770 AD. Close by there are other high-standing pagodas known as Kirtipur Tower, Bhaktapur Tower, and Lalitpur Tower.

UNESCO Heritage Sites

There is certainly significantly more to see in Basantapur among which are; the Gaddhi Baithak, a European style building, worked in 1908 by the Ranas. Hanuman Dhoka Museum (Tribhuwan Museum), observes King Tribhuwan and his fruitful rebel against the Rana administration, alongside remembrances to King Mahendra and Birendra. A stone engraving kept in touch with goddess Kalika in 15 dialects including 1 French word by King Pratap Malla in 1664. Legend has it that drain will spill out of the gush in the center, should anybody have the capacity to read all the 15 dialects recorded there.

  1. Kastamandap: Kathmandu owes its name to this ancient building, which was sadly destroyed in the 2015 earthquake. Although its history is uncertain, local tradition says the three-roofed building was constructed around the 12th century from the wood of a single sal tree, though recent research dates the foundations as far back as the 7th century. It first served as a community center where visitors gathered before major ceremonies (a mandap is a 16-pillared pilgrim shelter), but later it was converted to a temple dedicated to Gorakhnath, a 13th-century ascetic who was subsequently linked to the royal family.

A central wooden enclosure housed the image of the god, which was noteworthy since Gorakhnath is usually represented only by his footprints. In the corners of the building were four images of Ganesh.

  1. Ashok Vinayak: This sanctuary committed to the elephant god Ganesha is venerated both by the Hindus and Buddhists alike and is one of his most vital places of worship in the valley. At the top of Maru Tole, surrounded by the rubble of the temples that used to surround it, this tiny golden shrine is one of the four most important Ganesh shrines in the valley. Constant streams of visitors help themselves to the self-serve tika (sandalwood paste) dispenser and then ring the bells at the back. An offering at this shrine is thought to ensure safety on a forthcoming journey, so come here if you are headed on a trek. It’s uncertain how old the temple is, although its gilded roof was added in the 19th century. Look for the golden shrew (Ganesh’s vehicle) opposite the temple.
  2. Dhansa/Kabinrapur: This wooden temple, also known as the Dhansa Dega, is an ornate 17th-century performance pavilion that houses the god of music. This sanctuary was worked in 1673AD by Pratap Malla to begin another conceal move of Narasimha, an incarnation of Vishnu.
  3. Kumari ghar: At the junction of Durbar and Basantapur squares, this red-brick, three-storey building is home to the Kumari, the girl who is selected to be the town’s living goddess and a living symbol of Devi the Hindu concept of female spiritual energy. Inside the building is Kumari Chowk, a three-storey courtyard. It is enclosed by magnificently carved wooden balconies and windows, making it quite possibly the most beautiful courtyard in Nepal.

UNESCO Heritage Sites

The building, in the style of the Buddhist vihara (monastic abodes) of the valley, was built in 1757 by Jaya Prakash Malla. The courtyard contains a miniature stupa carrying the symbols of Saraswati, the goddess of learning. Kumari around the city during the annual Indra Jatra festival. Look for the huge wooden runners with their sacred painted tips in front of the Kumari Bahal that are used to transport the chariot.

(ii) Bhaktapur Durbar Square: Bhaktapur lies in the Eastern part of Kathmandu valley. Also known as Bhadgaon or Khwopa, Bhaktapur is regarded as the abode of ancient Nepali culture, custom, and alluring arts pieces of excellent craftsmanship. Each historical monument represents the medieval culture, religion, and customs of Nepal. The newari populace has largely dominated Bhaktapur. Bhaktapur is the only place in Nepal that has remained untouched by western culture. Lion Gate, Golden Gate, Art Gallery, Statue of King Bhupatindra, Nyatapola Temple, and fifty-five windowed Malla palaces are the living pride of Bhaktapur. The place houses the finest restaurants and hotels to cater to the needs and requirements of tourists.

  1. Siddha Pokhari (Ta-Pukhu) Indra Daha: Siddha Pokhari is a beautiful pond situated at the entrance of the ancient city Bhaktapur. This pond was built around six hundred years ago; during the reign of Medieval King Yakshya Malla. On the auspicious occasion of Ashwin Krishna Dwitiya (the next day of Indra Jatra), hundreds of devotees gather around the Siddha Pokhari. They take holy dips in the pond and worship goddess Indrayani, (They believe that their worship pleases the goddess and their family gets happiness and her blessings). On the very day, the Siddha Pokhari is decorated with oil lamps all around its boundary. There are statues of Shaiva, Shakti, Buddhists, and Vaishnav sects from Lichhavi to Malla Times surrounding the Temple. There is also a tradition of worshipping Basuki Nag (Serpent God) as provisions in a Tantric way. (It is especially done in droughts; it is believed Worshipping Bashuki Nag brings rain in droughts.)
    Other very enchanting and beautiful views in the Pokhari are its fishes. Friends, family members with children come here to enjoy the pleasure of feeding the numerous fishes in the pond.
  2. Golden Gate: The magnificent Golden Gate is a visual highlight of Durbar sq. Set into a bright red gatehouse surrounded by white palace walls; the fabulous golden portal boasts some of Nepal’s finest repoussé metalwork. The gilded Torana features a fabulous Garuda wrestling with a number of supernatural serpents, while below is a four-headed and 10-armed figured of the goddess Taleju Bhawani, the family deity of the Malla kings.

Construction of the gate began during the reign of King Bhupatindra Malla (1696–1722), and the project was completed by his successor, Jaya Ranjit Malla, in 1754. The death of Jaya Ranjit Malla marked the end of the Malla dynasty and the end of the golden age of Newari architecture in Nepal.

As you enter the palace complex, hidden behind grills in the darkness on either side of the inner gate is a pair of enormous war drums, which were used to rouse the city in the event of an attack. From here you’ll pass the two statues of traditionally dressed guards standing either side of an ornate door, brought here from Rajasthan.

Continuing on you’ll reach the main entrance to Mul Chowk, the oldest part of the palace and the site of Taleju Temple, built-in 1553. Damaged in the earthquake but not destroyed, it is one of the most sacred temples in Bhaktapur. Only Hindus can enter, but you can peer in and admire its entrance, which is fronted by magnificent woodcarvings. Photography is prohibited.

Continuing on around the corner from Mul Chowk is the Naga Pokhari, a 17th-century water tank used for the ritual immersion of the idol of Taleju. The pool is encircled by a writhing stone cobra and other serpents rise up in the middle and at the end of the tank, where water pours from a magnificent Dhara (spout) in the form of a goat being eaten by a Makara.

  1. King Bhupatindra Malla’s Column: With hands folded in a prayer position, the bronze statue of King Bhupatindra Malla sits atop a column in front of the Vatsala Durga Temple. The statue was created in 1699 and similar statues were erected in the Durbar Sqs of Kathmandu and Patan. Both of the latter collapsed in 2015, and then restored. Bhupatindra was the best known of the Malla kings of Bhaktapur and contributed too much of the architecture in town.
  2. Taleju Bell: In front of the Vatsala Durga Temple is a large bell, which was erected by King Jaya Ranjit Malla in 1737 to mark morning and evening prayers at the Taleju Temple. A smaller bell on the plinth of the Vatsala Durga Temple was known as the ‘barking bell’. According to legend, it was erected by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1721 to counteract a vision he had in a dream, and dogs were said to bark and whine when the bell was rung. Unfortunately, it was damaged when the temple collapsed in 2015 and it now sits forlornly in a corner of the entrance to Mul Chowk.

Behind the bell, the pavilion is an ornate sunken hiti containing a fine stone dhara in the form of a Makara, topped by a crocodile and a frog.

  1. Fifty-five windows palace: Fifty-five windows palace was Built by King Yaksha Malla, the Palace of Fifty-Five Windows have hand-carved wooden columns, the likenesses of Hindu deities, and precariously balanced architectural features abounded throughout the structure off Bhaktapur Durbar Square.

Remodeled in 1677 AD century by King Bhupatindra Malla, the structure’s highlight is its balcony of 55 windows, “considered to be a unique masterpiece of woodcarving”. Everywhere there was another intricately carved religious scene and or Hindu deity on a roof beam or a window casing at the Palace of 55 Windows. Most buildings on a regular basis have a tendency toward utilitarianism, but these structure’s details aspire to the loftier goal of an enlightened being.

  1. Char Dham Temples: Standing at the western end of Durbar sq, the four Char Dham temples were constructed to provide spiritual merit for pilgrims who were unable to make the journey to the Indian state of Uttaranchal to visit its famed Char Dham temples. The shikhara-style Kedarnath Temple, dedicated to Shiva. This is located at front side of white palace. The two-roofed Gopi Nath Temple (also called Jagarnath) features different incarnations of Vishnu on the ceiling struts and a statue of Garuda on the pillar at the entrance.

The small Rameshwar Temple, topped by an ornate dome, is still standing on its four repaired but cracked pillars. The Badrinath Temple is sacred to Vishnu in his incarnation as Narayan. This is located at the southwest of Dwarika Nath Temple.

  1. Ugrachandi & Bhairab Statues: As you enter Durbar Sq through the western gate, look left to a gateway flanked by two stocky stone lions, erected by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1701. On either side are statues of the terrible Bhairab Nath temple is a central two roof big temple situated enclosed Chardham temple right, the rending, sundering incarnation of Shiva, and his consort on the left side, the equally terrible Ugrachandi (Durga). It is said that the unfortunate sculptor had his hands cut off afterward, to prevent him from duplicating his masterpieces.

Ugrachandi has 18 arms holding various Tantric weapons symbolizing the multiple aspects of her character. She is depicted casually killing a demon with a trident to symbolize the victory of wisdom over ignorance. Bhairab gets by with just 12 arms, one holding two heads impaled on a trident and another holding a cup made from a human skull. The statues originally guarded a courtyard that was destroyed in the 1934 quake.

  1. National Art Gallery: The western end of Bhaktapur’s Royal Palace contains the best of the three museums in Bhaktapur. Inside, you can view an extensive collection of Tantric cloth painting the Hindu version of Buddhist thangkas as well as palm-leaf manuscripts, and metal, stone, and wooden votive objects, some of which date from the 12th century. Keep hold of your ticket as this also covers the Woodcarving Museum and Brass & Bronze Museum in Tachupal Tole.

The entrance to the gallery is flanked by two huge guardian lions, one male, and one female. Besides the lions are some imposing 17th-century statues of Hanuman the monkey god, in his four-armed Tantric form, and Vishnu, as the gut-ripping Narsingha.

Inside the gallery are portraits of all the Shah Kings, including a surly Gyanendra (the last of the Nepali kings) following the abolition of the monarchy in 2008 AD. In the first gallery lookout for depictions of the nightmarish Maha Sambhar, with 21 faces and an unbelievable number of arms, and then turn around on the spot for scenes from the Kama Sutra.

  1. Pottery Square: Hidden down shop-lined alleyways leading south from the curving road to Taumadhi Tole, Pottery Sq is exactly what you would expect a public square full of potter’s wheels and rows of clay pots drying in the sun. Nearby buildings were damaged by the 2015 earthquake, but life and pottery in the square continue.

This is the center of Bhaktapur’s ceramic industry, and it’s a fascinating place to wander around. Several shops sell the finished article, and you can see the firing process at the back of the square, which is lined with mud, covered straw kilns.

On the northern side of the square, a small hillock is topped by a shady pipal tree and a Ganesh shrine, surrounded by piles of straw for the pottery kilns. In the square itself are a solid-brick Vishnu Temple, which was constructed from remnants of temples destroyed in the 1934 quake, and the double-roofed Jeth Ganesh Temple, whose priest is chosen from the Kumal (Pottery) caste. During the harvest in October, every square inch that is not covered by pots is covered by drying rice.

  1. Til Mahadev Narayan Temple: This interesting temple at Taumadhi Tole has hidden away behind the buildings at the south end of the square. The Til Mahadev Narayan Temple is set in an untidy courtyard, but this is actually an important place of pilgrimage and one of the oldest temples in the city. An inscription states that the site has been in use since 1080 and that the image of Til Mahadev was installed here in 1170.

The double-tiered temple is fronted by an elegant kneeling Garuda statue on a pillar and two columns bearing the sacred sankha and chakra symbols of Vishnu. In case Shiva was feeling left out, a lingam symbol on a yoni base (the Shaivite symbol for the male and female genitals) stands behind a wooden grill in front and to one side of the temple. A plaque to the right of the door depicts the Buddhist deity Vajrayogini in a characteristic pose with her left leg high in the air.

  1. Bhairabnath Temple: The broad-fronted, triple-roofed Bhairabnath Temple is dedicated to Bhairab, the fearsome incarnation of Shiva, whose consort occupies the Nyatapola Temple across the square. Despite Bhairab’s fearsome powers and his massive temple, the deity is depicted here as a disembodied head just 15cm high. Casually stacked against the north wall of the temple are the enormous wheels and runners from the chariot used to haul the image of Bhairab around town during the Bisket Jatra festival in mid-April.

The first temple on this site was a modest structure built in the early 17th century, but King Bhupatindra Malla added an extra storey in 1717, and a third level was added when the temple was rebuilt after the 1934 earthquake. The final version of the temple has a similar rectangular plan to the Bhimse Temple in Patan’s Durbar sq.

  1. Nyatapola Temple: You should be able to see the sky-high rooftop of the Nyatapola Temple long before you reach Taumadhi Tole. With five storeys towering 30m above the square, this is the tallest temple in all of Nepal and one of the tallest buildings in the Kathmandu Valley. This perfectly proportioned temple was built in 1702 during the reign of King Bhupatindra Malla, and the construction was so sturdy that the 1934 and 2015 earthquakes caused only minor damage.

The temple is reached by a stairway flanked by stone figures of the temple guardians. At the bottom are the legendary Rajput wrestlers Jayamel and Phattu, depicted kneeling with hefty maces. Subsequent levels are guarded by elephants with floral saddles, lions adorned with bells, beaked griffons with rams’ horns, and finally two goddesses Baghini and Singhini. Each figure is said to be 10 times as strong as the figure on the level below.

The temple is dedicated to Siddhi Lakshmi, a bloodthirsty incarnation of the goddess Durga (Parvati). The idol of the goddess is so fearsome that only the temple’s priests are allowed to enter the inner sanctum, but less brutal incarnations of the goddess appear on the torana above the door, beneath a canopy of braided snakes, and also on the temple’s 180 carved roof struts. In a classic piece of religious crossover, the Buddhist eight lucky signs are carved beside the temple doorways.

  1. Dattatreya Temple: At the east end of Tachupal Tole, the eye-catching Dattatreya Temple was originally built in 1427, supposedly using the timber from a single tree. The slightly mismatched front porch was added later. The temple is dedicated to Dattatreya, a curious hybrid deity, blending elements of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Judging from the Garuda statue and the conch and chakra disc mounted on pillars supported by stone turtles in front of the temple, Vishnu seems to have come out on top.

The three-storey temple is raised above the ground on a brick and terracotta base, which is carved with erotic scenes, including unexpected humor where one bored-looking woman multitasks by washing her hair while being pleasured by her husband. The main steps to the temple are guarded by statues of the same two Malla wrestlers who watch over the first plinth of the Nyatapola Temple.

  1. Pujari Math: Tachupal Tole is flanked by a series of ornate brick-and-timber buildings that were originally used as math (Hindu priests’ houses). The best known is the Pujari Math, which now serves as the Woodcarving Museum. The building was damaged in the 2015 earthquake, but its most famous feature the superb 15th-century Peacock Window, widely regarded as the finest carved window in the Kathmandu Valley is intact. The building was first constructed in the 15th century during the reign of King Yaksha Malla but rebuilt in 1763. German experts renovated the building in 1979 as a wedding gift for the then King Birendra. Many surrounding shops sell miniature wooden copies of the Peacock Window as souvenirs.

15. Bhimsen Temple: At the western end of Tachupal Tole, this two-storey, 17th-century temple is sacred to Bhimsen, the god of commerce. The squat rectangular structure has an open ground floor and an inner sanctum on the second level. In front and to the side is a pillar topped by a brass lion with his right paw raised. Steps lead down behind it to the deeply sunken Bhimsen Pokhari tank

UNESCO Heritage Sites

(iii) Patan Durbar Square: Lying connected to the 5 km South-East of Kathmandu Valley by Bagmati River, 459 hectares of Patan is bounded by 4 stupas built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC as recorded in the history. Patan is also called Lalitpur. There are several legends attached to the origin of the term, Lalitpur. One such legend says that in the ancient time Kathmandu was engulfed with severe drought and three people were assigned to summon God Red Machhendranath from Kamaru Kamachhya, a place in Assam, India, into the valley for rainfalls. Among the three people, one was a farmer named Lalit who believed to have contributed more. When the rain finally poured into the valley, people as a sign of gratitude Sanskritized the valley after his name and the term ‘pur’ meaning township, and was finally named Lalitpur. Another tale boasts that the valley was named after king Yalamber. Patan people refer to Patan as Yala. History has it that Patan was founded in the 3rd century by the Kirat dynasty and later was modeled into perfection by Lichhavis in the sixth century followed by the Malla dynasty. The major attractions of Patan are as follows.

  1. Ashoka Stupas

Legend claims that the four ancient stupas marking the boundaries of Patan were built when the great Buddhist emperor Ashoka visited the valley in 249 BC. All are worth a quick visit, especially during the auspicious full moon of August when Buddhist and Tibetan pilgrims walk around all four stupas in a single day.

  1. Golden Temple (Kwa Bahal): This unique Buddhist monastery is just north of Durbar sq. It was allegedly founded in the 12th century, and it has existed in its current form since 1409. The temple gets its name from the gilded metal plates that cover most of its frontage and it is one of the most beautiful in Patan.

Entering from the east, note the gaudy lions and the 1886 signature of Krishnabir, the master stonemason who sculpted the fine doorway with its frieze of Buddhist deities. This second doorway leads to the main courtyard of the Golden Temple; shoes and leather articles must be removed to enter the lower courtyard. The main priest of the temple is a young boy under the age of 12, who serves for 30 days before handing the job over to another young boy.

The temple itself is a magnificent example of courtyard temple architecture. Two elephant statues guard the doorway and the facade is covered by a host of gleaming Buddhist figures. Inside the main shrine is a beautiful statue of Sakyamuni (no photos allowed). To the left of the courtyard is a statue of Green Tara and in the right corner is a statue of the Bodhisattva Vajrasattva wearing an impressive silver-and-gold cape. Both are inside inner shrines.

Facing the main temple is a smaller shrine containing a ‘self-arisen’ (Swayambhu) chaitya. The four corners of the courtyard have statues of four Lokeshvaras (incarnations of Avalokiteshvara) and four monkeys, which hold out jackfruits as an offering. A stairway leads to an upper-floor chapel dedicated to a white eight-armed Avalokiteshvara, lined with Tibetan-style frescoes including a wheel of life. Finally, as you leave the temple at the eastern exit, look up to see an embossed mandala mounted on the ceiling. Outside of winter, look for the tortoises pottering around the compound these are the temple guardians.

  1. Mahabouddha Temple: The temple dates from 1585, but was totally rebuilt after the 1934 earthquake. Unfortunately, without plans to work from, the builders ended up with a different-looking temple and had enough bricks and tiles left over to construct a smaller shrine to Maya Devi, the Buddha’s mother, in the corner of the courtyard. The temple is loosely modeled on the Mahabouddha Temple at Bodhgaya in India, where the Buddha gained enlightenment.

The surrounding lanes are full of shops selling high-quality Patan-style metal statues. The roof terrace of the shop at the back of the courtyard has a good view of the temple.

  1. Kumbeshwar Temple: Due north of Durbar Sq is the eye-catching Kumbeshwar Temple, one of the valley’s three five-storey temples. This tall, thin mandir (temple) features some particularly artistic woodcarving, and it seems to defy gravity as it towers above the surrounding houses. Amazingly, this precarious structure survived the earthquake, though the top tier toppled in May 2015 and the tower is now leaning slightly. A large Nandi statue and central lingam indicate that the shrine is sacred to Shiva.

The temple platform has two ponds whose water is said to come straight from the holy lake at Gosainkund, a weeklong trek north of the valley. Bathing in the tank at Kumbeshwar Temple is said to be as meritorious as making the arduous walk to Gosainkund.

The surrounding square is dotted with temples sacred to Bhairab and Baglamukhi (Parvati). Local women gather at the tank known as Konti Hiti to socialize, wash clothes, and fill up their water jugs. Down an alley to the north of the temple is the Kumbeshwar Technical School.

  1. Manga Hiti: Immediately across from Bhimsen Temple is the sunken Manga Hiti, one of the water conduits with which Patan is liberally endowed. The tank contains a cruciform-shaped pool and three wonderfully carved Dhara (water spouts) in the shape of makara (mythical crocodile-like beasts). The two wooden ceremonial pavilions that overlook the tank known as the Mani Mandap collapsed in the 2015 earthquake and are under repair.
  2. Bhimsen Temple: At the northern end of Durbar Sq, the Bhimsen Temple is dedicated to the god of trade and business, which may explain its prosperous appearance. One of the five Pandavas from the Mahabharata, Bhimsen is credited with superhuman strength he is often depicted as a red muscleman, lifting a horse or crushing an elephant under his knee.

The three-storey pagoda has an unusual rectangular plan that sets it apart from other temples in Patan. The current temple was completely rebuilt in 1682 after a fire and was later restored after the 1934 earthquake, and again in 1967. Once repairs following the 2015 quake are complete, non-Hindus may once again be able to climb to the upper level to view the wild-eyed statue of Bhimsen.

  1. Vishwanath Temple: South of the Bhimsen Temple stands the Vishwanath Temple, dedicated to Shiva. This elaborately decorated two-tiered pagoda was built in 1627 and it features some particularly ornate woodcarving, especially on the Torana (lintel) above the colonnade.

On the west side is a statue of Shiva’s loyal mount, Nandi the bull, while the east side features two stone elephants with mahouts, one elephant crushing a man beneath its foot. When the doors are open, you can view the enormous lingam inside.

  1. Krishna Mandir: Krishna Mandir built by King Siddhinarsingh Malla in 1637. Constructed from carved stone in place of the usual brick and timber this fabulous architectural confection shows the clear influence of Indian temple design and is the earliest stone temple of its type in Nepal. The temple consists of three tiers, fronted by columns and supporting a northern Indian style shikhara spire. The distinctive temple is often depicted on the ornate brass butter lamps hung in Nepali home Non-Hindus cannot enter to view the statue of Krishna, the goatherd, but you’ll often hear temple musicians playing upstairs. Vishnu’s mount, the man-bird Garuda, kneels with folded arms on top of a column facing the temple. The delicate stone carvings along the beam on the 1st-floor recount events from the Mahabharata, while the hard-to-see beam on the 2nd floor features scenes from the Ramayana.

A major festival, Krishna Jayanta, also known as Krishnasthami, is held here in the Nepali month of Bhadra (August to September) for Krishna’s birthday.

10. Char Narayan Temple: Char Narayan, also called Jagannarayan, is perhaps the oldest temple in Patan’s Darbar Square. Unlike other temples in the square, it is constructed primarily of brick. Some scholars believe it was built in 1565, while others suggest the early 17th century as a more reasonable date. In any case, it honors Narayan, one of Vishnu’s manifestation.

  1. King Yoganarendra Malla’s Statue: South of the Charnarayan Temple is a tall column topped by a striking brass statue of King Yoganarendra Malla (1684–1705) and his queens. Installed in 1700, the column toppled in the 2015 earthquake but was one of the first items to be restored. Looming over the king’s head is a cobra, and alighted on the head of the cobra is a small brass bird.

Legend has it that as long as the bird remains, the king may still return to his palace. Accordingly, a door and window of the palace are always kept open and a hookah pipe is kept ready. A rider to the legend adds that when the bird flies off, the elephants in front of the Vishwanath Temple will stroll over the Manga Hiti for a drink.

  1. Vishnu Temples: West of the Royal Palace, behind the statue of King Yoganarendra Malla, are three smaller Vishnu temples, including a brick-and-plaster shikhara temple, built-in 1590 to enshrine an image of Narsingha, Vishnu’s man-lion incarnation.
  2. Hari Shankar Temple: This temple is dedicated to Hari Shankar, a curious hybrid deity that has half the attributes of Vishnu and half the attributes of Shiva. Although it collapsed in the 2015 earthquake, restoration of this three-storey temple is underway using recovered materials, including the roof struts carved with scenes of the tortures of the damned. The original temple was built in 1704–05 by the daughter of King Yoganarendra Malla.
  3. Taleju Bell: Facing the Royal Palace is a huge, ancient bell, hanging between two stout pillars, erected by King Vishnu Malla in 1736. Petitioners could ring the bell to alert the king to their grievances. It’s said the bell tolled ominously during the 2015 earthquake. Behind the bell, the pavilion is a small ornamental water feature.
  4. Mul Chowk: South of the Patan Museum, a gateway opens onto the stately Mul Chowk, the largest and oldest of the Royal Palace’s three main chowks (squares). The original buildings were destroyed by fire in 1662 but rebuilt just three years later by Srinivasa Malla. The temples in the courtyard buildings were quickly restored after the 2015 earthquake.

In the center of the square is the small, gilded, central Bidyapith Temple, beside a wooden post used to secure animals for sacrifices. The central deity is Yantaju, a form of Durga, and a personal deity to the Malla kings.

On the south side of the square is the Taleju Bhawani Temple, flanked by statues of the river goddesses Ganga, on a tortoise, and Jamuna, on a Makara. The upper galleries now form part of the museum’s architectural displays, with fine examples of carved wooden struts. At the northeastern corner of the square is the tall Degutalle Temple, topped by an octagonal triple-roofed tower. The larger, triple-roofed Taleju Temple is directly north, looking out over Durbar Sq, and dedicated to Taleju, another protective deity of the Malla kings.

  1. Sundari Chowk: South of Mul Chowk is the smaller Sundari Chowk, arranged around a superbly carved sunken water tank known as the Tusha Hiti. The chowk was restored in 2014, and again after the 2015 earthquake. Built-in 1647, the renovated water tank has 72 carved stone plaques depicting Tantric deities and was used by the king for ritual ablutions. The spout is new; the original was stolen in 2010 (and recovered). Ancient carved wooden struts lie scattered in the corners.

Back in Durbar Sq, the traditional gateway to Sundari Chowk features three magnificent statues of Hanuman (barely recognizable beneath layers of orange paint), Ganesh, and Vishnu as Narasimha, the man-lion, tearing out the entrails of a demon.

  1. Bhandarkhal Water Tank: To the east of Sundari Chowk is the recently restored Bhandarkhal water tank, once the main water supply for the palace and featuring a charming meditation pavilion.
  2. Golden Gate: The entry to Patan Museum is through the Royal Palace’s superb Golden Gate. Installed in 1734, this finely engraved and gilded gateway is topped by a golden Torana showing Shiva, Parvati, Ganesh, and Kumar (an incarnation of Skanda, the god of war). Directly above the gateway is a window made from gold foil wrapped around a timber frame, where the king once made public appearances.
  3. Patan Museum: Formerly the residence of the Malla kings, the section of the Royal Palace surrounding Keshav Narayan Chowk now houses one of the finest collections of religious art in Asia. The museum is a national treasure and an invaluable introduction to the art, symbolism, and architecture of the valley.

The collection is displayed in a series of brick and timber rooms, linked by steep and narrow stairways. There are informative labels on each of the hundreds of statues, carvings, and votive objects, allowing you to put a name to many of the deities depicted at temples around the valley.

(iv) Swayambhunath: It is 3 km away from the West of Kathmandu. The ancient tale has it that thousands of years ago Swayambhunath was an island. Later a stupa was built. King Manadeva contributed to the making of the stupa in 460. After the invasions from Mughal, it was distorted and had to undergo renovation in the 14th century. King Pratap Malla in the 17th century further enhanced the architecture and also added a stairway to get to the stupa. At present, the stupa is a solid hemisphere of brick and clay, supporting a lofty conical spire capped by a pinnacle of copper gilt and has Lord Buddha’s eyes adorned on all the four sides of the spire base. Buddhists regard it as the holiest place. Swayambhunath also offers a majestic view of the entire Kathmandu valley.

  1. Great Thunderbolt: At the top of the eastern 365 stairway is an enormous, brass-plated Dorje (thunderbolt), one of the core symbols of Tibetan Buddhism. Known as a vajra in Sanskrit, the thunderbolt is a Tantric symbol of the power of enlightenment, which destroys ignorance but is itself indestructible. In rituals, the Dorje is used to indicate male power, while female power is represented by a ceremonial bell.

Around the pedestal supporting the symbol are the animals of the Tibetan calendar. The plinth was formerly flanked by the Anantapur and Pratapura temples, two slender, Indian-style shikhara towers built by King Pratap Malla in the 17th century, but sadly the Anantapur temple collapsed in the 2015 earthquake (it’s rebuilt).

  1. Western Stupa: The west of the main stupa, you will reach a smaller stupa near the tourist parking. Just behind is a gompa surrounded by rest houses for pilgrims and an important shrine to Saraswati, the goddess of learning. At exam time, many scholars come here to improve their chances, and school children fill the place during Basanta Panchami, the Festival of Knowledge.
  2. Buddha Amideva Park: This compound frequented by Tibetan pilgrims contains three enormous shining golden statues of Sakyamuni Buddha, a four-armed Chenresig (Amitava) and Guru Rinpoche, constructed in 2003.

(v) Pashupatinath Temple: Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Pashupatinath is one of the four most important religious sites in Asia for devotees of Shiva. Built-in the 1st or 2nd century and later renovated by Malla kings, the site itself is said to have existed from the beginning of the millennium when a Shiva lingam was discovered here.

The largest temple complex in Nepal, it stretches on both sides of the Bagmati River which is considered holy by Hindus.  The main pagoda style temple has a gilded roof, four sides covered in silver and wood carvings of the finest quality. Temples dedicated to several other Hindu and Buddhist deities surround the temple of Pashupatinath.

Nearby is the temple of Guheshwori dedicated to Shiva’s consort, Sati Devi. The cremation of Hindus takes place on raised platforms along the river. Only Hindus are allowed inside the gates of the main temple. The inner sanctum has a Shiva lingam and outside sits the largest statue of Nandi the bull, the vehicle of Shiva. There is hundreds of Shiva lingam within the compound. The big Maha Shivaratri festival in spring attracts hundreds of thousands of devotees from within Nepal and from India.

Experience this highly recommended religious hub for a mix of religious, cultural and spiritual experiences. Located 3 km northeast of Kathmandu on the banks of the Bagmati River, the temple area also includes Deupatan, Jaya Bageshori, Gaurighat (Holy Bath), and Kutumbahal, Gaushala, Pingalasthan, and Sleshmantak forest. There are around 492 temples, 15 Shivalayas (shrines of Lord Shiva), and 12 Jyotirlinga (phallic shrines) to explore.

It is also a cremation site where the last rites of Hindus are performed. The site and events at cremation is not for the faint-hearted; still, visitors are seen watching curiously from across the river from the hill.

Daily Rituals at Pashupatinath Temple:

Pashupatinath is also one of the very few living cultural heritage sites in the world. Unlike other cultural sites or museums, Pashupatinath is the center of energy with the active participation of people all times of the day, every day.

  • 4:00 am: West gate opens for visitors.
  • 8:30 am: After the arrival of Pujaris, the idols of the Lord are bathed and cleaned; clothes and jewelry are changed for the day.
  • 9:30 am: Baal Bhog or breakfast is offered to the Lord.
  • 10:00 am: Then people who want to do Puja are welcomed to do so. It is also called Farmayishi Puja, whereby people tell the Pujari to carry out a special Puja for their specified reasons. The Puja continues till 1:45 pm in the afternoon.
  • 1:50 pm: Lunch is offered to the Lord in the main Pashupati Temple.
  • 2:00 pm: Morning prayers end.
  • 5:15 pm: The evening Aarati at the main Pashupati Temple begins.
  • 6:00 pm onward: Recently the Bagmati Ganga Aarati; done by the shores of Bagmati, has been gaining lots of popularity. We can see the shores of Bagmati crowded mostly on Saturdays, Mondays, and on special occasions. Ganga Aarati along with Shiva’s Tandava Bhajan, written by Ravana, is carried out on evening Ganga Aarati.
  • 7:00 pm: The door is closed.
  1. Shiva Shrines: Two footbridges cross the Bagmati in front of the Pashupatinath Temple, entering a garden of stone terraces covered in dozens of small Shiva shrines. These one-room temples are often used as lodgings by wandering sadhus and each contains a central Shiva lingam. Although the shrines are built in many styles, all share certain design features note the mask of Bhairab, Shiva’s fearsome incarnation, on the south wall, the Nandi statues on the west side and the bull-head water spouts to the north.
  2. Bachhareshwari Temple: Between the two groups of ghats on the west bank of the Bagmati is this small, 6th-century temple, decorated with Tantric figures, skeletons, and erotic scenes. It is said that human sacrifices were once made at this temple as part of the Maha Shivaratri Festival.
  3. Guhyeshwari Temple: The path drops out of the forest to the large, courtyard-style Guhyeshwari Temple, built by King Pratap Malla in 1653 and dedicated to Parvati/Sati Devi (the wife of Shiva) in her terrible manifestation as Kali. Entry is banned to non-Hindus, but from the path, you can see the four huge gilded snakes that support the central finial, as well as the Bodhnath Stupa in the distance.

The temple’s curious name comes from the Nepali words guhya (vagina) and ishwari (goddess) literally; it’s the temple of the goddess’ vagina. According to legend, the father of Parvati/satidevi insulted Shiva and the goddess became so incensed that she burst into flames, providing the inspiration for the practice of sati, where widows were burned alive on the funeral pyres of their husbands. The grieving Shiva wandered the earth with the disintegrating corpse of Parvati and her genitals fell at Guhyeshwari.

  1. Gorakhnath Temple: Continuing left at the top of the hill will take you to the towering red-and-white shikhara (temple with tall corn cob like spire) of the Gorakhnath Temple, which survived the quake with minor damage. It is dedicated to the 11th-century yogi who founded the Shaivite monastic tradition and invented Hatha yoga.

Past the Gorakhnath Temple, the path drops down through the forest, passing the Mrigasthali Deer Park, which is a fitting blend of nature and religion, as Shiva is said to have frolicked here once in the shape of a golden deer.

  1. Panch Deval: Southen side from the entrance to the temple, this former temple complex now acts as a social welfare center for destitute elderly Nepalese. It’s generally closed to visitors. A donation box offers a way to directly contribute.
  2. Raj Rajeshwari Temple: The west bank of the Bagmati, you will pass a 7th century standing Buddha image, next to the damaged Raj Rajeshwari Temple, with its unusual curved stucco outbuildings.
  3. Yogi Caves: At the north end of the ghats, visible from across the river, are a series of yogi’s caves in use since medieval times and still used today by meditators.
  4. Vishwarup Temple: At the top of the steps leading from the Bagmati River, you will reach the courtyard-style Vishwarup Temple, topped by a Mughal-style onion dome.
  5. Birupakshya: Birupakshya is the holy god of Kirat people located in Kathmandu erected by Kirati kings of ancient Nepal, believed to be an ancestor. It is also known as Kirateswor Mahadev. Kirat people are diverse and therefore their beliefs and deities vary. It is believed that the world will be destroyed if the whole statue will come out.

(vi) Boudhanath: Boudhanath epitomizes Tibetan Buddhism. It lays 8 km East of Kathmandu and was built by Licchavis King Man Dev in the 5th century A. D. Its colossal and ancient stupa is regarded as one of the world’s biggest stupa and has been built on a stepped octagonal base and inset with alcoves representing Buddha and his teachings. After Chinese invasion in 1959, Tibetans in thousands came to this famous Buddhist Chaitya and energized the stupa. The stupa is surrounded by various temples or ‘gompas’. The atmosphere of the whole place lightens up with zest as the fragrance of incense drifts through the air. Chanting of monks and creaking of prayer wheels can be heard while strolling around the base. It is one of the prime sites for pilgrims and tourists in the country.

From above, Boudhanath Stupa looks like a giant mandala or diagram of the Buddhist cosmos. And as in all Tibetan mandalas, four of the Dhyani Buddhas mark the cardinal points, with the fifth, Vairocana, enshrined in the center (in the white hemisphere of the stupa). The five Buddhas also personify the five elements (sky, water, earth, fire, and air), which are represented in the stupa’s architecture.

There are other symbolic numbers here as well: the nine levels of Boudhanath Stupa represent the mythical Mt. Meru, the center of the cosmos; and the 13 rings from the base to the pinnacle symbolize the path to enlightenment, or “Bodhi” hence the stupa’s name.

At the bottom, the stupa is surrounded by an irregular 16-sided wall, with frescoes in the niches. In addition to the Five Dhyani Buddhas, Boudhanath Stupa is closely associated with the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Padmapani), whose 108 forms are depicted in sculptures around the base. The mantra of Avalokiteshvara (Om Mani Padme Hum) is carved on the prayer wheels beside the images of Avalokiteshvara around the base of the stupa.

The base of the stupa consists of three large platforms, decreasing in size. These platforms symbolize the body, brain, and speech. Boudhanath is topped with a square tower bearing the omnipresent Buddha eyes on all four sides.

Instead of a nose is a question-mark-type symbol that is actually the Nepali character for the number 1, symbolizing unity and the one way to reach enlightenment through the Buddha’s teachings. Above this is the third eye, symbolizing the wisdom of the Buddha.

Surrounding Boudhanath Stupa are streets and narrow alleys lined with colorful homes, Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, and street vendors.

(vii) Changunarayan:
The two-tiered Changunarayan temple is 15 kilometers away from Kathmandu city. Changu Narayan is considered to be the oldest temple of Nepal. It remains a milestone in Nepali temple architecture with rich embossed works. The two-storey roofed temple stands on a high plinth of stone. It has an architectural style like to traditional Nepali temple. Many similar features are found at Gokarna Mahadev. The temple is surrounded by sculptures and arts related to Lord Vishnu. Also, we can find the temples of Lord Shiva, Ashta Matrika, Chhinnamasta, Kileshwor, and Krishna inside the courtyard of the main temple. There are four entrances to the temple and these gates are guarded by life-size pairs of animals such as lions, Sarabhai, griffins, and elephants on each side of the entrances. The ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu and the other idols are carved in the struts, which support the roof. The entrance door is gilded with carvings of Nāaga (snakes). On the main entrance gate (i.e. western entrance gate), we can find the Chakra, Sankha, Kamal, and Khadga all at the top of a stone pillar. These stone pillars have an inscription in Sanskrit. This inscription is considered to be the oldest inscription of Nepal and the stone inscription pillar was erected by Licchavi (kingdom) King Manadeva in 464 AD. The following monument is located while visiting the temple from the right side after entering from the main entrance (Eastern gate) to the courtyard.

  • Historical pillar: erected by Mandeva in 464 AD.
  • Garuda: flying vehicle of Lord Vishnu which has got a human face and is a devotee of Vishnu.
  • Statue of Bhupalendra Malla: King of Kantipur and his queen Bhuwan Lakshmi.
  • Chanda Narayan (Garuda Narayan): 7th century stone sculpture of Vishnu riding on Garuda. This sculpture has been depicted in the 10 rupee paper note issued by Nepal Rastra Bank
  • Sridhar Vishnu: 9th century stone sculpture of Vishnu, Laxmi, and Garuda which stands on the pedestals of various motives.
  • Vaikuntha Vishnu: the 16th-century sculpture of Vishnu seated on the Lalitasan position on the six-armed Garuda and Laxmi seated on the lap of Vishnu
  • Chhinnamasta: Temple dedicated to Chhinnamasta Devi, who beheaded herself, offered her own blood to feed the hungry Dakini and Varnini.
  • Vishworup: 7th century stone sculpture beautifully carved that depicts the scene from the Bhagwat Gita, in which Lord Krishna manifests his universal form to his devotee Arjun.
  • Vishnu Vikrant: the 7th-century sculpture of Trivikram Vishnu that depicts the scene of popular Hindu myth of Lord Vishnu and his beloved Bali Raja.
  • Narasimha: a 7th-century sculpture of Narasimha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, killing the demon King Hiranyakasyapa to save his beloved devotee Prahalad.
  • Kileshwor: small two-storied temples of Lord Shiva, who is believed to have appeared in this place for the protection of the hill.

The main image in the sanctum is worshiped by Hindus as a Garuda Narayan, and by Buddhists as a Hariharihari Vahan Lokeshwara. Only the priest is allowed to see the image.

(viii) Lumbini: Lumbini lies in the southern Terai plains of Nepal and is about 300 kilometers southwest of Kathmandu. It is the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautam Buddha and is therefore regarded as a sacred pilgrimage site for Buddhists. In 249 BC, Emperor Ashoka built a large stone pillar containing an inscription about the birth of the Buddha. The United Nations Development Programme contributed nearly one million dollars for the preparation of a Master Plan for the development of Lumbini, including numerous engineering and archaeological studies. The plan, which was completed in 1978, has as its objective to restore an area of about 7.7 km2, to be known as the Lumbini Garden, centering on the garden and the Ashoka Pillar, with an additional area of 64.5 km2 to be developed in its support. Within the plan for the development of Lumbini Garden, there are three main components:

  • New Lumbini Village
  • The Cultural Centre/Monastic Zone
  • The Sacred Garden

The design is oriented north-south, with Lumbini Village and Cultural Centre north, and the focus of the design the Sacred Garden to the South. On either side of the axis towards its southern end are the monastic enclaves. The entire development is tied together by a central link consisting of a walkway and a canal. This central link establishes the solitude and sanctity of the Sacred Garden, with its pillar and spectacular panorama of the Himalaya, and offers pilgrims time and space to prepare them as they approach the Sacred Garden.

  1. Maya Devi Temple: The spiritual heart of Lumbini, Maya Devi Temple marks the spot where Queen Maya Devi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama in around 623 BC. In the adjoining sacred garden, you’ll find the pillar of Ashoka, ancient ruins of stupas, and maroon- and saffron-robed monks congregating under a sprawling Bodhi (pipal) tree decorated with prayer flags. Buy your entrance ticket 50m north of the gate to the Sacred Garden, and remove your shoes at the gate.

The focal point for pilgrims is a sandstone carving of the birth of the Buddha, reputedly left here by the Malla king, Ripu Malla, in the 14th century, when Maya Devi was worshipped as an incarnation of the Hindu mother goddess. The carving has been worn almost flat by centuries of veneration, but you can just discern the shape of Maya Devi grasping a tree branch and giving birth to the Buddha, with Indra and Brahma looking on. Directly beneath this is a marker stone encased within bulletproof glass, which pinpoints the spot where the Buddha was born.

The sacred pond beside the temple is believed to be where Maya Devi bathed before giving birth to the Buddha. Dotted around the grounds are the ruined foundations of a number of brick stupas and monasteries dating from the 2nd century BC to the 9th century AD

  1. Ashokan Pillar: The Indian emperor Ashoka visited Lumbini in 249 BC, leaving behind an inscribed sandstone pillar to commemorate the occasion. After being lost for centuries, Ashoka’s pillar was rediscovered by the governor of Palpa, Khadga Shumsher Rana, in 1896. The 6m-high pink sandstone pillar has now been returned to its original site in front of the Maya Devi Temple.
  2. Eternal Flame: Located at the southern end of the canal, the Eternal Flame was created in 1986 to commemorate the International Year of Peace. It symbolizes the undying effort to create peace and harmony in the world.
  3. World Peace Pagoda: Located outside the main compound, but easily accessible by bike, the impressive gleaming-white World Peace Pagoda, one of the world’s greatest stupas, was constructed by Japanese Buddhists at a cost of US$1 million. The shining golden statue depicts the Buddha in the posture he assumed when he was born. Near the base of the stupa is the grave of a Japanese monk murdered by anti-Buddhist extremists during the construction of the monument.

(II)  World Heritage Sites (Natural)

(i) Chitwan National Park: Royal Chitwan National Park has stretched across an area of 932 sq. kilometers and lies in the inner Terai belt of Chitwan. The park offers a very worthwhile excursion through jungle safari. With nature at its best, you will come across the rarest species of eco-system. Canoeing through the lake of the park will have you encounter crocodiles and more fun-filled adventure. During your stay in one of the resorts of the park, you will be guided on a cultural tour to the lifestyles of the Chitwan people. In the evening and at night you can indulge in the most exotic events of your choice.

(ii) Sagarmatha National Park: Sagarmatha National Park situated at the foothills of the Himalayas has occupied an area of 1,148 sq. kilometers. It offers the most magnificent views of rugged mountains, glaciers, valleys, and rivers. The park houses an amazing array of plant species, birdlife, and exotic animals. Plant species like blue pine, silver fir, rhododendrons, birch, etc have glorified the beauty of the park. On venturing into the park, one may encounter rare species like snow leopard, pandas, lynx, etc. Birdwatchers can have the best sightseeing experience while viewing rare bird species like snow cock, pheasant, snow pigeon, etc. In a nutshell, Sagarmatha National Park is a storehouse of Himalayan natural resources.

Itinerary

Day 1

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