Kathmandu is a heritage valley enriched with history, ancient culture, crafts, sculpture, and traditions. Durbar Square, Stupas, Temples, monuments, and local lifestyle are living proof of Kathmandu’s cultural authenticity and priceless heritage. Natives of Kathmandu are sincere witnesses of civilization, era, regimes, and lifestyle. Thus, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) listed Kathmandu Valley as World Heritage Site along with Sagarmatha National Park (Natural sites) in 1979. Initially, these two sites: Kathmandu Valley and Sagarmatha National Park were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Later, Chitwan National Park (in 1984) and Lumbini (in 1997), the birthplace of Lord Buddha were added to the UNESCO) World Heritage Site from Nepal.
The beauty of Kathmandu is the blend of exclusive culture and modernization. Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal which makes it the most developed city of Nepal yet Kathmandu is equally able to treasure and practice its culture and tradition. Most travelers reserve the days to explore Kathmandu Valley while trekking in the Trekking Regions of Nepal, work travel to Nepal, or casual traveling to Nepal. Likewise, Kathmandu Valley Tour and exploring Heritage Sites is the mandatory thing travelers do in Kathmandu. The 7 Heritage sites include:
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square is also popular as Hanuman Dhoka as well as Basantapur. Kathmandu Durbar Square's surrounding includes Hanuman Dhoka, Panch Mukhi Hanuman Temple, Hanuman Statue (17th century), Nine stories (Nautalle Durbar) Basantapur tower, Basantapur Dabali, Kumari Ghar (Palace of living Goddess Kumari), Gaddi Baithak, Trailokya Mohan Narayan Temple Degutaleju Temple, Kasthamandap, Mahadev Parbati Temple, Vishnu Temple, Shwet Bhairav, Jagannath Temple, Gopinath Temple, Kaal Bhairav, Maju Deval, Kotilingeshwwr Mahadev Temple, Bhuvenshwar Mahadev Temple, Kageshwor Temple, Mahendreswor Temple, Taleju Temple, and Tarani Bhawani Temple. Some of the temples are accessible only on a fixed occasion.
Swoyambhunath Temple (Monkey Temple)
Swoyambhunath Temple/ Monkey Temple is regarded as one of the oldest temples in Nepal. Literally, “Swoyambhu” means self-existent or self-arisen. Swoyambhunath is a magnificent white dome stupa topped with a golden spire and eyes(Buddha’s eyes seeing and knowing all) painted on the four sides along with a variety of shrines and temples crafted with ancient architecture and lighted up by colorful prayer flags. There are other temples and religious assets like Pratapura Sikhara, Anantapur Temple, gold-plated Vajra (thunderbolt), and Bashundhara Devi temple. Besides, Buddha Amideva Park is located at the bottom of the hill containing three huge shining golden statues of Sakyamuni Buddha, four-armed Chenresig, and Guru Rinpoche. Likewise, the panoramic view of the Kathmandu valley from the temple with the fresh air blended with the fragrance of incense and butter lamps creates pleasure among travelers. Find more about Swoyambhunath Temple.
Pashupatinath Temple (Hindu Temple)
Pashupatinath Temple is one of the four most important religious sites in Asia for devotees of Lord Shiva spread across 246 hectares of land. Pashupati means lord of all the animals which was the incarnation of Lord Shiva. The temple is on the bank of the Bagmati River stretching on both sides of Bagmati. The main temple of Lord Shiva is of pagoda style with a golden spire, two stored roofs (made with copper and covered with gold), four sides of silver, and exclusive wood carvings. The inner area of the main temple is guarded by the golden statue of Nandi (Shiva’s bull). Read more about Pashupatinath Temple.
There are around 492 temples, 15 Shivalayas (shrines of Lord Shiva) and 12 Jyotirlinga (phallic shrines) to observe and explore. Pashupatinath Temple is the place of Lord Shiva’s devotees and pilgrims beyond the countries, beliefs beyond the eras and centuries, home to the Sadhus, a treasure of culture and history, and preservation of nature (by respecting forests and animals).
Bouddhanath Stupa is the 36-meter tall giant mandala or diagram of the Buddhist cosmos. The whitewashed dome, gilded tower painted with the all-seeing eyes of Buddha on all four sides, and flying colorful flags make the Bouddhanath Stupa a perfect blessing that spreads peace, joy, and enlightenment to its devotees. The construction serves in essence as a three-dimensional reminder of Buddha’s path toward enlightenment;
- The Plinth represents earth, the dome (Kumbha) is water,
- The Square tower (Harmonica) is on fire,
- The Spire (13 levels of spire represent the stages of Bodhisattva’s ground for enlightenment / achieving nirvana or Bodhi hence the name of the stupa) is air
- The Umbrella at the top is void or ether beyond space.
Similarly, Pinnacle is the symbol of Mt.Sumeru, the King of Mountains, Lotus symbolizes self-development and purity, the Eyes are Buddha eyes with all-seeing ability, Nose symbolizes Nirvana as well as the Nepali character 1 representing Unity, Harmika also symbolizes the eight noble paths; view, thought, speech, action, livelihood, endeavor, mindfulness, meditative concentration in the right way. And Prayer Flags believe to carry mantras and prayers heavenward. Further information Boudhanath Stupa.
Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square is another marvelous example of history and culture which has also a distinct place for work in the field of arts and architecture. The area is widely popular for woodcarving and especially metal crafts and you can hear the sounds of craftsmen working on statuettes or ornaments.
Besides, Patan Durbar Square is full of Hindu temples, Buddhist monuments, bronze gateways, guardian deities and shrines noted for their exquisite carvings. The major attraction of Patan Durbar Square: is the Patan Museum and Krishna Temple. Similarly, there are other temples and shrines at Patan Durbar Square; Taleju Bhawani Temple, Bhimsen Temple, Hiranya Varna (Suwarna Mahavihar), Vishwanath Temple, Mahabouddha Temple, Rudra Varna Mahavihar, Red Machhindranath Temple, Ashoka Stupa, Banglamukhi Area, which you can explore while visiting Patan Durbar Square.
Changu Narayan Temple
Changu Narayan Temple is the temple of the Hindu god Vishnu who is also called Narayan the temple is established at Changu (Champak Hill) thus, it is named Changu Narayan Temple. Since it is on the top of the hill surrounded by trees, visitors feel sound and spiritual.
Changu Narayan Temple is built in a two-tiered pagoda style, the main shrine guarded on all sides by pairs of real as well as mythical beasts: lions, elephants, ram-horned griffins, and Sarabhai (Part lion part bird), roof struts having wooden carving images of Vishnu’s avatars and tantric goddess and the door of the main temple decorated by a golden figure of Lord Vishnu, lotus flower, conch, disc (chakra), mace. The courtyard showcase the various avatars (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu. There are additional astonishing art and statue: The statue of Bupalendra Malla, Garuda Narayan (Vishnu riding Garuda), Sridhar Vishnu, Vaikuntha Vishnu, Chinnamasta, Vishworoop, Vishnu Vikrant, Kileshwor.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur Durbar Square was the royal palace of the Bhaktapur Kingdom and the monuments represent the history and traditions of Medieval Nepal, Nepali culture, customs, and unique arts of wood and potteries. Unlike Kathmandu Durbar Square and Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square and locals resisted rapid changes and preferred to follow ancient culture and traditions without upgrading them. A large number of locals can be seen in their traditional Newari attire in black and red colors. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is enriched with monuments and temples: 55 Window Palace, Nayayapola, Golden gate, Bhairav Nath Temple, Lion’s Gate, Erotic Elephant Temple, Ugrachandi and Ugrabhairab, Rameshwar Temple, Badrinath Temple, Gopi Nath Temple, Kedarnath Temple, Hanuman Statue. You will also see the modified temples which were destroyed in the 2015 earthquake in Nepal.
Adventure lovers, explorers, and enthusiasts travelers want to explore Kathmandu valley and these 7 Heritage sites. For the physically active and adventurous traveler in Nepal, Adventure Team arranges one Day Kathmandu Cycle Tour: Cycling to UNESCO World Heritage Site. A professional and personal guide will direct you towards the journey supported by a comfortable bicycle. Besides, you can also explore Kathmandu Valley by taking a package of; 2 Days Kathmandu Tour: Explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can customize your tour as per your flexibility and comfort.