World Heritage Sites, Kathmandu Valley, Nepal: Travel/Tourist Information Guide

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhaktapur Durbar Square is one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Nepal. It is the plaza in front of the royal palace of the old Bhaktapur Kingdom. It is located 1400m above sea level. The complex consists of at least four distinct squares such as Durbar Square, Taumadi Square, Dattatreya Square and Pottery Square. The major attractions of Durbar Square are 55 window palace, Batsala Temple, Statue of Bhupatindra Malla, Nyatapola Temple, Bhairava Nath Temple, Golden Gate and Lion’s Gate.

Changu Narayan Temple

Changu Narayan Temple is located in a village called Changu. The temple is one of the oldest temples in Nepal. The temple was surrounded by forest with champak tree and a small village. This hill is about 8 miles east of Kathmandu and a few miles north of Bhaktapur. The temple is dedicated to Lord Visnu and held in a special reverence by the Hindu people.

Pashupatinath Temple

It is located along the banks of the Bagmati River in the eastern part of Kathmandu. It is home to the famous Pashupatinath Temple which is the oldest Hindu temple dating back to the 5th century. On the other hand, the original temple was destroyed by termites and a new one was constructed in the 17th century. According to legend, the idea of Pashupatinath came out when Lord Shiva stopped for a rest in the area and rook the form of a deer. He lived in the area so much so he didn’t want to leave. According to the legend, whoever came there to worship him would not be reborn as an animal. There’s a festival to celebrate Lord Shiva called Shivaratri. The festival takes place between February and March. The main Pashupatinath temple interior is restricted for non-Hindus or foreigners. On the other hand, it is possible to see the rest of the area. There are ritual cremations occurring daily along the riverside, so it can be a sight for the ones who have not seen Hindu cremations before.  There are also smaller stupas at the opposite site of the river such as votive shrines, the Pandra Shivalata and the Ram Temple. Entrance to the area for foreigners is 500rps. The tickets can be bought from the office by the main road. The distance is very short from Boudhanath which will only take about twenty minutes by walking. It is also possible to take a short taxi and a bus ride.

Boudhanath Stupa

It is the first stupa as Boudhanath and it was built around 5th century AD when the Tibetan King called Songtsen Gampo converted to Buddhism. According to a legend, an old poultry woman asked the king for land to construct a shrine to the Buddha. Then the king agreed to give her as much lans as she could cover with the skin of a water buffalo. The woman cut a buffalo hide into thin strips and placed them end to the end. Therefore, she tricked the king and the king held his word and the stupa was constructed. When refugees entered Nepal from Tibet during 1950s, most of them decided to live around Boudhanath. The Stupa is said to entomb the remains of Kassapa Buddha. It is also a popular tourist site due to Boudha becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Side in 1979. As a daily ritual, many people walk three of more times around the stupa while repeating the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum” either quietly or aloud. During the days of and surrounding full moons, the visitors of the Stupa increase significantly. In addition, the stupa hosts the largest celebration in Nepal during the festival of Losar which is Tibetan New Year and takes place in February of March. For notification, the Boudhanath Stupa was severely damaged during the April 2015 Nepal earthquake and the spire was cracked. Therefore, the whole construction above the tome had to be removed. On 3 November 2015, the reconstruction began with the ritual placement of a new central pole at the top of the dome. 

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Several buildings collapsed at the square due to the earthquake in 2015. The square was surrounded with spectacular architecture and vividly showcases the skills of the Newar artists and craftsmen over several centuries. The Royal Palace was originally at Dattaraya square and was later moved to the Durbar Square.

Swayambhunath Temple

It is an ancient religious architecture atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city. The Tibetan name for the site means ‘Sublime Trees’. The place has a central position for Buddhist Newars and it is probably the most sacred among Buddhist pilgrimage sites. The Swayambhunath complex consists of a stupa, a variety of shrines and temples, some of them dates back to the Licchavi period.

Patan Durbar Square

It is the Palace Square of Patan. When approaching the square from the south, there are series of temples on left. Entrance to the area for foreigners is Rs500. The Palace was built on the site of a fort that stood until 1734 and served as the residence of the Malla rulers of the then Patan state. It is divided up into a succession of courtyards. On the other hand, only the last of them are open on a regular basis because there are some problems with theft of artifacts. The palace buildings are Sundari Chowk, Degutale temple and Mul Chowk. There is also the Museum in Keshab Narayan Chowk. The entrance to the courtyard is free but entrance to the museum is R250. It is a little museum with descriptions of various artistic techniques.