World Heritage sites
There are 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites(WHS) in Nepal. Of these 4 WHS – two are in cultural category and two WHS falls in the natural category.
In the cultural category the seven monuments of Kathmandu valley (together counted as one WHS) and Lumbini- the birth place of Lord Buddha are included whereas the other two WHS in the natural grouping are designated as Chitwan National Park and Sagarmatha National Park. The Kathmandu valley WHS comprises of three historical palaces known as-Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Darbar Square—two Buddhist stupas- Syambhunath and Boudanath and two Hindu temples Pashupatinath and Changu Narayan. The densest concentration of these heritage sites in can be found here owing to the cultural and political importance of Kathmandu valley in the history of the country. All these monuments were inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in October 1979. Most of the places listed in of the WHS were revered as sacred for thousands of years and there has been a series of contributions and renovations in the form of constructions of temples, stupas and palaces over the centuries made by different rulers and kings. The WHS of Nepal are an Nepal and are a legacy of Nepalese people to the history and lifestyle of Nepal and are a legacy of Nepalese people to the delight of the whole human civilization. There are altogether 830 outstanding sites on the World Heritage List in 138 countries.
The Kathmandu valley civilization is around 3000 year old. It has been claimed that the valley was a large pond in the early geological period and it was only when the pond was drained that the valley was ready for human settlement. There is also a legend which reinforces the story that a certain Bodhistav called Manjushree came to the Kathmandu valley and cut the gorge in Chobar with flaming sword and drained the water out of the valley making it ready for human settlement.
The fertile land supported large settlements, and over the centuries different dynasties that ruled the valley patronized an urban civilization with its rich cultural heritage. Politically the present day Nepal was divided into petty principalities and the earliest ruling class of Nepal were the Gopalas, Mahispalas and Kiratas dynasties who were followed by the Lichchhavi(185-750 AD). The Lichchhavi period is known as the classical period of Nepalese history because it was during this period that art and architecture began to take shape. Trade and crafts flourished under them, and they built magnificent temples, palaces and monuments.
But it was only under the later Malla period and the early Shah period from the 14th to the 18th centuries the valley’s fabulous cities with their exquisite pagoda, shikhara and stupa architecture, ornate palaces and artistic temples came to take shape in the form that we see it today.
However the present day neo-classical buildings were built only during the second half of the 19th century(Rana Regime) with the western countries.
Sculptures, wood craft and stone works were built only during the second half of the 19th century (Rana Regime) with Nepal’s first contact with the western countries.
The historical monuments of the world heritages sites of Kathmandu valley are marked by the presence of three prominent architectural style namely the Pagoda, Shikhara and the Stupa style. The pagodas are multi-tiered monuments tapering towards the top with intricate wood carving in the forms of doors, pillars, windows and struts. These ubiquitous wooden historical structures are supplemented by bronze works and stone sculptures together forming the squares and palaces with profuse representation of images of gods, goddesses, demons, beasts, mythical figures, Kings and the ordinary human beings engaged in their day to day activities.
- Kathmandu Durbar Square
- Patan Durbar Square
- Bhaktapur Durbar Square
- hangu Narayan
- Lumbini:- Birth place of Lord Buddha
- Chitwan National Park(932 sq.km.)
- Sagarmatha National Park(1,148 sq.km.)
Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square lies in the heart of the Kathmandu city. The locals know this area by its old name Hanuman Dhoka- an old seat of the Nepalese Royalty. The Royal Palace during medieval times were not merely for Royal activities but also used as the center of administration, cultural activities and festivals.
The historical buildings and temples in the area were erected from the times of king Ratna Malla(1484-1520) to Prithivi Bir Bikram Shah(1875-1911AD) covering the period of Malla, Shah and Rana Period of Nepalese history. The entire palace complex here is name after a monkey god called Hanuman. One can see a huge stone statue of Hanuman painted all red next to the main entrance (the golden gate) of the palace. Hanuman here is regarded as a powerful protector of the Durbar Square.
The temple built by King Mahendra Malla in 1562 AD was dedicated to the royal deity of the Malla kings. Resting on a 12 stage plinth, the temple is 36.6 meter high. The temple is opened to the public just once in a year during Dashian(sept-oct).
This octagonal temple dedicated to Lord Krishna was built in 1649 AD by Pratap Malla in memory of his two dead queens. There is a mention in the epigraph that the temple contains the status of the king and his queens representing as Lord Krishna and his consorts.
The image of Jagannath was installed in 1563 AD during the reign Mahendra Malla and the temple is famous for erotic carvings.
The stone column represents the statue of king Pratap Malla in praying to goddess Taleju-The Royal Family Deity.
A tantric goddess representing the family deity of the Malla Kings is enshrined in the temple and access is restricted to visitors. The temple lies opposite the stone column and was built in 1671 AD by King Shiva Singh and later renovated by king Pratap Mallla.
Kneeling Hanuman, the monkey god, seated on a stone pedestal and flanked by a pair of lions symbolizes strength and protection against all possible threats. The Hanuman pedestal was erected by king Pratap Malla in 1672AD.
The divine couple Shiva and his consort Parvati look out from the central window of the first floor as the temple was built during the rein of king Rana Bahadur Shah.
The bell erected in 1797 AD by King Rana Bahadur Shah is rung only when worship is being offered in Degutalla temple situated nearby.
Shiva in his ferocious from is known as Bhairav. This is one of the largest image of Bhairav and was erected by king Pratap Malla.
This temple dedicated to Shiva was built in the late 17th century by Queen Mother Riddhi Laxmi and rests on a nine plinth base dominating the square and commanding a good view of the area.
Trilokya Mohan Narayan:
This Vishnu temple of late 17th century near the Kumari Ghar, was built on a five stage plinth by king Parthibendra in memory of his deceased brother. There is a kneeling images of Garuda-the vehicle of Vishnu, near the temple. During Indrajatra(chariot festival) large crowd gather here to see the ten incarnations of Vishnu enacted on the pedestal.
Kumari Ghar built in 1757 AD by king Jaya Prakash Malla is the house of the living goddess ‘Kumari’ who is believed to be the incarnation of goddess Taleju the protective deity. Kumari often provide her blessing from the window to the visitors.
Basantapur Durbar :
The Basantapur Durbar also known as Nau-talle durbar was built by king Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1770 AD. Alongside there are other high standing pagodas known as Kirtipur Tower, Bhaktapur Tower and Lalitpur Tower.
This 12th century wooden building is said to be constructed from the wood of a single tree hence Kathmandu obtains its name from this historic building, Kasthamandap. The building was used for public gathering during those days. The central image in the building consists of Gorakhnath and there are miniature temples of four Ganeshas.
This temple dedicated to the elephant god Ganesha is revered both by the Hindus and Buddhists alike and is one of he most important shrine in the valley.
This temple was built in 1673AD by Pratap Malla to start a new masked dance of Narasimha, an incarnation of Vishnu.
Patan Durbar Square
Patan also known as Lalitpur means the city of arts. It is located across the river Bagmati river only 5 km south of Kathmandu city center. This city founded in 3rd home of the finest crafts and is considered oldest of all three cities of Kathmandu valley. Most of the monuments in this square date back to the medieval Malla period from 16th to 18th century and the monuments in the area are mostly credited to king Siddhi Nar Singh Malla, Shri Niwas Malla and Yog Narendra Malla.
Patan Durbar Square consists of three main courtyards-Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Mani Keshab Narayan Chowk which houses the Patan Museum. The Sundari Chowk built by King Siddhi Narsingh Malla in 1647 AD contains the master piece of stone sculpture known as the Royal bath and was used of performing ritual bathing.
The three-storied temple of Bhimsen located on the extreme north of the square with the magnificent golden balcony overlooking the square outside is very popular amongst the local merchant and traders communities. There are curio shops around the temple.
Vishwa Nath Temple:-
This two-storied temple dedicated to Shiva located near the Bhimsen temple is built in Pagoda style and houses a large phallic of Shiva and the temple is guarded by two elephants.
The temple of Lord Krishna built in the 17th century by king Siddhi Narsingh Malla is the first specimen of Shikhara style temple entirely made of stone. It is the only temple in Nepal with 21 golden pinnacles and contains engraved scenes from the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The stone column of King Yog Narendra Malla in a praying poster to goddess Taleju is protected by a snake above his head and a bird is seen seated on the snake. Legend says that the King would be remembered and remain immortal as long as the bird does not fly from there. It is because of this believe that a window of the palace. A stone pillar located nearby with the Garuda atop facing the Krishna Temple is another typical example of Nepali stone workmanship.
This temple also known as the Char Narayan temple and one of the oldest temple is located south of the Krishna temple. The temple is guarded by two lions and half human form sculpted in stone.
Harishankar Temple: –
This three-tire temple built in 1704 AD is dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. This temple was built by the wives of King Yoga Narendra Malla after his death in his memory because of which this temple is also know as Sati temple.
There are prominent temples like the three-storied octagonal temple of Taleju Bhawani and Digu Teleju- the five storied temple of the protective deities built by King Siddhi Narsingh Malla in 17the century. These temples are unique examples of craftsmanship in wood.
The three-storied golden pagoda was built by King Bhaskar Verma In the 12th century and contains images of Amoghpash Lokeswor, large prayer wheel and paintings of Buddha. The temple is located at a walking distance north from the main square.
This five-storied Temple dedicated to Shiva was built during the reign of King Jayastithi Malla in the late 14th century. It is a few minutes walk north from the main square. A religious fair is held during Janai Poornima(August). There is also a famous Banglamukhi Temple nearby.
Thousand images of Buddha are found in the temple made of fine quality Bricks. The temple was constructed in the 15th century by an architect named Avay Raj and is located eastwards with a few minutes walking distance from the main square.
There are many other shrines, sculptures, stupas scattered in and around the square and provide a unique experience of visitors and art lovers.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square
Bhaktapur meaning the city of devotees was founded by King Ananda Dev in 1197 AD according to the Gopala Raj Vamsabli even though the existence of the city could be traced back to the Lichhavi period (185- 750AD). There are many monuments including pagodas, palaces, shikhara style monuments, courtyards and Buddists shrines and monasteries. The Durbar Square was the seat of the Malla Kings and the present structures away from Kathmandu city.
The lion Gate: –
The two lions symbolizes the elements of power and protection and was installed on its either sides during the reign of King Bhupatindra Malla in 1696 AD. This gate has beautiful stone statues of Bhairv-the fierce form of Shiva Durga the fierce-some manifestation of Shakti-the female power.
Golden Gate: –
The Golden Gate was built by King Ranajit Malla in 1754 AD which serves as an entrance to the Taleju complex.
Four Pilgrimage sites: –
You can also observe the four dhams(pilgrimage sites) of Jaganath, Kedarnath, Rameshwor and Badrinath just at the entrance. It is a replication of holy sites revered in India.
Stone column: –
King Bhupatindra Malla seated atop on a stone column in an attitude of prayer to Taleju Bhavani. He was a great builder, a scholar and an artist.
55 Windows Palace: –
This is the supreme wooden architectural structure dominating the entire Bhadga on Durbar Square. This magnificent edifice was originally built by Yakshya Malla in 1427 AD and embellished later by Bhupatindar Malla in 17th century.
Vastala Temple: –
It was built on Shikhara style completely on stones by Jaya Ranajit Malla in the 17th century AD. The temple is dedicated to a mother goddess Durga. On the lower flank the temple there is a small bell known as ‘barking bell’ because dogs bark and whine at the sound of the bell. In those days the bell was used as an alarm to alert the people during the period of emergency.
Yakcheswor Mahadev: –
This temple is a replication of Pashupatinath Temple of Kathmandu. It was built by King Yakshya Malla in 1480 AD. It shows the importance of Pashupati Temple in the spiritual life of the people of Bhaktapur and it was built so that people from Bhaktapur may avoid the difficulty of going to main Pashupatinath in Kathmandu for offering prayers.
Folklore mentions that once king from Bhaktapur who was a great devotee of lord Pashupati dreamt the lord who told him to build a temple for Him so that He could move into it. He obeyed the divine command and thus the temple was built.
The temple was founded by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1702AD. Nyatapola in Newari means five-tiered temple symbolizing the five basic elements of Nature. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Siddhi Laxmi- a Tantric deity representing the most powerful female force. Legend goes that the temple was built by the King on the advice of the astrologers to pacify god Bhairav and maintain a harmonious balance of male and female principle. Nyatopola and Bhairav temples signify the co-existence of male and female energy pervading the earth.
The temple stands above the five plinth and rises 30 m above the top plinth. Pairs of animals and robust men flank the stairway. It is believed that every pair of guardian is ten times more powerful than the pair immediately below. This is the most famous pagoda of Nepal.
Bhairav Natth Temple: –
This temple of Bhairav-the ferocious form of Shiva-was originally built by Jagat Joti Malla as a one storeyed temple and later King Bhupatindra Malla added two more stories to it in 1718 AD. According to a legend Vishwanath, a manifestation of Shiva once visited Bhaktapur to observe Bisket Jatra. When the locals recognize him they beheaded him in order to retain him permanently in the temple. It is because of this reason the central images of Bhairav temple has the head of Bhairav without the body and is taken on a chariot once during the Bisket Jatra which is the biggest festival of the town held in April.
Teel Mahadev Nayayan Temple: –
South form Nyatapola lies this temple dedicated to lord Vishnu built in 12th century AD. A disc, lotus, conch shell and mace-four emblems of lord Vishnu are placed on pillars to the sides of the entrance.
Dattareya Temple: –
Dattatreya Temple, originally built by Yakshya Malla in 1427AD and renovated by his son Vishwa Malla in 1458 AD, is the only temple in Nepal that is dedicated to God Dattatreya-the combined incarnation of the three supreme gods-Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. The entrance of the temple is guarded the messenger of Vishnu is also erected on a stone column.
Bhimsen Temple: –
To the west of the Dattatreya temple is the Bhimsen temple built in 1605AD. Lod Bhimsen is the second eldest of the five Pandavas of the Mahabharat epic. In the olden days people has to walk to Tibet or India for trade and pilgrimages, so one had to be naturally strong to embark on an ardrous journey. In order to gain strength people prayed to Lord Bhimsen and the tradition continues till today. The area also has two Bronze and Wood carving museums and the famous window peacock-an original masterpiece of Nepali wood work.
Pujari Math: –
The Pujari Math literally translated as the Priets’s house now houses the wood carving museum. The Math built by King Yaksha malla in the 15th century was used for storing donations and contributions. The world famous peacock window of the 15th century is situated on the eastern face of this house. One can observe intricately carved images of gods and goddesses on the struts of this religious monument.
Situated 5 km east of Kathmandu city center, Pashupati literally means “Lord of Animals” and is considered to be the patron deity of Nepal. Pashupatinath is regarded as one of the holiest sites for Hindus all over the world.
Pashupatinath temple is a pagoda style two-tiered golden roof with exquisitely carved four silver doors containing in its sanctum a phallic idol with four faces facing each direction and the fifth one is looking up towards the zenith. A temple dedicated to Shiva was constructed at the present site by Lichhavi King Supushpa Verma according to an ancient chronicle. However the present temple is claimed to have been built by king Bhupatindra Malla in 1697 AD. Legend has it that a cow would frequently escape from its herds and offer milk on a Jyotirlinga(phallic symbol of Shiva) which denotes the point where the temple stands today. It is said that a certain cowherd much to his surprise found the self-generated Jyotirlinga (phallic symnol of Shiva) when he dug the spot where the cow would give milk. The spot immediately became the center of worship that has been continued till today.
Legend also mentions that the Pandavas after the great Mahabharata battle were told that only by sighting Shiva would they be absolved of their sins and it was at this very spot they saw the lord. Hence, this most sacred abode of Shiva, who is the God of the gods-Mahadeva-merits a visit by all Hindus, at least once in a lifetime, to be truly blessed and cleansed. It is believed that pilgrimage to the four dhams like Dwarika, kedar Rameshwar and Jaganath of India becomes meaningful only after a final darshan of Pashupatinath and by a taking a holy dip in the Bagmati River and conducting a proper puja and circling the 525 Shiva Lingas in the temple premises will free a person from the cycle of births and rebirths. In the premise of the Pashupati temple are other temples like Bhairavnath, Vasuki nag, Parbati temple, Ram mandir, Vishwo rup, Gorakhnath, Kirateshwor temple and dozens of temples dedicated to different gods and goddesses.
A considerable part of the temple vicinity is converted to rest and prayer areas. Behind the temple on the banks of Bagmati is a crematorium for Hindus. It is the wish of every Hindu to be cremated on the bank of the Bagmati river in the temple of Guheshwori dedicated to Shiva’s consort Parbati also known as Satidevi. There is also a deer park at the back of the temple across the Bagmati river. It is also interesting to watch the minkeys roam in and around the temple freely. One may also observe Sadhus smeared with ashes and dressed in loin-cloths and the Hindu Brahmins offering Tika and blessing to the visitors. Pshupatinath attracts thousands of Pilgrims on spring festival Maha Shivaratri(Feb—March), the day dedicated to Shiva, Hari Talika/Teej(Aug-Sep), Janai Purnima(July-Aug), and all Mondays of the month of Shrawan(July_August).
In October 1979 Pashupati area was declared as the world Heritage Site by UNESCO and the temple is being managed by Pashupati area Development Trust. The temple activities can be observed from the back of the temple.
Located on a lovely little hillock Swayambhu Nath Stupa lies about 4 km west of Kathmandu city center. There are 360 steps leading all the way to the top commanding a magnificent view of Kathmandu valley and the breath-taking panorama of the snow-clad Himalayan range. The tradition in the Stupa follows the Vajrayana form of Buddhism which is a tantric variation of the Mahayana Buddhism (the great vehicle). The stupa seem to have been founded during the Lichchavi period. Religious and literary sources give numerous accounts of the establishment and the patronage of the Swayambhunath premises. Some literary work credit the Lichchavi King Mandev to be the founder of Swayambhu Stupa. It is also interesting to note that the stupa went a series of renovation during the Malla period in the medieval times with donations made by merchants, monks, pilgrims and Buddhist followers.
As the ancient legend goes Kathmandu valley was a lake long time ago. Right in the center of this lake was a full blown lotus with the divine light atop. When Maha Manjushri a saint from China heard about this he came all the way from China to the valley. He cut through the southern wall hill of the valley with his divine sword. The cleft made by the sword immediately drained the entire lake water making the valley floor ready for habitation. Hundreds of votive shrines and other historical monuments built in and around this stupa speak a lot about the significance and antiquity of this famed stupa. The stupa of Swayambhunath stands on a typically stylized lotus mandala base. The hemispherical part of the chaitya is made of brick and stone and on top of the hemispherical part lies the hermika which carries the eyes of Vairochana watching in all the directions and believed to have been painted in the Malla Period. The stupa is also laden with the 13 gold plated spires which symbolize the 13 stages to salvation. The spire is crowned by a golden umbrella supported by a pole from within the center. Devotees pour lime down the chaitya to cure illness of family members.
Harati Temple: It is a two-tiered pagoda temple dedicated to the primal mother-Ajima who is also known as the protective deity of children. Special prayers are offered on Saturday and Tuesday.
Anantapura and Pratapaura : These two temples dedicated to Vajrayana deities were built by King Pratap Malla in the 17th century. Anantapura temple was named after his consort and both these temples represent the Shikhara style of architecture.
Bajra Dhatu Mandala: The Mandala depicts 12 animals representing the twelve months of the Tibetan year. The gilt Bajra installed by King Pratap Malla in the middle of the 17th century represents the sword Chandahasa, Vajradhatvesvari, Mamaki Tara, Ratnasambhava, Pandara, Amitabha, Tara, Amogha Siddhi and Saptalochini.
The Vairochana is represented by the eyes painted on the hermika. Amitabha is the main deity of the chaitya.
Five Elements of Life: Temples and sacred sites representing the five fundamental elements of nature are said to have been founded by Shantikar Acharya. The five elements of life represented in the premise of the Stupa are Vasupura (earth), Nagapura (serpents, the lord of water), Shantipura or Akashpura (space or sky), Vayupura (air) and Agnipura (fire).
Important Days to Visit this holy sites:
1. Buddha Purnima, the birthday of Lord Buddha which falls on the full moon day of Baishakh (april_May).
2. Gunla the holy Buddhist month according to Newari Calendar (Aug-Sept, early morning).
3. Kojagrath Purnima (sept-oct) Samyak day of the Magh(Jan-Feb) (once in every twelve years).
The Stupa of Boudanath is located 5 km east of Kathmandu city center. The Stupa stands over three-tiered platform raised over the crossed rectangles in order to bring out the yantra form and is termed as the biggest Stupa in Nepal.
The claims made in various religious and literary texts regarding the erection of the stupa is varied and conflicting. However, the Stupa is believed to have been built in the 5th century AD during the reign of the Lichchavi Kings.
As in other stupa architecture, this stupa also has Vairchana at the center followed by Achhyobhya, Ratna Sambhava, Amitabh and Amoghsiddhi in east, south, west and north directions respectively. Similarly, there are one hundred and eight small niches around the stupa accommodating the icons of Buddhas, Bodhisatavas and other female deities along with conjoint figures in erotic poses. Likewise, at the bottom level, it is surrounded with the praying wheels embossed with the famous mantra Om Mani Padme Hum fixed in more than hundred and forty niches.
According to a very popular legend, in ancient time there was a poor girl in a Magat village of Nepal. She was called Jyajima and was very pious and charitable by nature. She had a deep desire to spread the faith of the Master and approached the King for a piece of land where she could build a stupa. Hence she built the stupa with the help of her four sons as it stands today.
According to another very popular legend, in the ancient days Kathmandu valley was under severe drought and this causes the King Dharma Dev much concern and anxiety. Finally, the King was advised by an astrologer that only the sacrifice of an ideal man with 32 virtues in front of the dry royal water spout could bring the rainfall in the country. There were hardly anybody with such a great virtue except the King himself. So the following night he commanded his son to go to the dry water spout near the royal palace (Mandev-the Lichchavi King) obeyed his father and to his great horror found that it was none other than his own father that he beheaded.
In order to atone for the heinous sin, he prayed to goddesses Vajrayogini who ordered him to erect a stupa and practice rigorous penance. He practiced great penance in Gumvihar where Vajrayogini rests and it was due to his great devotion there sprang out the present stupa of Boudanath.
Old field an Orientalist has written that a Lama form Tibet had died on his pilgrimage to Nepal and the stupa was erected with his relics and named it as Khasa Chaitya after his name.
During Buddha Jayanti (birthday of Lord Buddha, April-May) on the full moon day a religious procession takes place with the icons of Buddha on a chariot. During Lhosar festival (Jan-Feb) the pilgrims worship the Buddhist deities, light the increase and butter lamp day and night. On the full moon day of Nanai Purnima (sacred thread festival, Aug-Sept0 the stupa is decorated with prayer flags and lights. Every twelve year a special ceremony is also observed denoting the fact that it took 12 years to built the stupa. Some Buddhist texts also mentions that it took 2555 days (7 years) to complete the construction of the stupa. Dance, musical instruments, chant and hymns are performed to mark the event with great festivity. The stupa along with the monasteries are centers of learning, cultural activities, prayers and meditation.
It is located on a magnificent hill top commanding a fantastic view of Kathmandu valley, the Changu Narayan—the temple of Lord Vishnu—is 6 and wood. In fact it is one of the finest examples of Nepalese architecture. The first epigraphic evidence of Nepalese history found in the temple premises during the reign of the Lichchavi King Mandeva dating back to 464 AD shows that Changu had already been established as a sacred location in the 3rd century AD. The present structure was probably constructed in the 17th century, though older elements have been incorporated during the restorations. The pagoda style temple has several masterpieces of 5th and 12th century Nepalese art.
Some of the important sculptures here as:
1. Viswo Roop-
Lord Vishnu in his all pervasive universal form Vishnu Roop represented in a serpent bed- the- symbolic of the endless water. This sculpture dates back to 8th century AD.
2. Vishnu Vikranta-
Lord Vishnu in his most powerful form measuring the space by his feet. This stone bas-relief image is dated as 8th century AD.
3. Vishnu mounted in his vehicle Garuda- the mythical man bird.
4. Nr-singha Vishnu in his half human and half lion’s form.
The myth behind the conception of the Changu Narayan Temple signifies the religious significance and importance of the place. According to a legend, Lord Vishnu beheaded a Brahmin thinking it to be a demon and only discovered it later that he had committed a heinous crime. He then wandered on earth on his mount, the ‘Garuda’ eventually descending on the hill at Changu. There he lived in anonymity, surviving on milk stolen form a cow belonging to a hermit sage called Sudharshan. When Sudharshan found out about the stolen milk, he attacked and beheaded Lord Vishnu which freed Lord Vishnu from his sins. Ever since that day, the site has been held sacred and the temple has been revered.
Lumbini-Birth Place of Lord Buddha
Buddha was born at Lumbini in southern Nepal on a full moon day in 623 B.C. The importance of Lumbini is testified by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka who visited Lumbini in order to pay homage to the great Master and erected a pillar in 249 B.C. to indicate the birth place of Buddha. Near the Ashokan pillar is the newly renovated Mayadevi Temple also houses. The marker stone discovered in 1996 AD which depicts the exact spot where the Buddha was born. It snow kept in bulletproof glass in the Mayadevi Temple.
The Mayadevi temple was renovated in 2003 on the 2547th auspicious birth anniversary of the Buddha and houses ruins of the early period dating back from 3rd century BC to the 7th century AD. Near the temple is situated is situated the Puskarni pond where Queen Mayadevi-the Buddha’s mother- had given the first purificatory bath to the infant Buddha.
In 1896, excavations by General Khadga Shumsher Rana of Nepal and renowned archeologist Dr. A Fuhrer shed light on various aspects of the life of Buddha. In 1898, the British government deputed P.C. Mukherjee who confirmed the exact location of Aurorakot as the birth place of Kannakmuni Buddha and Gotihawa as the native place of Kakruchhanda Buddha who existed before the Shakyamuni Buddha and Lumbini as birthplace of Shakyamuni Buddha. He also claimed Devdaha to be the maternal home of Buddha and Tilaurakot ot be the exact site of Kapilvastu-the ancient capital of the Shakya Kingdom.
Shortly after the Buddha attained enlightenment at the age of 36, he delivered his first sermon, in which he laid out the essential framework upon which all his later teachings were based. This framework consists of the four Truths and the Eight fold path, which identifies the source of sufferings and the path towards the cessation of sufferings and the attainment of Salvation.
In order to develop Lumbini as a pilgrimage center and a fountain of World peace, Prof. Kenzo Tange of Japan was assigned to create the Lumbini Masterplan by UN which was jointly approved by the Government of Nepal and UN in 1978. The Master Plan includes canals, gardens, library, museum, monastic zones and areas for amenities. Lumbini Development Trust is responsible for the overall development of Lumbini. Listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in December 1997, Lumbini is being developed with international support. There are different Vihars and Monastries constructed by different countries like Korea, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, Germany, France, Austria, India, Srilanka, China and Nepal.
Access: From Kathmandu, fly to Gautam Buddha Airport in Bhairahawa (Siddharatha Nagar Municipality, 30 Minutes) and then drive (22 km) to Lumbini. Overland from Kathmandu to Bhairahawa is 300 km (9 hours).
Getting around: The places to see in Lumbini are scattered over an area of roughly 3 sq miles. There are manual three-wheelers to get around the Lumbini complex.
Climate : Temperature 40 degrees Celsius maximum, 7 degrees minimum. The rainy season lasts June-September.
Additional info: Lumbini Development Trust, Lumbini; Tel: +977-71-580189, 580200, Fax: 580181. Kathmandu office: Bhrikutimandap, Tel: +977-01-4268285,4268494, URL:www.lumbinitrust.org, email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Accommodation : Lumbini offers good hotels that are equipped with modern amenities. Visitors can also stay in Lumbini or the nearby town of Bhairahawa.
Attractions : Lumbini tour, Buddist circuit tour, Village tour, Monastery tour, Meditation, Archaeological tour, Crane Sancturay and Wet land tour. Great celebration takes place in Buddha Purnima (April- May).
Chitwan National Park (932 sq. km.)
Chitwan National Park established in 1973 was declared UNESCO Natural Site in 1984. The park that includes in its area a part of the shivalik hills is covered with deciduous of forest overlooking the floodplains of Narayani, Rapti and Reu rivers and offering a wilderness of rich ecosystem that includes mammals, birds, reptiles and water animals of several kinds. There are around 600 plant species, 50 mammals, 526 birds and 49 amphibians reptiles found in this park. The highlights, of course, are the 500 Asian one-horned rhinoceros and some 100 nocturnal Royal Bengal tigers that live in the dense forest of the park. Sharing home in these is other animal like rhesus monkey, grey langur, deer, leopards, white stockinged gaur, wild boar, wild dogs and wild cats. Among reptiles are different kinds of snakes including the python, while the river areas breed amphibians like the endangered snouted gharial popularly known as Gangetic Crocodile and Marsh Crocodiles. The forest is alive during summer with the arrival of migrant birds paradise flycatcher, Indian pitta and Parakeets, while winter birds include waterfowl, Brahminy ducks, peachens, floricans and redheaded trogons. A rare attraction of the park is the world’s fresh water dolphin variety sometimes seen in River Narayani. Another factor adding a distinct touch to the Chitwan experience is the colorful Tharu culture. These are also sites of religious and historical importance at Devghat, Pandavnagar, Balmiki Ashram and Kabilaspur/
Jungle safari on elephant back, jungle walk, canoe ride, jeep drive, and observation of Tharu culture.
Resort hotels lodges
The park headquarters’ at Kasara is 21-km drive from Bharatpur, which is 20 minutes by air or 146 km by road from Kathmandu.
Oct- Feb( average temperature 25 degree Celsius): Mar-Jun (hot, upto 43 Degrees), July-Sep(rainy)
Park Headquarter: Kasara, Tel: +977-56-529405/580072(Sauraha)
Sagarmatha National Par (1,148 sq.km.)
The prime attraction in Sagarmatha National Park established in 1976, is Mt. Everest—the highest peak of the world. The park was added to the list of World heritage Site in 1979. The park, a part of the Himalayan ecological zone, has several other prominent peaks most of which are above 6,000 meters. With most of the park above, 3,000 meters. Sagarmatha is full of rugged terrain with deep gorges, glaciers and huge rocks. With its Himalayan terrain and its culture, the parks offers a blend of natural and cultural tourist products here. The vegetation at the lower elevation is dominated by pine and hemlock forest, while above 3,500 meters the forest is dominated with silver fir, birch, rhododendron, and juniper trees. During spring and monsoon the varieties of rhododendron flowers are seen. The common wildlife in the park are Himalayan Tahr, ghoral, musk deer, pikka (mouse hare) weasel, jackal. Other rarely seen animals are the impeyan pheasant(Danphe), blood pheasant, red billed cough, yellow-billed chough, snow-cock, snow pigeon, Himalayan griffon, and lammergeyer. The area also provides warm sherpa hospitality and has many monasteries and cultural landmarks. Tourism activities and farming are the main activities of the area. Growing barleys and potatoes and raising Yaks are some of the notable occupation. The majority of the youths are engaged as mountaineering and trekking guides in the season.
The best point to explore the area could be Gokyo Valley, Lobuche, Kalapatthar, Everest Base camp, Chuking valley and the Thame valley.
Trekking, Mountaineering, cultural observation and Meditation
Resort hotels, lodges, camping.
Namche Bazar—a gateway to Everest region—is a two walk from Lukla which is 30 minutes by air to Kathmandu.
Oct-Nov and Mar- May, Dec-Feb( snow, daytime temperature 5 degree Celsius), Jun-Sep(rainy)
For more attraction places in nepal: www.dntt.com.np