World Heritage Sites in Nepal

Nepal is a small country with an area 1, 47,181 km2 and yet manages to be a home for marvelous and unique sites. The uniqueness of Nepal in culture and traditions has always made Nepal a country with something special and charming. The country was never colonized by any powers of the world and the unity in diversity has reflected the greatness of the country all around the world. The diverse ethnic groups have their own languages, cultures and traditions, art and architectures. This varied culture, tradition has lead to the different architectural monuments all over the world.

World Heritage Day is celebrated every year on 18th April. This day is also called the International Day for Monuments and Sites. The celebration of the World Heritage Day has a primary motive to raise awareness about the importance of the historical or cultural heritages within our surrounding. Realizing how much important role these sites play in human history, UNESCO adopted a convention that discusses the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, on November 16, 1972. Till date, UNESCO has identified more than 100 of heritage sites and listed these places in the list of World Heritage Site list.

Nepal contributes 10 sites in the list of World Heritage Site. Here are the sites of Nepal included in the list of World Heritage Site:

Pashupatinath Temple

Pashupatinath is one of the four most important religious sites in Asia for the devotees of Shiva. The temple was built in the fifth century and is the largest temple complex in Nepal spread across 246 hectors. The temple stretches on both sides of the Bagmati River. Apart from being a religious site, the Pashupatinath Temple is a perfect combination of art and culture. The temple was listed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

The temple allows only the Hindus to enter the main temple. That does not mean that foreigners are not allowed to enter the whole premises. The other buildings are available for the foreigners to visit. The main temple of the Pashupatinath has a Shiva Lingam in its interior and outside is the large statue of Nandi, the bull which is the transport of Lord Shiva. The temple is a cubical construction with a bunk roof and a golden spire at the top. There are a total of four main doors to the temple, which is all built with the silver sheets.

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There are numerous temples in the periphery of the temple that includes the temple of Bhuwaneshori, the Dakshinamurti, Tamreshwor, Panchdewal, Bishwarupa, and many others. All these temples have their own set of rituals to be performed. There is a forest named Shleshmantak, on the other side of the river which is home to monkeys and deer. For the maintenance of the Pashupati area, Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) was established by Late King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah in 1996. This administrative body looks after all the activities related to the Pashupatinath area.


Swayambhunath: the Monkey Temple

Swayambhunath is one of the most ancient religious architectures nestled at the top of the hill in Kathmandu valley. The temple is also known as the monkey temple because of the abundant number of monkeys roaming around the temple.

According to the ancient legend, the valley was filled with a large lake. A lotus grew out of the lake and thus the valley was named Swayambhu, which meant, ‘self-created.’ The stupa has a large dome at the base with two eyes above it, and the thirteen pinnacles on the top. The dome indicates the entire world, the two eyes represent the wisdom and compassion that drives one away from the bonds of the world leading to enlightenment and the pinnacles are the representation of the saints who have to go through thirteen stages of spiritual realization to gain enlightenment.

There are a lot of Chaityas, temples, and images of the deities in the surrounding area. There are prayer wheels all around the stupa. Also, Shiva lingams are present in the area which is now disguised as Buddhist Chaityas. Swayambhunath is a holy place not only for the Buddhists but also for the Hindus because the Hindus regard Gautam Buddha as a manifestation of Lord Vishnu. There are lots of devotees visiting the place particularly during Buddha Jayanti: the birthday of Gautam Buddha.


Bouddhanath Stupa

Bouddhanath Stupa is one of the largest stupas in the world. Located in the northeastern outskirts of Kathmandu, the stupa is the reflection of the Tibetan culture in Kathmandu. UNESCO listed the Bouddhanath stupa as a World Heritage Site in 1979. The stupa was supposed to be built in the 14th century.

The aerial view of the stupa looks like a big Mandala. At the bottom of the stupa, there is a boundary of the 16-sided wall. There are numerous prayer wheels which are engraved with the mantra- ‘Om Mani Padme Hum.’ There are also three large platforms at the base, which are decreasing in size which represents earth. One can listen to the chanting of the devotees while walking around the stupa. The thirteen rings at the base are the representation of the path to the enlightenment.

Above the base, is the square shaped tower that has the Buddha eyes in all the directions. A question mark instead of the nose is the symbolization of the number 1 inNepali that reflects the unity. There is another eye, the third eye, which is a symbol of the wisdom of Buddha. A 13 steps pyramid stands above the square tower, which indicates the path to enlightenment. The colorful flags are tagged at the top which holds the prayers and the mantras.


Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square known as Hanuman Dhoka Palace is one of the major attraction of Kathmandu valley. The palace is named after the Hindu god ‘Hanuman’ which is believed to be the protector of the whole palace.

The palace is filled with many temples most of which date back to the 15th to 18th century. The Durbar Square has two sub-areas; the inner complex comprises of the temples like Nasal Chowk, Sundari Chowk, Basantapur Durbar and the outer complex contains Kumari Ghar, Kasthamandap, Shiva-Parvati temple, Big bell,and Jagannath. The festivals like Indra Jatra, Dashain, Gaijatra and the Machchhindra-NathJatras are the major attractions of the place.


Patan Durbar Square

The Patan Durbar Square is located at the center of the Lalitpur. The major attraction of the Patan Durbar Square is the Krishna Mandir which was built in 1637 with 21 gold pinnacles in the temple. Also, the Durbar square has an Ancient Royal Palace, where the kings of the Lalitpur resided in the past. Patan is a historical Buddhist city and now is a center of both the Hindus and the Buddhists with 136 bahals or courtyards and 55 major temples.

The Patan Durbar Square is filled with a huge crowd of the devotees during the time of Krishna Ashtami. The Bhimsen temple built in 1627 and the Taleju temple built in 1667 are also the major attractions of the Patan Durbar Square.


Bhaktapur Durbar Square

The Bhaktapur Durbar Square is located at the front of the royal palace of old Bhaktapur kingdom and known as Bhadgaon. It is 13 km east of the Kathmandu. The area consists of the four squares namely; Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square,and Pottery Square. However, they are together called Bhaktapur Durbar Square.

The major attractions of the Bhaktapur Durbar Square are the 55 windows palace (55 Jhyale Durbar), Nayatapola temple, a statue of the BhupatindraMalla, BhairabNath temple, Golden Gate, Lion’s gate, Mini Pashupati temple and many more.


Changu Narayan Temple

The Changu Narayan Temple is one of the oldest Hindu temples which are still in use in Kathmandu valley.  The temple lies on the hilltop called Changu and Dolagiri which is about 7 miles or 12 km east of Kathmandu. There is a statue of Lord Vishnu inside the temple and is most probably the oldest temple in Nepal. The temple has many pieces of the 5th and 12th-century art and surrounded by the beautiful green forest. The Historical Pillar, a statue of BhupatindraMalla, a sculpture of Shreedar Vishnu, Vaikuntha Vishnu, Vishworup and Kaileshwor are the attractions of the Temple.


Lumbini: the Birthplace of Gautam Buddha

Lumbini is the biggest Buddhist pilgrimage site where Gautam Buddha was born in 623 BC. Lumbini was listed in the World Heritage Site on 1997. The Lumbini is a place from where the Buddhism all started. The Mayadevi Temple reserves the exact spot of the birth of Lord Buddha. There are many monasteries built by the different Buddhist countries from all around the world. The ever-glowingflames, the Ashoka Pillar, the Puskarni pond, sacred garden are the major attractions of the Lumbini. The Lumbini also preserves the seven steps the baby Gautam Buddha took as soon as he was born.


Chitwan National Park

The first National Park of Nepal; Chitwan National Park was established in 1973 and included in World Heritage Site in1984. The Chitwan National Park has an area of 932 km2 and is home to many endangered species. The National Park is particularly famous for its conservation of one-horned rhinoceros. Four different species of deer including the spotted deer, leopard, sloth bears, wild boar, Langur and rhesus monkey, wild cats and many more species are found in the park. Along with the numerous animals,it is home to, the National Park is also a preferred destination for the ornithologists since the National Park harbors more than 450 species of bird species. Some of the species include woodpeckers, hornbills, Bengal florican, Red-headed trogons and many more. The swampy lakes areas and the lakes are home to the marsh crocodiles.

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Sagarmatha National Park

Sagarmatha National Park situated at the Solukhumbu district is home to the world’s largest peak, Mount Everest. The name is derived from two Nepali words, Sagar means sky and Matha means head. The park was established in 1976 and was later recognized as an Important Bird Area by the BirdLife International. The National Park consists of 118 species of birds which includes Himalayan monal, Tibetan Snow cock,blood pheasant, red-billed chough and yellow-billed chough. The Park has also been home to numerous rare mammal species like musk deer, snow leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Red Panda, etc.


Chitwan National Park – Exhilarating Wilderness Experience

Chitwan National Park (former “Royal Chitwan National Park”) is the first national park of Nepal, established in 1973. The national park gained status as a World Heritage Site in 1984. The park covers an area of 932 km sq. Chitwan National Park is located in subtropical Inner Terai lowlands in south-central Nepal. The park is located in the district of Nawalparasi, Parsa, Chitwan, and Makwanpur. The park lies in the vicinity of Churia Hills, and its altitudes range from 100 meters in river valleys to 815 meters in the hills of Churia range.

Rhino in Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park connects with Parsa Wildlife Reserve in the East. The two national parks share the East border and together with Valmiki Tiger Reserve in south form the Chitwan-Parsa-Valmiki Tiger Conservation Unit with a combined area of 2,075 km. sq. The Valmiki Tiger Reserve borders Chitwan National Park in the South, and the Narayani River from the Western border of the national park.

Climate, Vegetation, Flora and Fauna

Climate and Vegetation

The National Park consists of alluvial grasslands, watersheds and moist deciduous forests. Chitwan National Park has tropical monsoon climate, and high humidity is present throughout the year. Monsoon lasts from mid-June to late-September and participates around 2000 mm of rain. Other months, the temperature lies from 20° C to 38°C and the temperature during night drops around 5° C to 15° C.

The vegetation found in Chitwan National Park is subtropical with Himalayan broadleaf forests predominantly with sal trees. The park is an example of biological evolution that consists of a unique assemblage of native fauna and flora from inner Terai ecosystems and Siwalik region. The fragile Siwalik-hill ecosystem is one of the major attractions for environmentalist and biologist who study evolution.

The lower altitude region of Chitwan National Park consists of wetlands, watersheds and moist deciduous forests, making perfect living conditions for Asiatic Elephant and the One-Horned Rhinoceros. The wetlands and lakes like Belshazzar inside Chitwan National Park were named Ramsar Convention in 2003 as vital wetlands that need protection.

Flora and Fauna

Chitwan National Park has a wide range of flora and fauna. The Sal trees and broadleaf forest covers around 70% of the national park area. Essential Sal trees like Chie Pine lie in the southern face of Churia Hills. Northern slopes consist of small flowering tree and shrubs such as Beleric, Rosewood, Axlewood, Elephant Apple and creepers such as Spatholobus Parvifiouus and Bauhinia Vahlii.

Deer in Chitwan National Park

Even more astounding is the diverse range of fauna. This park is a habitat for more than 700 species of wildlife and diverse range of butterflies, moths, insects linger which are not fully surveyed yet. There are about 20 species of snakes including King Cobra and Rock Python. Additionally, starred tortoise and monitor lizards also dwell in the park. The Chitwan National Park protects endangered animals like One-Horned Rhinoceros, Bengal Tiger, and Gharials. The park also homes 544 species of birds and 50 species of mammals.

Things to Do In Chitwan National Park

Chitwan Jungle Safari

Jungle Safari is much-sought activity by both domestic and international tourist in Chitwan National Park. The Jungle safari takes you deep inside the wetlands and jungle of the park to view exotic birds, wild boars, musk deer and one-horned rhinoceros. If you are lucky, one might see the endangered Bengal Tiger. There are reports of Bengal Tiger even sitting in the path of safari jeep for about half hour giving people a near experience with the beast of the jungle.  

The Chitwan Jungle Safari is done in many ways. There is a jeep safari, where people sit back of a jeep and travel inside the park viewing all the animals that come across the trip.

Chitwan Jungle safari is also done by walking too. Many tourists, mostly bird lovers, and wildlife experts travel the jungle and watershed by foot. Nature walk gives opportunity to observe many animals and birds silently from a close distance. Walking Jungle Safari is best with a guide and one must not explore alone.

There have been many incidents of attack, one when a tiger attacked Gerard Van Laar and his guide. Laar climbed a tree while Krishna lured the tiger to him. Later the Tiger returned and circled the tree Laar climber. After about 2 hours later, the guide returned with help and chased the tiger with sticks and saved the life of Van Laar. Gerard, in his press conference, said if it weren’t for his guide, he would be dead. So a well-experienced guide is of prime importance during the jungle safaris.


Several tourists canoe in the Narayani River and Rapti River to watch crocodiles and birds living on the banks of the river. The mugger crocodiles and gharials crocodile live in the waters of Narayani and Rapti rivers that bound the Chitwan National Park.

These beasts of river live under water during nighttime and surface on the sandy banks of the river to soak sunlight during the day. The Rapti and Narayani River holds the most crocodiles in Nepal and the best way of observing the animals and plants near the river is to canoe.

Elephant and Crocodile Breeding Center

Chitwan National Park holds separate breeding centre for elephants and crocodiles. The breeding centre is established to maintain the population of these animals. Elephants are quickly becoming an endangered species in the world and to protect and support the population of elephants, the breeding centre has established.

Crocodile breeding centre lies in the jungle safari route inside the jungle of Chitwan. The centre breeds water alligators and gharials and documents their growth from an egg to a full-fledged crocodile. The crocodile breeding centre is fast becoming a popular destination for tourists to watch and learn the habits of these river monsters.

Bird Watching and Sunset Viewing

Chitwan National Park comprises the majority number of species of birds than any other region of Nepal. There are about 544 species of birds alone in Chitwan. Among many endangered birds of Chitwan, some of the birds are Bengal Florican, Black-Chinned Yuhina, Gould’s Sunbird, Salty-Breasted Rail, Lesser Adjutant, Swamp Francolin, and Blossom-Headed Parakeet. Chitwan National Park is a paradise for every bird watcher and bird lover in the world.

Sunset viewing is also becoming much-enjoyed activity in Chitwan. The sunset view from Chitwan is spectacular as the sun vanishes in the jungle of Chitwan. The sunset is observed from the banks of Rapti River where most domestic, as well as international tourists, gather in the evening explicitly to watch the sunset.

Tharu Village Visit and Cultural Dance

Many traditional Tharu communities lie neighboring the Chitwan National Park. The Tharus are the native people of this area. The traditions of these ethnic people are witnessed by visiting their villages. There is also special dance performed in Chitwan in the evening showcasing Tharu people’s lifestyle, customs, and traditions.

Cultural Program in Chitwan National Park


How to reach Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park is around 167 km far from Kathmandu. There are two ways to reach the park; one is by vehicle through Naryanghat-Mugling highway, and another is through the airplane.

By Bus/Car

Chitwan is around 167 km south of Kathmandu and is reached through the main highway. The route to Chitwan goes through Naryangadh-Mugling highway and also goes through Mahendra highway shortly before reaching Chitwan. Travel by bus/car takes about 5-6 hours. Trips time will vary from local buses to private car and jeeps.

Local buses take 10 hours to complete the trip, stopping to fill the bus with people, to have lunch and other activities. A private car can complete the journey in less than 5 hours without stops for lunch, and bathroom breaks.  

By Airplane

A quick way to get to Chitwan National Park is by aeroplane. Chitwan city doesn’t have an airport, but Bharatpur, a sub-metro town 10 km west of Chitwan does. The flight duration from Kathmandu to Bharatpur airport is 30 minutes. Chitwan is 15 minutes far from Bharatpur in a car. In under an hour, you will reach the wilderness of Chitwan from Kathmandu.   

The Cost to Reach Chitwan

The trip cost to Chitwan is relatively cheap. The bus ride to Chitwan from Kathmandu ranges from 500-800 rupees in a local bus. Private exotic buses and reserved jeep cost more than standard fares. Travel agencies have a private and comfortable bus for tourists and may charge a higher fare for the trip. The coaches of travel agencies are very clean, equipped with air conditioner.

The alternative and quick way to reach Chitwan National Park is by flight from Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Bharahawa. The flight duration is less than 30 minutes from each of the above-listed cities. The cost of the flight varies from $80-$100.

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4 places to do Jungle Safari In Nepal

Nepal is famous for beautiful Himalayan ranges where the highest peak Mount Everest lies in Nepal. Not only Nepal is renowned for the mountain trekking and mountaineering worldwide but also offers for the adventurous jungle safari. Nepal is rich in biodiversity, wildlife as well as vegetations.

Nepal has ten national parks, four wildlife reserves, one hunting reserves and six conservatives areas. There are various flora and fauna in Nepal and also the treasures of medical herbs.

The southern part of Nepal, Terai low land tropical area preserve some endangered species. Jungle safari is a fantastic experience where visitors can get a chance to see the wildlife such as Bengal tiger, Musk deer, Elephant, One-horn Rihno, Gharial, Crocodile, Blue bull, wild buffalo and many other endangered species of animals, birds and so on. You will often know the traditional life of local people, variety of language and costumes.

The most popular jungle safari in Nepal.

Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park is the oldest national park of Nepal and also list in the World Heritage Site. Chitwan National Park is located in the subtropical Inner Terai lowlands of south-central Nepal, covers 932 sq. Km (360 sq mi). The area stretches in the districts of Nawalparasi, Parsa, Chitwan, and Mankwanpur.

One horned rhinoceros in Chitwan National Park Nepal

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Chitwan National Park was established in 1973 and granted the status of a World Heritage Site in 1984. Its altitude starts from 100 m (330 ft) in the river valleys to 815 m (2,674 ft) in Churia Hills.

Chitwan National Park offers jeep safari in the jungle around the national park where there is various species habitat. Chitwan National Park is the home to 68 mammals species, 600 species of birds and 55 species of amphibian and reptiles.

Chitwan is mainly known for One-horn Rhino and the king of the jungle, Bengal Tiger which lives in the dense of the forest. Besides tiger and rhino includes many species of mammals such as sloth bears, wild dogs, golden jackals, jungle cats, wild buffalo, elephants, deer, etc. Likewise, there are different kinds of birds like peacock, white-throated kingfisher, male paradise flycatcher, cuckoos, woodpeckers and many others. Similarly, includes many types of snakes, python, crocodile, gharial, etc.

Chitwan Park is one of Nepal’s most popular tourist’s destination.

Sauraha and Meghuali are two main entrance to Chitwan National Park.

Many visitors travel there to spend a vacation or have a wonderful weekend with family and friends.

Tharu community is the local inhabitants of this area. Tharu village is famous for its culture. Tharu people live near to the Chitwan National Park where they reflect the tradition.

Best time to visit Chitwan National Park is between September to March. On the months, the temperatures remain 25-35 degree Celsius.

Bardiya National Park

Jungle Safari in Bardiya National Park is a great experience, and Bardiya National Park is the largest and most undisturbed national park that was established in 1988, covering 968 sq. Km (374 sq mi) in Terai lowland Nepal. Bardiya National Park joins the eastern bank of the Karnali River and bisected by the Babai River in the Bardiya district.

Bardiya National Park

Bardiya National Park is the home to endangered Royal Bengal tiger and One-horn rhinoceros. Geographically the dense forest is cover by various factors of Sal, Savannah, grasslands with different wildlife.

The park has 53 species of mammals, 400 species of birds and 23 species of reptiles and amphibian. There are 839 species of flora and 642 species of fauna in this park.

The park offers the opportunity of fishing in Karnali River and Babai River.

The best time to visit in Bardiya is autumn, winter and early summer when the weather is warm and dry. Roads can reach Bardiya or by a flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj and from Nepalgunj travel by the bus to get there. Watch the various birds and mammals through jungle walk.

Shuklaphant National park

Another jungle safari in Nepal can be done in Shuklaphant National Park. It is a protected area of the Far-Western Region located in the Kanchanpur district in Terai, covering  305 sq. Km (118 sq mi). Shuklaphant National Park is famous as the hunting area for many years.

Shuklaphant National park

The park was declared a Royal Hunting Reserve in 1969 and gazetted in 1973 as Royal Shuklaphant Wildlife Reserve. In 2012, the status of the protected area was changed to a national park.

The tropical wetlands at an altitude of 174 meters (571 ft) to 1,386 meters (4,574 ft) which extend from north of the east-west highway to Sivalik Hills.

Shuklaphant National Park is one of the best conserved examples of floodplain grassland and part of the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands ecoregion. Shuklaphant contains 700 species of flora where grassland constitutes almost half of the reserve vegetation including 46 species of mammals, 28 fish species, 423 species of birds, 12 reptiles and amphibian.

Shuklaphant National Park can be explored by jeep or walk around the jungle.

The forest occurs different types of vegetation like Sal, Sisso, Khair includes grassland like; Themeda, Siru, Kans, Munj and so on. Similarly species of wildlife such as Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, elephant, Swamp deer, owl, woodpecker, Sarus crane, grey-headed fish eagle including reptiles many types of snakes, Indian cobra, python and mugger crocodile.

The best time to go for Shuklaphant Jungle Safari is in winter season from November to February because the temperature is moderates and the views are clear.

Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve

Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is the smallest protected area in the Terai of eastern Nepal covering 175 sq. Km (68 sq mi) in three districts: Sunsari, Saptari, and Udhyapur. Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve was established in1976 and announces as a Ramsar site in December 1987. It contains mudflats, reed beds, and floodplain of the Sapta Koshi River. The altitudes range from 75 to 81 m (256 to266 ft).

Koshi Tappu is known as a home of birds.

Koshi Tappu is mainly established to conserve the birds and wild buffalo Arna. There are more than 280 species of birds in the reserve in which watercock, Indian Nightjar, striated grassbird, large adjutant stork and many others. The Koshi Tappu barrage is extremely important as a resting place for migratory birds.

Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve

Despite birds, there 31 species of mammals recorded. Wild Buffalo is a protected animal including Asian elephant, spotted deer, wild boar, golden jackal, sloth bear, in which the number of Gaur and Blue bull has declined. Also, include the endangered Gharial, crocodile, and Gangetic dolphin have been preserved in The Koshi River.

The vegetation is a mixture of the riverine forest, marshy and grasslands. The grassland covers the most land compared to the forest. Local villagers are permitted to collect grass which is used for thatching roofs.

In the extensive wetlands 514 plants are found including sugar cane, kapok, reed, eelgrass, lotus and 200 species of fish as well as different species of snake. The reserve is also available for fishing.

The best time to visit in Koshi Tappu Wildlife reserve is between October to March where visitors can explore the migratory birds resides.

Travelers can go through there by air flight, private vehicle, and jeep. There are many hotels and resorts available to stay.

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