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.


Sagarmatha National Park: Home to the Highest Peak Mt Everest

Among the various protected areas in Nepal, Sagarmatha National Park is one of these protected areas in the eastern Himalayas of Nepal. The National Park was established in 1976 with an area of 1,148 km2 (443 sq miles) in Solukhumbu district. Located at the highest elevation with its lowest point just over 2,800 meters, it encompasses dramatic mountains including the Mount Everest (8,848 m), Glaciers and deep valleys.

More about Sagarmatha National Park

Sagarmatha is another name for Mount Everest. It is a Nepali word derived from two other words, Sagar meaning ‘sky’ and matha meaning ‘head.’ The name represents the glory of the Mount Everest which has increased our pride as high as the sky. Along with being home to the highest peak in the world, the National Park also includes other snow-capped mountains of the Great Himalayan Range with most of the mountains above 3,000 meters and some above 6,000 meters.

Sagarmatha National Park is popular not only for the breathtaking beauty but also due to the culture that prevails there. Some 6,000 Sherpas live in the surrounding 20 villages such as Kunde, Khumjung, Namche Bazaar, Thyangboche, Thame, Pangboche and Phortse. During the major tourist flow seasons, the Sherpas settle temporarily around the tourist trials.

Sagarmatha National Park

Giving continuity to the culture and religion of the Sherpa including the restriction of the hunting of the animals, and resource management has contributed to the successful operation of the National Park. With so much of the natural beauty, mountains and culture mixed up in an area, UNESCO listed Sagarmatha National Park in the list of World Heritage Site in 1979. The number of tourist in the National Park is in an increasing trend in the past. Beginning from almost 3,500 tourists in 1979, the park now welcomes 30,000 visitors every year,and thus tourism has become a major source of living for the local people.

Sagarmatha National Park: Floral and Faunal diversity

Sagarmatha National Park is home to more than 118 species of birds that includes Himalayan monal, red-billed chough, yellow-billed chough, and blood pheasant. It also encompasses a large variety of rare mammals that include musk deer, snow leopard, Himalayan black bear,and Red pandas.  Other species include Tibetan snow cock, pheasant, Himalayan thars, Langur monkeys, and matrens and Himalayan wolves. Since the park is located at the higher altitude, the animals have adapted themselves according to the less oxygen environment. Thick coats and short limbs help to keep them warm and prevent body heat. Some animals like Himalayan black bears go for hibernation during the cold winter days.

The park is also a unique collection of various plants. The lower zone is a forest of brich, juniper, blue pines, firs, bamboo,and rhododendron. Moving upwards, the vegetation is slowed replaced by dwarf plants and shrubs and is limited to lichens and mosses in the higher altitudes.

Kathmandu to Sagarmatha National Park: Distance and Route

The distance between Kathmandu and Sagarmatha National Park is about 135 kilometers. The National Park lies in the north-east of the Kathmandu. There are many options to reach the Sagarmatha National Park from Kathmandu. You can consider any of the following options according to your wish:

  1. Flight to Lukla and a hike of 2 days
  2. Get a bus to Jiri and a hike of 10 days
  3. Flight to Tumlingtar and a hike of 10 days
  4. Bus to Salleri and a hike of 5 days
  5. Fly to Phaplu and then trek of 5 days
  6. Direct helicopter flight to Everest Base Camp, Kala Patthar, Namche Bazaar and other destinations inside the National Park.

Since the National Park lies in the region of Everest Base Camp; the National Park is famous as a place to go for the trek to EBC. Most of the visitors of the Park are found to be looking to trek to EBC or other treks in the region like Gokyo Lakes, Island Peak, and Everest High Passes Treks.

Best time to visit Sagarmatha National Park

A trip to Sagarmatha National Park will be ideal during March- Mid June and Mid-September-Mid December. The time is suitable because during the summer months (June to September) precipitation is very common and during the winter (December to February) the temperature during the day generally falls below 0°C, and heavy snowfall occurs.

Major Attractions of Sagarmatha National Park

Everest Base Camp Trek

The Everest Base Camp trek is the top priority for almost all the visitors in Sagarmatha National Park. The trek to Everest Base Camp is of about two weeks, starts and ends at Lukla which is known as the ‘Gateway to Everest.’ Starting from Lukla, a two-day trek up to Dudh Koshi will lead to Namche Bazaar.  Phakding and Monjo are popular as resting points,and there is the entrance to the Sagarmatha National Park at Monjo. After showing the permits at Jorsale, the trail continues uphill,and Namche Bazaar is where you stand after 3 hours.

Everest Base Camp

A couple of day’s acclimatization in Namche and the trail leads you to the valley of Imja Khola which offers magnificent views of mountains of Lhotse and Everest. A visit to Tengboche monastery is an option for the trekkers from Imja Khola.

Ascending from the Tengboche monastery through the Pangboche and Dingboche, the trek ends. From here about 6-hour walk to Lobuche and next 3 hours hike to Gorak Shep is where you end the trek. Above here one can also trek to Kala Patthar from where trekkers witness the spectacular view of the Mount Everest and several other peaks.

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Gokyo Lakes

Gokyo Lakes are the freshwater lakes in Nepal situated in the Sagarmatha National Park, at an altitude of 4,700 m – 5,000 m. The Gokyo Lakes contains six lakes among which Lake Thonak is the largest. The Gokyo Lake is also a Ramsar Site.

From Namche Bazaar, walking for around 5-6 hours, trekkers reach PhortseThanga (3,500 meters). Continuing up to Dole through the Rhododendron and the herd of mountain goats and musk deer, trekkers reach Luza (4630 m). Following the rocky trail and thorny bushes, trekkers reach Dudh Koshi valley which leads to Machhermo. Gokyo Lake is about 4 hours trek from Machhermo. Climbing through the Chorten ridge enjoying the view of Mt. Kangtega and Cho-Oyu, it reaches to Pangka.


Crossing a bridge follows the first lake named Longpongo (4690 m) where trekkers can observe the Lama footprints in the rock. Taboche is the second lake in the region with an enchanting view of the blue water sheet sparkling in the sun. Next comes, the Dudh Pokhari, the third lake. The Gokyo village stands by this village.

30 minutes up the third lake and trekkers can view the Ngozumpa glacier, the biggest glacier of Nepal. Next comes, the fourth lake Thonak Tsho and the fifth Ngozumpa Tsho, which provide a spectacular view of highest peaks. Cho-you (8153m), Gyachung Kang (7922 m), Everest (8848 m), and Lhotse (8501 m) extend from the west to east, and Mount Makalu stands further way.

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Island Peak

Island Peak also known as Imja Tse is the most popular peak for the trekking in Nepal. The main reason why it has become a favorite trek is that it is suitable for both the new and experienced climbers. Although located at an altitude of 6,189 m, Island Peak offers an amazing climbing experience which is not very challenging technically. Thus, a healthy and physically fit individual can make it up to Island Peak with a little or no experience of climbing.

In fact, the Island Peak is an extension of the ridge coming down off the southern end of the Lhotse Shar. As soon as you conquer the Island Peak, you will be overwhelmed with the same feeling as you are at the top of the world. To learn about the detailed itinerary of Island Peak, visit here.

Island Peak

Everest High Passes

Everest High Passes is an excellent choice for someone who is looking for a challenging trek in Everest Region. One should cross the three high passes namely Kongma La Pass (5535 m), Chola Pass (5420 m) and Renjo La Pass (5340 m) in one trek. The Everest high passes leads you along the less traveled route to Everest Base Camp with challenges like high altitude and rocky terrain. But it also offers trekkers with the magnificent views of Mt. Everest, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Nuptse, Mt. Thamserku, and Mt. Ama Dablam. Also trekkers will experience the lovely Sherpa people, their village and their culture.

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Ama Dablam Base Camp trek

The Ama Dablam Base Camp trek is so designed that it takes you near to the Sherpa village within easy distance from Namche Bazaar. The Ama Dablam Base Camp Trek shares the same trial as of the Everest Base Camp trek until Pangboche. The Ama Dablam Base Camp is a fascinating trek with spectacular views of the Mount Everest and unforgettable scenery of the Ama Dablam base camp.

As soon as you arrive Lukla, you will start your trek to Phakding and then to Namche Bazaar. Taking the first glimpse of the Mt Everest, crossing the suspension bridges and passing through the beautiful pine forest, you will reach Dudh Koshi and then finally up to Phakding. Ascending up from Phakding, trekkers now stand on Namche Bazaar, the gateway to the Everest. Crossing the beautiful rhododendron forest you will now reach to Tengbuche. Along the Sherpa settlement, Debuche is only 15 minutes away from Tengboche. Hiking approximately 2 to 3 hours hike leads to Pangboche which further leads up to Dingboche. From here, one can observe the eye-catching view of the Ama Dablam Mountain.

Ama Dablam Base Camp

The Khumbu Glacier

The Khumbu Glacier is a very exciting place to explore during the trip to Sagarmatha National Park. The glacier is almost 17 km long and is the highest glacier lying at the altitude of 4,900 meters in the Khumbu region of north-east Nepal between Mount Everest and Mount Lhotse-Nuptse ridge. The glacier is followed to the final part of the trail to Everest Base Camp. The Glacier starts in the West Cwm near Everest. There is a large ice fall called the Khumbu Icefall in the Glacier.

Khumbu Glacier

The Khumbu ice fall is terrifying but still a beautiful place when you reach there. The conquering of the ice fall is a real challenge and dangerous adventure. The ice fall is moving continuously with varying speed and sometimes leaving crevasses. Large ice blocks can also be another challenge for the trekkers.

Encounter the Glory of Khumbu Region with Panaromic Views of the Mountains

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Starting your trek early in the morning while it is still dark is a good idea. It is because, once the sun comes up, it is too hot and may dehydrate the climber. The glacier also becomes less stable during the daytime.



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