Lumbini in Nepal’s Rupandehi District is regarded as the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. It is said that it is here that Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Gautama in 563 BCE. Today, Lumbini attracts a large number of tourists including Buddhist pilgrims and hosts many temples, monasteries, and museums as tourist or pilgrim attractions. The Puskarini or Holy Pond of Lumbini is claimed to be the place where Queen Mayadevi took a dip before Gautama was born and it was also the place where Gautama had his first bath. Recognizing the cultural and historical importance of Lumbini, UNESCO inscribed it as a World Heritage Site in 1997.
9. Chitwan National Park
The Chitwan National Park, Nepal’s first national park, established in 1973, hosts a rich diversity of wildlife including charismatic megafauna like the Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, one-horned rhinoceros, the Indian leopard, and a number of other species of flora and fauna. Recognizing the importance of the national park in wildlife conservation, UNESCO recognized it as a World Heritage Site in 1984. Tourists visiting the Chitwan National Park enjoy the wildlife safaris and birdwatching tours offered here. It is thus one of the best places to visit in Nepal.
8. Pashupatinath Temple
A visit to Nepal is never complete without a visit to the sacred Hindu temple of Lord Pashupatinath, the national deity of Nepal. The temple complex is centuries old and features a collection of temples, sculptures, inscriptions, ashrams, and other aspects related to a Hindu holy site. The temple is located on the banks of the Bagmati River. The entire temple complex offers tourists an insight into the religious life of the Hindus, their rituals, and culture. Hindu pilgrims from Nepal and neighboring India flock to the temple throughout the year.
7. Boudhanath Stupa
The Boudhanath Stupa is a sacred Buddhist site located about 11 km away from the Kathmandu city. It is claimed that the remains of Kassapa Buddha are entombed within the stupa. The stupa dominates the skyline of the region and is surrounded by several monasteries hosting Buddhist monks of Nepal and Tibet. Boudhanath is located on the ancient trade route that connected Tibet to Nepal and for centuries it was visited by Tibetan merchants who stopped here to offer prayers and relax after their long and tiring journey through the mountains. Today, a tour of the Boudhanath Stupa offers tourists a spiritual, historical, and cultural experience. The site has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
Pokhara is a picturesque city, the largest by area in Nepal. It is at a distance of about 200 km to the west of Kathmandu. Since three of the world’s ten highest mountains (the Manaslu, Annapurna I, and Dhaulagiri) are located near this city, Pokhara serves as the base of many mountaineers and adventurers who begin their journeys to these mountains from Pokhara. The city also houses several medieval era temples, museums, and viewpoints from where spectacular scenery of the surrounding mountains, valleys, rivers, and lakes can be photographed. The Phewa Lake is also another tourist attraction near the city.
5. Changu Narayan Temple
The Changu Narayan Temple is an ancient Hindu temple located atop a hill in the Bhaktapur District of Nepal. A forest of champak trees surrounds the temple which is considered to be the country’s oldest temple. The Changu Narayan Temple, dedicated to the Hindu God Lord Vishnu, is famous for its beautiful architecture. It is built in the traditional Nepali style and is rich in sculptures and arts. The walls, pillars, entrance gates, and other parts of the temple bear elaborate carvings. The entrances feature life-size sculptures of animal pairs like lions, elephants, etc. Stone pillars bear Sanskrit inscriptions that are ages old. The Changu Narayan Temple is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nepal.
4. The Durbar Squares Of Nepal
Nepal hosts three durbar squares, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Bhaktapur Durbar Square is located in the Bhaktapur town of Nepal that is located about 13 km to the east of Kathmandu. The major attractions here include the 55 Window Palace, the Batsala Temple, Bhupatindra Malla’s Statue, Nyatapola Temple, the Lion’s Gate, the Golden Gate, and the Mini Pashupati Temple.
Many buildings of the Kathmandu Durbar Square suffered damage caused by the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. The square was famous for hosting a number of buildings of historical importance, many of which collapsed during the earthquake. Several temples, courtyards, palaces, and other architecture built over the centuries are present in this Durbar Square.
The Patan Durbar Square in Lalitpur is an excellent representation of Newar architecture. The ancient royal palace of the Durbar Square is a special attraction here. The palace served as the residence of the region’s Malla Kings. Other historical and architectural attractions here include old Newari houses, temples, and idols.
The Swayambhunath is one of Nepal’s oldest religious sites. According to ancient texts, the site was established in about the 5th century CE by the ruler of the region. Over the years, the religious site grew in size and importance and attracted not only ordinary pilgrims but also monarchs of the ancient kingdoms. The Swayambhunath is revered by both Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims. The main feature of the site is the Swayambhunath stupa. It is a large white dome topped with a cubical structure with pentagonal torans at each side beyond which are thirteen tiers arranged in a conical structure with the Gajur at the top. The eyes and eyebrows of the Buddha are painted on the cubical structure in all directions. The torans feature engraved statues. The entire structure symbolizes the journey of a person from the worldly life to enlightenment. Several shrines, monasteries, shops, restaurants, and hotels surround the Swayambhunath stupa.
Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, has lots to offer to all types of tourists. Several natural, cultural, and historical attractions are located in and around Kathmandu. The city hosts a number of hotels restaurants, and shopping centers. Seven casinos are also present here. Kathmandu was ranked as one of the top seven upcoming travel destinations in the world by Tripadvisor.
1. Trek To The Everest Base Camp
The world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest, is located in Nepal. Although only a very few can make the arduous and difficult trek to the top of the Mount Everest, many more can make the less challenging but adventurous trek to the Everest Base Camp. There are two base camps located at the opposite sides of the Mount Everest. The South Base Camp is located in Nepal while the North Base Camp is in Tibet. The base camps allow Everest climbers to acclimatize themselves to the high altitude air.
About the Author
Oishimaya is an Indian native, currently residing in Kolkata. She has earned her Ph.D. degree and is presently engaged in full-time freelance writing and editing. She is an avid reader and travel enthusiast and is sensitively aware of her surroundings, both locally and globally. She loves mingling with people of eclectic cultures and also participates in activities concerning wildlife conservation.
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