Not too long ago, UNESCO declared Lumbini a world heritage site, effectively making it the tenth UNESCO heritage site in Nepal. This marked yet another milestone for the Nepalese people after a slew of cultural wonders like the Sagarmatha National Park, the Chitwan National Park, and those in the Kathmandu Valley became internationally acclaimed. What is even more spectacular is that seven of these sites lie in the Kathmandu Valley itself! Now, in addition to these sites being a sight for sore eyes, their proximity from each other also serves in cementing Nepal as an idealistic travel getaway.
The most well-known natural wonder in Nepal that finds its name on every traveler’s tongue is Mount Everest located in the Sagarmatha National Park. Having been declared a heritage site in 1979, this park has witnessed a staggering number of tourists pour through its gates every year. While Mount Everest is certainly the cherry on top of the cake and the primary reason for this park’s popularity, it cannot take sole credit for this park being crowned a historical masterpiece. When I say this, I refer to the multitude of exotic species and mountainous gorges that played a crucial role in highlighting this park as a UNESCO-approved wonder. Hosting nearly 118 kinds of birds, endangered species like the snow leopard and red panda, and hilly peaks towering higher than 6000 meters, Sagarmatha National Park boasts some of God’s finest creations. Visiting it in the spring and autumn months especially will truly enhance your experience.
Chitwan National Park comes next on a long list of breathtaking destinations. Situated at the foothills of the Himalayas and home to some of the few remaining Asiatic rhinos and Bengal tigers, this park is a beloved landmark which earned a UNESCO stamp of approval in 1973. Due to it being one of the last surviving ecosystems of the Terai region and a habitat for so many endangered species, efforts towards conservation of this park have been taking place since the late 1800’s. In an impressive move, the government deployed the army to guard the park’s species and its local communities in 1975. In addition, the passing of the Chitwan National Parks Regulation Act in 1974 ensured the people living in the buffer zone were able to contribute towards conservation efforts and avail of socio-economic benefits. As of now, the park boasts an impressive number of birds (approximately 544 species), amphibians (around 56 varieties), and a bevy of sal, rosewood, and axel wood trees. The presence of the local Tharu community is also a treat for visiting families, photographers, and travel enthusiasts.
Lumbini, one of the recently pronounced heritage sites believed to be the birthplace of Lord Buddha, is a renowned pilgrimage location in Nepal. Thought to be lost for many years, it was rediscovered in 1896 by European and British archaeologists. After proper restoration, Lumbini is now famous for offering a series of religious retreats, courses, and meditative exercises.
Last but not least a feast awaits one’s eyes in the form of the Kathmandu Valley, the house of seven UNESCO declared heritage sites. With monuments revealing extraordinary architecture and locals offering a variety of custom-made products, a visit to Kathmandu Valley is a must. Some of the main attractions include the Bhaktapur Durbar Square, the Patan Durbar Square, and the Kathmandu Durbar Square containing a surplus of stupas, medieval era structures and pottery museums is a place teeming with crowds year after year. Religious centers like the temples of Pashupatinath, Swayambhunath, Boudhanath, and ChanguNarayan, sees hordes of trekkers, eager to experience the sanctity of the location and bear witness to the monuments’ stunning craftsmanship. Most of these buildings are reminiscent of 15th to 18th century artistry and hold special meaning for Buddhists and Hindu devotees.