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Nepal

Main attractions

Mount Everest and stars, Nepal
Mount Everest and stars / Sam Hawley, Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

Most people at first associate Nepal with the breathtaking scenery of Himalaya and above all - with the world's tallest mountain - Mount Everest. But there is much more than this:

  • Historical cities with ornate local architecture. Few can imagine how beautiful, ornate and rich is the architecture and art of the many local cultures. For centuries there have been created such wonders as old cities of Basantpur, Bhaktapur or Madhyapur Thimi with street network which might be 5,000 years old.
  • Holy Buddhist sites. In the present-day Nepal lived one of the most important persons of all times - Gautama Budha and here are located some of the most interesting Buddhist sites - Lumbini, Swayambhunath, Boudhanath and others.

Very special place is a group of more than 10,000 man made caves in the Upper Mustang Valley - Muktinakh Cave Temples and many others. This is one of the possible places of the mythical Shambala.

Natural landmarks

Caves

  • Chobhar Caves - Bagmati. Network of caves, length of explored passages is 1,250 m. Cave is partly inundated.
  • Siddha Gufa (Suddah Gufa) - Gandaki. Almost half a kilometre long cave, with enormous cave room, stalactites and stalagmites.
Rupse Falls, Nepal
Rupse Falls / Ganesh Paudel, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Waterfalls

  • Hyatung Falls - Kosi. 319 m tall waterfall.
  • Patale Chhango (Davis Falls) - Gandaki. Spectacular waterfall which disappears underground for some 150 meters.
  • Pokali Falls - Sagarmatha. Beautiful, approximately 130 m tall waterfall with two large cascades and smaller cascades.
  • Rupse Falls - Dhaulagiri. Some 300 m tall waterfall with many cascades, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Nepal.
The mysterious hand in Pangboche Monastery, Nepal
The mysterious hand in Pangboche Monastery - before it disappeared / Image most likely was taken by Peter Byrne in 1958. Non-free historical image, believed to be in fair use as it is in low resolution.

Cryptozoology

  • Bardia Elephants - Bheri. In this virgin Terai forest lives a population of weird elephants. These animals are larger than any known Asian elephants and have unusual appearance, making them more similar to mammooths.
  • Khumjung Monastery - Sagarmatha. In this monastery is located a purported scalp of yeti. Research shows that it is a fake made of Himalayan serow skin.
  • Pangboche Monastery and Pangboche Hand - Sagarmatha. In this monastery was located a hand of dead, unknown creature, a hominid which was not human. Parts of hand were stolen in 1959, the remaining parts disappeared in 1999.

Other natural landmarks

  • Kali Gandaki Gorge - Dhawalagiri. Deepest gorge in the world, up to 5,571 m deep, if the bounding Annapurna summit is considered as a part of this gorge.
  • Mount Everest - Sagarmatha and Tibet, Shigatse. Earth's highest mountain, 8,848 m high.
  • Pakari Brikshya (Pakad, Falakasha, Devdaha banyan) - Lumbini. Enormous, beautiful weeping fig (Ficus benjamina). Circumference of its trunk is approximately 16 - 20 m, height - approximately 20 m but the width of crown - more than 30 m.

Man made landmarks

Pillar of Asoka in Tilaurakot, Nepal
Pillar of Asoka in Tilaurakot / Rajeev Kumar, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.5.

Archaeological sites

  • Bhurti Temples - Bheri. Group of 22 ancient structures - devals. These unusual temples in Khasa style were built in 1409 AD.
  • Sinja Valley - Karnali. Ruins of the ancient Khasi capital in the 12th - 14th century. Settlement was surrounded by massive monolithic stone columns, city has underground water supply system, there were many temples. In a cliffs near the city have been found some of the earliest written examples of Nepali.
  • Tilaurakot (Kapilavastu) - Lumbini. Remnants of prehistoric city, most likely place where was born and grew up Gautama Buddha.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Nepal
Bhaktapur Durbar Square / Jerome Bon, Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

Historical cities and towns

  • Basantpur Durbar Square - Bagmati. Historical core of Basantpur - square in front of palace, surrounded by beautiful architecture. This royal city has developed since the 3rd century AD. Both royal palaces were built in the 10th century and have been rebuilt numerous times. In square is located also Kumari Chowk - gilded cage which contains Raj Kumari - girl which is selected through a mysterious process and is embodiment of Durga - Hindu godess. Heavily damaged during the earthquake in April 25, 2015.
  • Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Bagmati. Historical core zone of Bhaktapur, former capital of Bhaktapur Kingdom. This old city area contains many gorgeous buildings.
  • Khokan - Bagmati. Traditional Newari village which has been preserved that well that represents a kind of living museum. Here is extracted mustard oil with traditional techniques.
  • Kirtipur - Bagmati. Ancient city, centre of Newar culture. History of the city starts in 1099 AD and here have been preserved many valuable monuments of archtiecture.
  • Lo Manthang - Dhaulagiri. Walled medieval city high in Himalaya (3,840 m). Founded in 1380, many original structures survive up to this day.
  • Madhyapur Thimi - Bagmati. This town may be up to 5000 years old. Street network has a regular grid layout which has very similar dimensions to the street network in the cities if Ancient Indus civilization - Mohenjo-daro and Sirkap in Pakistan, as well as Patan in Nepal.
  • Panauti - Bagmati. Historical city which has been preserved throughout the centuries without notable changes. In the city are located numerous temples, the oldest from the 13th century. City is an important centre of culture up to this day.
  • Patan Durbar Square - Bagmati, Lalitpur. Gorgeous central part of historical city, former capital city of Malla. Floor of square is tiled with red bricks and square is surrounded by ornate buildings. Most of current buildings are from the 17th century, but the history of this ancient town is much longer. Here are found 55 larger temples and 136 interesting courtyards. Heavily damaged during the earthquake in April 25, 2015.
  • Sankhu - Bagmati. Ancient, well preserved town which was founded in the 2nd century AD.
  • Tansen - Lumbini. Historical Newar city with well preserved central part, former capital of Magars. Development of city started in the 11th century AD.
Nuwakot Palace, Nepal
Nuwakot Palace / Abhishek Singh, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Palaces

  • 55 Window Palace - Bagmati, Bhaktapur. Beautiful royal palace, built in 1427 and rebuilt in 1754 by the last king of Bhaktapur. Entrance in palace leads through The Golden Gate (Lu Dhowka) - very ornate, gold plated gate.
  • Hanuman Dhoka - Bagmati, Basantpur. Royal palace - group of outstanding buildings. Oldest part is from the 16th century, palace was used by royal family until 1886. Contains such interesting buildings as Basantpur Tower with nine storeys and erotic images carved on its struts, Panch Mukhi Hanuman Temple with unique design and many other impressive structures.
  • Gorkha Palace - Gandaki. Old royal palace (oldest parts built in the 15th century or earlier) on the top of mountain, former capital of lands in the central part of present-day Nepal.
  • Nuwakot Palace - Bagmati. Fortified hilltop palace complex, built in the 18th century in Malla style. Complex includes several temples.
Man made caves in Upper Mustang Valley, Nepal
Man made caves in Upper Mustang Valley / Grace, Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

Buddhist sites

  • Boudhanath - Bagmati, Kathmandu. One of largest spherical stupas in world, it is also one of holiest Buddhist sites in the region and was initially built in the 6th - 7th century.
  • Lumbini - Lumbini. One of the holiest sites for Buddhists - location where Gautama Buddha lived, with the sacred Bodhi tree, Shakya Tank, Asokan pillar (sometimes around 245 BC), gardens, remnants of ancient monasteries and stupas.
  • Maya Devi Temple - Lumbini. Main temple at Lumbini - birthplace of Gautama Buddha. Site contains remnants of ancient tree shrine which is dated before 550 BC - the oldest Buddhist shrine (or pre-Buddhist shrine?) in the world. Above this structure stand later brick shrine from the 3rd century BC. This could be the site of sacred tree - important feature in Buddhism.
  • Muktinath cave temples and other rock shelters of Upper Mustang Valley - Dhaulagiri, Mustang Valley. Ritseling cave has exquisite cave paintings from the 12th - 14th centuries, similar to paintings in Ajanta Caves. In nearby caves have been been discovered Tibetan Bön manuscripts and also at least 2 thousand years old burials. In total in Mustang valley are some 10,000 man made cave shelters and temples.
  • Nigrodharama (Kudan) - Lumbini. Site in former banyan grove where Buddha resided after his Enlightenment. Now the site contains remnants of three ancient Buddhist stupas.
  • Ramagrama - Lumbini. The only undisturbed stupa with the relics of Buddha. Constructed in the 6th century BC and extended in the later times.
  • Swayambhunath - Bagmati. One of holiest Buddhist sites in the region, it contains an enormous stupa and a group of shrines and temples. It was founded in the beginning of the 5th century.
Changu Narayan, Nepal
Changu Narayan / Stefan Krasowski, Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

Hindu temples

  • Batsala Temple - Bagmati, Bhaktapur. Very ornate Hindu temple with enormous bell from 1737 - when it rings, all dogs in this part of the city are barking.
  • Changu Narayan - Bagmati. Beautiful Hindu temple, considered to be the oldest temple in Nepal, sacred place since the 3rd century AD or earlier. Beautiful temple contains art values from the 5th and 12th centuries, including stone pillar with inscription from the 5th century.
  • Janaki Mandir (Ram Janaki Temple) - Janakpur. One of the biggest temples in Nepal, with unusual and impressive architecture. Constructed in 1898.
  • Kasthamandap - Bagmati, Kathmandu. One of most important shrines in Nepal, which gave its name to Kathmandu. Three storied pagoda-style building was constructed in the early 16th century from a wood of a single tree.
  • Nyatapola Temple - Bagmati, Bhaktapur. Ornate pagoda-style Hindu temple, built in 1702. Pagoda has five floors, each with its own roof. Temple is very ornate and contains important art values.
  • Pashupatinath Temple - Bagmati, Kathmandu. Largest and most sacred Shiva temple in the world. First temple here was established in the 5th century AD.
  • Patan Krishna Mandir - Bagmati, Lalitpur. Beautiful temple, built in 1637. Temple is very ornate, with 21 golden pinnacles.
Budhanilkantha Vishnu Statue, Nepal
Budhanilkantha Vishnu Statue / Sundar1, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Statues

  • Budhanilkantha Vishnu Statue - Bagmati. Large, very interesting and intricate stone carving of Vishnu. Statue is 5 m long and lying in water tank, partly submerged. Age of statue is not known but it is very old.
  • Kailashnath Mahadev Statue - Bagmati. 44 m tall Shiva statue, the tallest in the world. Built in 2011.

List of described attractions by zones

Bagmati
ArrowPatan Durbar SquareCities and towns, Ancient cities and towns
Bheri
Dhawalagiri
Gandaki
Janakpur
Karnali
Kosi
Lumbini
ArrowPakari BrikshyaTrees
Mahakali
Mechi
Narayani
Rapti
Sagarmatha
Seti

Map of Nepal

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