Kathmandu Valley

Kathmandu Valley
N27 42 14.22 E85 18 30.888
Date of Inscription: 1979
Minor boundary modification inscribed year: 2006
Criteria: (iii)(iv)(vi)
Property : 167.37 ha
Buffer zone: 70.29 ha
Ref: 121bis

The cultural heritage of the Kathmandu Valley is illustrated by seven groups of monuments and buildings which display the full range of historic and artistic achievements for which the Kathmandu Valley is world famous. The seven include the Durbar Squares of Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu), Patan and Bhaktapur, the Buddhist stupas of Swayambhu and Bauddhanath and the Hindu temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan.

Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage property is inscribed as seven Monument Zones. These monument zones are the Durbar squares or urban centres with their palaces, temples and public spaces of the three cities of Kathmandu (Hanuman Dhoka), Patan and Bhaktapur, and the religious ensembles of Swayambhu, Bauddhanath, Pashupati and Changu Narayan. The religious ensemble of Swayambhu includes the oldest Buddhist monument (a stupa) in the Valley; that of Bauddhanath includes the largest stupa in Nepal; Pashupati has an extensive Hindu temple precinct, and Changu Narayan comprises traditional Newari settlement, and a Hindu temple complex with one of the earliest inscriptions in the Valley from the fifth century AD. The unique tiered temples are mostly made of fired brick with mud mortar and timber structures. The roofs are covered with small overlapping terracotta tiles, with gilded brass ornamentation. The windows, doorways and roof struts have rich decorative carvings. The stupas have simple but powerful forms with massive, whitewashed hemispheres supporting gilded cubes with the all-seeing eternal Buddha eyes.

As Buddhism and Hinduism developed and changed over the centuries throughout Asia, both religions prospered in Nepal and produced a powerful artistic and architectural fusion beginning at least from the 5th century AD, but truly coming into its own in the three hundred year period between 1500 and 1800 AD. These monuments were defined by the outstanding cultural traditions of the Newars, manifested in their unique urban settlements, buildings and structures with intricate ornamentation displaying outstanding craftsmanship in brick, stone, timber and bronze that are some of the most highly developed in the world.

Criterion (iii): The seven monument ensembles represent an exceptional testimony to the traditional civilization of the Kathmandu Valley. The cultural traditions of the multi ethnic people who settled in this remote Himalayan valley over the past two millennia, referred to as the Newars, is manifested in the unique urban society which boasts of one of the most highly developed craftsmanship of brick, stone, timber and bronze in the world. The coexistence and amalgamation of Hinduism and Buddhism with animist rituals and Tantrism is considered unique.

Criterion (iv): The property is comprised of exceptional architectural typologies, ensembles and urban fabric illustrating the highly developed culture of the Valley, which reached an apogee between 1500 and 1800 AD. The exquisite examples of palace complexes, ensembles of temples and stupas are unique to the Kathmandu Valley.

Criterion (vi): The property is tangibly associated with the unique coexistence and amalgamation of Hinduism and Buddhism with animist rituals and Tantrism. The symbolic and artistic values are manifested in the ornamentation of the buildings, the urban structure and often the surrounding natural environment, which are closely associated with legends, rituals and festivals.

Suggested base:

Kathmandu is the largest city and capital of Nepal and the namesake of the Kathmandu Valley. Once thought to be the fabled and inaccessible Shangri-La, Kathmandu is growing spot catering to a wide range of holiday types and budgets. As a result of considerable urban growth in recent decades, it is now part of one continuous urban area together with Patan to the south. According to a census conducted in 2011, Kathmandu metropolis alone has 2.5 million inhabitants, and the agglomerate has a population of more than 3 million inhabitants. The metropolitan city area is 50.67 square kilometres (19.56 sq mi) and has a population density of 3000 per km² and 17000 per km square in city. The city stands at an elevation of approximately 1,400 metres (4,600 ft) in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley of central Nepal. [read more]

Bharatpur is a city in central-south Nepal. Located in Chitwan Valley, it includes the former community of Narayangarh (variation Narayanghat. Bharatpur is the district headquarters of the Chitwan District. It is the gateway to Chitwan Jungle National Park and the various resorts and tourists areas associated with it. with narayani’s boundary to nawaparasi. It is located at the center of Mahendra (east west) highway and Kathmandu – Birgunj (North-South) road corridor. The proximity of this city from Kathmandu (146 km), Pokhara (126 km), Butwal (114 km), Birganj (128 km), Hetauda (78 km) and Gorkha (67 km). In addition to good road access, Bharatpur Airport just to the east of the city has regular daily air services to Pokhara and Kathmandu. Not much to see in Bharatpur itself but it can be used as base for visiting the Chitwan National Park via Sauraha. [read more]

Pokhara is the third largest city in Nepal with about 350,000 people in 2013. It is the starting point for most of the treks in the Annapurna area. It is considered by some to be the most beautiful place in the world. Get in by bus from Kathmandu. Tourist buses (NPR700-800, 6-7h) and crowded local buses/microbuses (NPR400-600, 6-7h) travel the 200 km journey between Kathmandu and Pokhara almost every 15 minutes starting at 07:30 until late afternoon. Night buses are available, but the ride is painful. Greenline operates a convenient bus every morning between the popular tourist areas of Thamel in Kathmandu and Lakeside in Pokhara (USD20, lunch included). The road is winding with many switchbacks but offers wonderful views of hills and rural Nepalese lifestyle. [read more]

7 replies »

  1. At the Ason Market, we can see all the ways the local people live. The hustle and bustle gives us an idea about the market place during medieval time. We see people selling all types of ingredients used for religious and ritual activities, fresh vegetables, fruits, dry fishes, dry meats, shops selling typical Nepalese clothes and people using old houses and also the temples as shops. This is where you will get a feeling of what it’s like for people in Kathmandu.


  2. Swayambhunath Stupa. Nepal’s most significant Buddhist site is home to thousands of prayer flags and hundreds of curious macaques, earning it’s nickname, “Monkey Temple.”

    This stupa can be admired from many points in Kathmandu Valley, as it is the largest. I had spent days enjoying its place on the city horizon, before trekking its steps to realize the most stunning view of this structure was from its peak, overlooking virtually every point in Kathmandu. I highly recommend the walk to the top, as you’re able to view Dewa Dharma Monastery, where a gorgeous bronze Buddha sits, and the gold Vajra (thunderbolt)— as well as gain an irrevocable sensation of your place in the world.


  3. A visit to Patan is absolutely mandatory for first time visitors. It is nothing less than an architectural treasure


  4. Bhaktapur has the best-preserved palace courtyards and is the oldest city centre in Nepal. This is the most beautiful, open museum type Durbar, holding exciting and the finest examples of medieval excellence. I was captivated to see different palaces, courtyards, royal bath, sculptures, pagodas, Shikhara style temples and Buddhist monastery displaying rich culture and wood, metal and stone artworks. Cultural life is proudly displayed all over ~ along narrow alleys artisans weave cloth and chisel timber; squares are filled with drying pots; and locals gather in the courtyards to bathe, collect water, play cards and socialise.


  5. The best place to catch a glimpse of everyday life is at Patan Durbar Square – the heart of the old city. See old Newari men wearing traditional Dhaka hats lined up on a bench, street vendors selling prayer lights and marigolds, and women gathered together to knit. There is no better place than this public space to soak in the eclectic sights and boisterous chatter of the locals.


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