Nepal is one of the most peaceful, multi-religious countries in the world. Here, we find more than 125 ethnic groups with their own religious cultures, languages and lifestyles. Nepal is the holy land of Lord Pashupatinath and birth-place of Gautam Buddha. Nepal is land of God and Goddess, and one of the sacred spiritual places in the world. The country is home to many pilgrimage sites related to the two predominant religions of Nepal, Hinduism and Buddhism. You are granted a chance to trace back to the life of the founder of Buddhism in Lumbini.
Hindu Pilgrimage ⇓
Kathmandu Durbar Square(Hanuman Dhoka)
The UNESCO world heritage site-Kathmandu Durbar Square is well renowned as Hanuman Dhoka Palace which is Nepal’s most popular site as a historical and cultural heart. The main palace and monuments of around built in medieval age by Malla Dynasty kings. The antique historical palace bears Nepal’s former reminisce of Royal family, traditional culture, authentic architecture and arts as well main festive ceremonial site.
Also at this location, you'll see the Taleju Temple (Temple towering more than 40 meters), Jagannath Temple, Kal Bhairav(God of Wrath), Nautale Durbar, Nasal Chowk, the hall of public audience (Gaddhi Baithak), the big bell, the big drum, statue of the King Pratap Malla in praying gesture (see above left), a 17th Century Kumari (the living Goddess) Temple, Ashok Vinayak(Kathmandu Ganesh and a temple without a filial), the Kasthamandap (which is said to have been built out of a single tree) from which the Kathmandu city got its name and 17th century old stone inscriptions which is written in 15 different languages as well amazing wooden art carvings.
Pashupati Nath Temple
Pashupatinath, one of the holiest of Nepal's Hindu shrines, is dedicated to the god Shiva, "The Destroyer" who, together with Brahma, the Creator, and Vishnu, the Preserver, makes up the Hindu Trinity. Hindu legend claims that Pashupati represents the lord of all animals. Situated amidst a lush green natural setting on the bank of the sacred Bagmati river, the temple, which was built in pagoda style, has a gilded roof and beautifully carved silver doors. Visitors will be permitted to view the temple from the east bank of the Bagmati river, as entrance into the temple is strictly forbidden to all non-Hindus. Pashupatinath is the centre of an annual pilgrimage on the day Shivaratri, which falls in February or March. More than a hundred thousand devotees and pilgrims (many from India) visit this temple and make ceremonial fires every year during Shivaratri. The Arya Ghat, the most sacred funeral ground in the Valley, is located at the base of the temple on the bank of the holy river Bagmati. The holiest shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, Pashupatinath is one of the four most important religious sites in Asia for devotees of Shiva, Built in the 5th Century and later renovated by Malla kings, the site itself is said to have existed from the beginning of the millennium when a Shiva lingam was discovered in the forest.
Dedicated to Bhairav, the God of Terror, the three-storied temple of Bhairavnath has only the head of Bhairav in the inner sanctum. Legend has it that the Bhairav’s head was cut off by a tantric expert in order to keep him in Bhaktapur. Built in pagoda style, the temple is noted for its artistic grandeur and stands adjacent to the famous five-storied Nyatapola Temple.
The unique temple of Bhaktapur, the Nyatapol literally means ‘five storied’ and rises above the city’s landscape as a remarkable landmark. It also has the distinction of having withstood the devastating earthquake of 1933. Dedicated to a tantric goddess, the steps leading up to the temple are flanked by stone sculptures of deities and mythical beasts, each 10 times more powerful than the one immediately below.
It takes its name from the Dattatreya Temple dedicated to a three-headed combination of the Hindu deities Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. This temple is said to have been built from the trunk of a single tree. Near this temple is a monastery with exquisitely carved peacock windows.
Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square is in Lalitpur (Patan) District and consists of an old royal palace amid many temples. This was once the palace of the kings of Patan.The square is an enchanting mélange of palace buildings, artistic courtyards and graceful pagoda temples – a display of Newari architecture that had reached its pinnacle during the reign of the Malla kings. The palace has three main courtyards: the central and the oldest is Mul Chowk. To the west of the complex are a dozen free standing temples of various sizes and built in different styles. Part of the royal palace was turned into a museum for preserving the history of Nepal and its kings, especially the Shah dynasty.
Krishna Mandir(Temple of Krishna)
The magnificent Krishna Temple with its 21 gilded spires, built in 1637, and the Manga Hiti, the sunken stone water spout, found in the palace complex are but a few examples of its opulence. The Krishna Temple, built entirely of stone, is said to be the first specimen of Shikhara-style architecture in Nepal.
Tal Barahi Temple(Lake Temple)
PThe most important religious monument in Pokhara, built almost in the middle of Phewa Lake, this two storied pagoda is dedicated to the manifestation of Ajima, the protectress deity who represents the female force.
Gupteswar Mahadev Cave
Gupteswar Mahadev Cave famous for its religious importance located in the southern end of the city, Chorepatan. This cave has a shrine of Hindu god Shiva. The water from Davis fall flows into this cave.
Baudha Pilgrimage ⇓
Boudha Nath Stupa
Bouddhanath is one of the largest and most magnificent Buddhist monuments in the Himalayan Kingdom. At 36m height (118 feet), it is said to contain relics of the mortal Buddha. Buddhist pilgrims, Tibetans for the most part, visit it to sound their religious beliefs and perspectives. The stupa is similar to that of Swayambhu, having three Mandala-style platforms. A Tibetan festival called Bya-La is celebrated in Bauddhanath every twelve years on the first full moon of the Year of the Bird.
Boudhanath epitomizes Tibetan Buddhism. It lies 8 kms East of Kathmandu and was built by Licchavis King Man Dev in the 5th century A. D. Its colossal and ancient stupa is regarded as one of the world’s biggest stupa and has been built on a stepped octagonal base and inset with alcoves representing Buddha and his teachings. After Chinese invasion in 1959, Tibetans in thousands came to this famous Buddhist Chaitya and energized the stupa. The stupa is surrounded by various temples or 'gompas'. The atmosphere of the whole place lightens up with zest as fragrance of incense drifts through the air. Chanting of monks and creaking of prayer wheels can be heard while strolling around the base. It is one of the prime sites for pilgrims and tourists in the country.
Seto Gumba (White Monastery)
Seto Gumba (WHITE Monastery) which is also known as Druk Amitabh Monastery. I Situated at calm and peaceful environment at the top seto gumba is really a nice cultural site. A monastery which belongs to ‘nuns’ (female monks) is opened for general public visit on SUNDAY only.
Swayambhu literally means 'Self-Existent One.' Swayambhunath is believed to have been established more than 2,500 years ago. According to translations from an inscription dating back to 460 A.D.. The most popular as a monkey temple (Swayambhunath Stupa) lies 3 km away from west of Kathmandu on small hill. It is also most visited Buddhists monument and holy shrine for both Hindu and Buddhists which was built by King Manadeva first. In 14th century Mughals from Indian sub continent attacked the Kathmandu valley and destroyed most of the historical monuments. Later it again renovated and during Malla Dynasty’s king Pratap Malla in 17th century enhanced the architecture also added rocky steps to get to the Stupa. At present day, the Stupa is a solid hemisphere of brick and clay, underneath an arrogant conical spire capped by a pinnacle of bronze and copper and has Lord Buddha’s eyes adorned on all the four sides of the spire base.
The mound represents the four elements of earth, fire, wind and water. The 13 gilded rings of the spire symbolize the 13 steps of the ladder leading to Nirvana, the final salvation. The shrine is bedecked in colorful prayer flags. Pilgrims and tourists pass to Swayambhumath’s holy premises through a path of 365 steps. Close to the stupa is the Dewa Dharma monastery, noted for bronaze icon of the Buddha and traditional Tibetan paintings. Besides from the hill top travelers can enjoy wonderful views of entire Kathmanadu valley. Behind the hilltop is a temple dedicated to Manjusri or Saraswati - the Goddess of learning. Chaityas, statues and shrines of Buddhist and Hindu deities fill the stupa complex.
Hiranya Varna Mahabihar(Golden Temple)
Dating from the 12th century, the three-storied shrine, also known as the Golden Temple, houses an image of the Buddha inside the courtyard or Kwa Bahal. The monastery is known for its exceptionally fine wood-carvings and repousse work. It is a five-minute walk west and north from the northern end of Durbar Square.
Siddhartha Gautama, the Lord Buddha, was born in 623 B.C. in the famous gardens of Lumbini, which soon became a place of pilgrimage.The Shakya prince and the ultimate Buddha, the Enlightened One, is the pilgrimage destination of the world’s millions of people faithful to all schools of Buddhism.UNESCO lists this nativity site, identified by Indian Emperor Ashoka’s commemorative pillar as a World Heritage Site. The main attraction of Lumbini remains the Sacred Garden which spread over 8sq km, possessing all the treasures of the historic area. The Mayadevi temple is the main attraction for pilgrims and archaeologists alike.
Most popular of them are- Peace Pagoda, Lumbini Garden, Maya Devi Temple, Tara Foundation, World China Temple, Thai Monastery, Burmese (Myanmar) Temple, Nepal Buddha Temple and Dharmaswami Buddhist monastery are the major attractions of Lumbini.