A nation is recognized through its achievement of the past and present. The past achievement of nations which are survive the at present fall under the realm of cultural heritage. Thus the cultural heritage is that item of culture which is inherited by the posterity (all future generation) collectively. Heritage is tradition that inherits from one generation to another. Culture is manmade product or social achievement and it is created and developed by the ancestors and inherited from them is called cultural heritage. We are the successors of a rich cultural heritage, created and left by our ancestors in different walks of life.

Nepalese cultural heritage is not only one of the most ancient but also one of the most extensive and varied. All the tangible and intangible cultural achievements created by our ancestors are taken as the property and identity of our nation and some of heritages are listed in the world heritage also. Temples, monuments, monasteries, forts, sculptures, images, manner, inscriptions, customs, rituals, living style, music, dance, dress, etc., which are created by human are included in the realm of cultural heritage of Nepal. Changunaryan, Bhaktapur durbar square, Pashupatinath, Swyambhunath, lumbini, etc are the major cultural heritages of Nepal.

Major cultural heritage of Nepal

Bhaktapur Durbar Square: -

Bhaktapur Durbar square is an important cultural heritage of Nepal. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the monumental treasure of Bhaktapur as well as of Nepal. Bhaktapur durbar square is also listed as a world heritage by UNESCO for its rich culture, wood, metal, and stone work arts. Bhaktapur Durbar Square is dotted with many courtyards, royal buildings, stone spouts and temples dedicated to different gods and goddesses. It is medieval period gifted property our generation and it was the administrative center of the past. Mul (main) Chowk, the main courtyard of the Durbar Square is the oldest part which is still surviving. The courtyard is made in 1324 AD. Most of the monuments located in and around Bhaktapur Durbar square were constructed during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Enriched with the specimens of richest art and architecture, which in course of time, the Durbar Square appears to have lost many of its splendid heritage and some are now left. Some of the lost and existing heritage of Bhaktapur Durbar Square are as follows:

  • Chaukot Durbar: - It was the fort like palace with four corners for the defensive purpose. Jagajyoti Malla built this Durbar embracing some courtyards particularly Bhandarkhal chowk. This palace was lost in the earthquake of 1990 BS.
  • Basantapur Durbar: - Basantapur Durbar was one of the eminent palace of Bhaktapur Durbar Square. It was built by the king Jagat Prakash Malla (1644-1673AD). Later Bhupatindra Malla seemed to have beautified this Durbar in 1707 AD. Affixing south facing entrance comprising a pair of massive stone-lions and goddesses Ugrachandi Bagawoti and god Bhairav on either side. It was deserted during the earthquake of 1990 BS. The temple of Taleju is another heritage of Durbar Square which was built by Dewal Devei the queen of Harisingha Deva. Another beautiful property of Durbar square is the Temple of Yakshewor Mahadev which is constructed by the Yakshya Malla.
  • Pachapannajhyale Durbar: - Pachapannajhyale Durbar is one of the most world widely famous Durbar having fifty five windows in a row. It is the masterpiece of wood art and as well as famous for the world class wall painting. It has now been reconstructed and is now a well preserved Durbar. Bhupatindra Mall constructed the building of the grand palace with ninety nine courtyards and fifty five windows. In the palace the different stories narrated with some painting the main episode of Ramayan and Mahabharat.
  • Lun-dhwaka (Golden gate): - Golden gate is another heritage of Bhaktapur Durbar Square which is made by Ranjeet Malla, the last king of Bhaktapur. It is the masterpiece of art work. Locally it is known as the Lun- Dhwaka. Golden gate is the main entrance of the Bhaktapur Rajdurbar complex. The gate was dedicated to the goddess Taleju, the lineage deity of the Malla rulers. In fact its artistic beauty has attracted the attention of many scholarly foreigners even to this day. Percy Brown had praised the Golden gate in 1912 A.D. as the great work adding ‘wonderful doorway ’‘the richest piece of art work in the whole kingdom’. E. Alexander Powel in 1929 A.D. became so spellbound viewing the beauty that he acclaimed ‘ of surpassing beauty under any condition, the best time to see the Golden Gate is in the late afternoon when the full force of the sun bursts upon it like a bomb from the west.
  • Nyatapola: - it is another remarkable cultural heritage relating to architecture is the It is the tallest pagoda style temple of Nepal. It is the tallest multi-tiered pagoda temple of Nepal. The construction-work of this temple was completed within eight month. The then contemporary records, which are now preserved in the National Archives, are testimony to this fact. It was built in 1702 A.D. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Siddhilaxmi. Because if these art and architectures, it listed in world heritage by the UNESCO. The main chowk of Durbar square are Mul Chowk, Bhairav Chowk, Malati chowk, Siddhi Chowk, Kumari Chwok etc.
  • Changunarayan: Changynarayan is another important cultural heritage of Nepal. Some of the best preserved, eight to twelve century stone sculptures depicting Hindu themes in the valley can be found in the compound of Changunarayan. This is the site of the oldest inscription so far discovered in the valley and thus the first historical document of Nepal.  Vishnu Vishvarupa is a universal or cosmic form of Lord Vishnu. This is the highly theatrical representation of a phantasmagoria (Constantly changing medley of real or imagined image) in which Vishnu is wearing all forms and is universal. Like any vishvarupa icon, which is occasionally assumed by major goals, Vishnu has many heads and arms. In lower part of the composition, Vishnu Ananta Shayin is first shown in a sleep of concentration, on the snake of eternity. Having risen from the cosmic ocean he is shown in all his glory, supported by his consort Laxmi and two Nagas. God, Goddesses and semi-deities offer homage.  On the Vishnu sides Garuda and elephants symbolize the four directions. Near Vishnu’s Upper hands there are the four small images of Indra, god of heaven, Varuna the god of sky, Kuber, the god of wealth and Yama the god of death. The inscription includes a date namely 336 Shakya, corresponding to 464 AD. The inscription seems to have been erected by the King Manadeva. Near the inscribed pillar there is a celebrated huge statue of GARUDA, the mythical bird and the carrier of Lord Vishnu-Narayan. The Changunarayan temple is one of the eight cultural heritage structures cited by UNESCO.

Pashupatinath Area

Pashupatinath is another cultural heritage of Nepali society. Pashupatinath Temple is temple of Lord Shiva and is the holiest place for Hindus. The sacred temple lies on the banks of sacred Bagmati River. It has two tired roof and four silver doors. Devotees from all over the world come here to pay their homage to lord Shiva. Guheswori, Mirgasthali, Bankali, Bhandarkhal, Devapatana etc are the most famous places surrounding the temple. This temple is related to Gopala dynasty who were the first ruler of Nepal. The modern temple is related to the medieval architecture. Some superb examples of ancient stone sculpture can also be found in the Pashupatinath temple area on the bank of Bagmati River.

A sixth century Buddha stele I unpolished light gray stone stands half-buried in the ground on the right bank of the Bagmati river. Buddha is depicted in extreme simplicity of attire. Its perfection of form and expression makes it a real  masterpiece of classic Buddhist art in Nepal. Eakamukha Sivalingam is the lingam with one face. It is the heritage from the 6th century. This remarkable head of parvati is sculptured on a lingam the phallic symbol of lord Shiva standing on small pedestal (base) at the distant end of the observation platform on the hill overlooking the main pashupatinath temple. Chaturmukha Shivalingam the lingam with four faces found near small bhuwaneswori temple in the little courtyard of the main street of Deopatan leading to the pashupatinath temple.

Bhuwaneswori temple is located at southern west part of Pahupatinath temple. Bhuwaneswori is called one of the goddesses among nine. Batsalyadevi temple is located at the southern east of pashupati temple at the bank of Bagmati River. Batsalyadevi is worshipped as parvati. The premises of temple has Aakash Bhairav, Panchaganesh, Yamaraj etc. Jayabageswori temple is situated at the south of Pashupatinath. Jayabageswori is said to be the goddesses with Mahakali, Mahalaxmi, and Mahasaraswoti in a single body. 

The Swayambhu (Adibuddha)

The Buddhist temple of Swayambhunath is situated on the top of a hill, northwest of Kathamandu. It is one of the most popular holy site of Nepal. According to Mahayana- Vajrayana sect, the Buddhist pantheon is headed by Adhibudda or the original Buddha who is without beginning and without end, infinite and self-created, revealing himself in the form of a flame issuing out of a lotus. In Nepal he is worshipped as Swayambhu (self-created). King Manadeva contributed in making of stupa in 460 AD.  But the foundation of it was laid down by his grandfather Brishadeva.