An Introduction to World Heritages situated in Nepal

Mrs. Nirmala Pokhrel

Culture Department, TU, Nepal

World Heritage: An Introduction

The heritage of one country use to be fascinating to other countries and people living there. Those heritages also have endless significance. Therefore, the heritages of different countries having historical, mythological, natural, cultural and archaeological significance are enlisted in the World Heritage List. UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) has been working for the preservation, conservation and development of different heritages of Nepal. Ten heritages of Nepal with such significance have been enlisted in the World Heritage List. Among them, 8 are of cultural importance and 2 are of natural importance.

The Heritages of Nepal enlisted in the World Heritage List.

The natural and cultural heritages of Nepal enlisted in the World Heritage List till now:

Cultural Heritages:

(a) Hanumandhoka Durbar Square

(b) Bhaktapur Durbar Square

(c) Patan Durbar Square (Lalitpur Durbar)

(d) Soyambhunath

(e) Bouddhanath

(f) Pashupatinath

(g) Changunarayan

(h) Lumbini

Natural Heritages:

(a) Sagarmatha National Park

(b) Chitwan National Park

UNESCO had enlisted Kathmandu Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar

Square, Patan Durbar Square, Soyambhunath Stiupa Area, Bouddhanath stupa area, Pashupatinath Temple area, Chagunarayan Temple area and

Sagarmatha National Park in World Heritage List in 1979 AD. After that, in 1984 UNESCO also added Chitwan National Park in World Heritage List.

Other 15 heritages of Nepal which had fulfilled the parameters are still not enlisted in the World Heritage List due to the disinterestedness and weakness of the government. Among the other 15 heritages of Nepal, 7 heritages including Panauti Bazar of Kavrepalanchowk district, Tilaurakot (Kapilvastu), Muktinath of Mustang district, Caves of Lomanthang area of Muktinath, Gorkha Palace, Ramgram of Nawalparasi district, Khokana (unique settlement and the area where mustard oil is produced traditionally) of Lalitpur district had already fulfilled parameters in 1996 AD to be enlisted in the World Heritage List. Similarly, Bajrayogini of Sankhu, the city of Kirtipur (model of Medieval city), Ruru area (Hrishikesh Temple) of Palpa district, the Seven-storied Palace of Nuwakot, Ramjanaki Temple (Naulakha Temple) of Janakpur, Tansen area of Palpa district, Sinja valley of Jumla and the Dewals (temples) of Bhurti in Dailekh district are 8 other heritages which have accomplished the criteria to be enlisted in the World Heritage List in 2008 AD.

The criteria to be enlisted in World Heritage:

All the historical, religious, natural, cultural and archaeological heritages located in different countries are not enlisted in World Heritage List. To get enlisted in that list, the heritages should have special significance and characteristics. UNESCO has determined some requirements for any heritage to be enlisted in World Heritage List as follows:

• Should be a magnificent example of the creativity of man.

• Should be expressing development or technology of architecture, art remained in the form of memento, town planning, imagination or creation, demonstrating internal change of human values for a long period or located within a cultural area.

• The site should be having greatest model of the building or having combination of architecture or technology or showing an important situation of human history.

• Should be at least an incredible thing or a proof of incredible cultural tradition or having an existing or extinct civilization.

The heritages of Nepal

Nepal is a rich country in physical or abstract cultural heritages. Here lie examples of genuine art and architecture like temples, stupas, bihars, palaces, buildings in countless number in the form of physical heritages from ancient times. The abstract cultural heritages like genuine verbal traditions and expressions of language and literature, acting, festivals, celebrations, the knowledge and occupations related to nature and universe, traditional artistry are present adequately among different castes, ethnicities, communities from Himalayas to Terai. These cultural heritages are the unique identity and valuable properties of the Nepalese people. The different cultural heritages that are before us today are important in national and international level. Our culture and identity will remain lively if, those heritages are identified, protected and conserved properly.

Importance of Cultural Heritages

Cultural heritages are the heritages that give the identity to the country in the external world. Those heritages glorify the country. Therefore, cultural heritages are energy of society and country. The countries rich in cultural heritages, though not rich economically gets renowned all over the world.

The importance of cultural heritages can be briefly enlisted as follows:

• Cultural heritages are the valuable property of the country.

• Cultural heritages combine the identity of individuals, society and castes and ethnic groups and make their unity livingly.

• Cultural heritages immortalize the history and good works of the ancestors.

• Cultural heritages teach to establish mutual understanding and tolerance in the society.

• Since culture is related with nature, cultural heritages also have important role in the conservation of environment.

• Cultural heritages provide basis for obtaining ancient and historical information.

• Cultural heritages glorify the country and identifies in international world.

• Cultural heritages encourages in the development of skill, art and education.

• Cultural heritages help to increase the sources of income.

• Cultural heritages play a vital role to attract tourists and bring them in the country.

• Cultural heritages keep the history of society and country livingly.

A brief introduction to the natural and cultural heritages of Nepal enlisted in the World Heritage List

a. Hanumandhoka Durbar Square

This palace located in Kathmandu was named as the Hanumandhoka Palace since King Pratap Malla established idol of Hanuman there. Different master piece of sculpture and architecture can be seen in this area. Including the palace there are idols of Hanuman, Kaalbhairav, Swetbhairav, magnificent idol of Kaliyadaman, Narsingha, Budanilkantha etc. are also located in this area. The ancient cultural heritages like Basantapur Palace, Taleju Maridir, Museum, Kumari Ghar, Kasthamandap, Thulo Ghanta (big bell) and Nagara are also located in this area.

b. Patan Durbar Square

Patan Durbar Square, existing as the palace area of Malla kings is located in Lalitpur district. Krishna temple, Bhimsen temple,

Bishwanath temple, Jagatnarayan temple, statue of Yognarendra Malla, Mahabouddha Chaitya, temple of Kumveshwar Mahadev, temple of Rato Macchindranath etc. are located in this area. In addition, the ancient stone taps and ancient idols of Umamaheshewor, Lord Vishnu, Ghantakarna etc. around the stone taps are among the rarest and beautiful idols of Nepal.

C. Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhaktapur Durbar Square existing as the palace area of Malla kings is located in Bhaktapur district. The heritages like Nyatpole Mandir, 55-windowed Palace, the statue of Bhupatindra Malla, National Museum of Art, Museum of Metal Art, Museum of Wood Art, Swarnadwar (golden gate), Pujari Math etc. are located in this heritage site. The idols of Hanuman, Ganesh, Durga etc. located in this area are the fine examples of sculpture art of Malla Period.

d. Boudhhanath Mahachaitya (Stupa)

Bouddhanath Mahachaitya, a holy, pilgrimage of Buddhists is situated in Kathmandu district. This stupa was believed to be built in the 5th century. There are other more than 45 Buddhist bihars in this area.

e. Soyambhunath Stupa

Soyambhunath Stupa, the holy pilgrimage of Buddhists is located in Kathmandu district. Recently, the biggest idol of Lord Buddha has been established in the area of this stupa. There are many other temples, Stupas and idols around the main stupa of Soyambhunath. For, temples of Hindu gods and goddess like Sarawaswati (Manjushree) and Haarati within the area of Soyambhunath Stupa, it makes this area as a magnificent example of religious tolerance. The one idol established here is worshipped by Buddhists as Manjushree or the goddess of knowledge and as Saraswati or the goddess of knowledge by Hindus, which makes a rare coincidence.

f. Pashupatinath Area

Within this area, regarded as a holy pilgrimage of Hindus, the temple of Pashupatinath, Deupatan, Jayabageshowri, Gaurighat, Kutumbahal, Gaushala, Pingalasthan and the areas around Slesmantak forest are included. This area consists of about 492 temples, sattal, Stupas, temples built in different styles and about 1000 Shivalingas. Different archaeological evidences of Lichhavi period including the famous inscription of King Jayadev Second have been found here whereas a number of temples, inscriptions and idols belonging to Malla period are found scattered in this area.

g. Changunarayan Temple

Changunarayan temple, situated in Bhaktapur district was built in Malla Period. However, the inscription belonging to Lichhavi Period found there proves the existence of this temple from Lichhavi period. For, structure of the temple could not stand for thousand years this temple seem to be standing in today’s state due to the maintenance and reconstruction made in certain intervals. The stone inscriptions inscribed in the 5th century and brilliant examples of stone, wood and metal craft can be found in around this temple built in Pagoda style in the 5th century. Numerous idols including the idols of Garud, Bishwarup and Garudnarayan etc. regarded brilliant piece in the perspective of sculpture art can also be found here. Therefore, Changunarayan temple area is also known as an open museum.

h. Sagarmatha National Park

Many beautiful lakes and mountains including the highest peak Mt. Everest and other mountains like Lotse, Choyu, Nuptse, Pumori, Amadablam etc. are located in this National Park spreading over the total area of 1148 sq.km. Different plants like Rhododendron, Pines, Bhojpatra etc. and different animals like snow leopard, danphe, munal, musk deer, bear, mongoose etc. are found in this National Park. It has been believed that there is also the existence of snowman Yeti in this national Park.

Lumbini

Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, is a holy pilgrimage for the Buddhists of the whole world. The Ashok Stambha established by Emperor Ashoka in 245 BC can be seen here. Since the implementation of the master plan formulated by Lumbini Development Committee formed in 1990 AD involving 13 countries including Nepal different stupas and bihars have been established here. Till now, the countries like China, Myanmar, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, India, France, Thailand, Germany etc. have already built Buddhist bihars in Lumbini.

Chitwan National Park

Chitwan National Park covers an area of 932 sq.km. and is famous as habitat of one of the rare species of the world one-horned rhino. Chitwan National Park has been recognized as a famous tourist spot and the animals like elephants, crocodiles, tiger, salak, hornbill, peacock etc. are found there.

From the book Nepal Parichaya. Thanks the author and Makalu publications: ED.

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