1. Bhaktapur Durbar Square
  2. Shree Pashupatinath Temple
  3. Bhoudanath Stupa
  4. Changu Narayan Temple
  5. Lumbini
  6. Patan Durbar Square
  7. Swayambhunath Stupa
  8. Kathmandu Durbar Square
  9. Janakpur
  10. Muktinath Temple

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Bhaktapur Durbar Square - Historical place of Nepal

Located at a distance of just 15kms (or 10 miles) to the east of the capital city, Bhaktapur is an excellent option for a day or weekend trip from Kathmandu. A UNESCO world cultural heritage site, the Durbar Square (Royal Plaza) is the epicenter of this ancient Newari city.

The square is indeed a living museum. You can see plenty of ancient monuments, buildings, and temples where ever you turn. If the weather cooperates, you can experience panoramic views of the Himalayan peaks from Nagarkot, a tiny hill-station village that lies near Bhaktapur. If you get the chance, try a home-stay to experience authentic Nepalese hospitality and get to enjoy the flavours of traditional home-cooked meals.

How to Get Here from Kathmandu

The easiest option is to hire a taxi. Though the distance is less than 10 miles, the ride takes around 40-45 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. The taxi costs around 800 NRS, which is roughly equivalent to 7 EUR/8 USD.

The other option is to get on a bus. You can take a local bus or a tourist bus. Local buses are super-cheap but crowded. However, if you want to get a glimpse of the local way of life, then brave the crowds and hop on one. Tourist buses are less crowded. The cost of a ride on a tourist bus from Thamel (the tourist hotspot in Kathmandu) to Bhaktapur Durbar Square is 30 NRS.

Entrance Fee

  • Foreign National – 1500 NPR
  • Citizen of a SAARC nation (India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh) or China – 500 NPR
  • Nepalese Citizens – Free

With your entry ticket, you get a leaflet and a map detailing the attractions and history of the Durbar Square.

Key Attractions

The Durbar Square in Bhaktapur is home to several of the historical monuments of Nepal. The buildings are centuries old, and the architecture is diverse and stunning. It has several tiny alleys and streets that are rich in cultural offerings. Some of the important monuments here include:

  • 55 Windows Palace – This huge monument dominates the entire square and dates back to the 15th century. The statue of King Bhupatindra Malla is seen atop a large column as he offers prayers to the Almighty.
  • Nyatapola Temple – a massive, 5-storey temple that visitors can climb to get sweeping views of the entire square. It’s the most famous pagoda in all of Nepal and is the highest one. The deity at this temple is Goddess Siddhi Laxmi. The word “Nyatapola” in the local Newari language refers to five tiers, which denote the five elements (air, water, land, fire, and wind).
  • The Vatsala Temple (sadly this was destroyed in the earthquake of 2015)
  • Dattatreya Temple, in the Dattatreya Square, adjacent to the Durbar Square
  • Taumadhi Square
  • Bhairavanath Temple
  • Golden Gate and Lion’s Gate
  • Pottery Square – clay artifacts made by potters are available for sale.

Shree Pashupatinath Temple

Pashupatinath Temple - Historical place of Nepal

This is the largest Hindu temple in the world devoted to Lord Shiva. It is one of the famous Nepal Historical sitesand is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. The temple is situated on the banks of the river Bagmati and lies at a distance of 5 kms to the northwest of the capital city Kathmandu.

Shree Pashupatinath temple is often referred to as the “Temple of Living Beings,” as it attracts a vast number of pilgrims every day who come from faraway places to offer their prayers and seek blessings of the divine deity.

Apart from its religious importance, this temple complex is a stunning example of ancient architectural prowess. Shivaratri and the Bhagmati riverside cremation are two of the most important events to watch at this temple.

How to Get Here from Kathmandu:

It’s just a ten-minute drive from the Tribhuvan International airport in Kathmandu. The drive from Thamel or Kathmandu Durbar Square takes around 20 minutes.

Entrance Fee:

  • Foreign National or SAARC national – 1000 NPR
  • Nepalese or Indian Citizens – Free

Other Helpful Points:

  • Best times to visit are from September to November or February to April.
  • The main temple is open only to Hindus while others can enter the massive temple complex.
  • The outdoor cremation rites are pungent and you may consider bringing a mask if you’re affected by strong odours.
  • Since it’s a place of worship, consider wearing clothes that cover your back and shoulders.

Bhoudanath Stupa

Bhoudhnath stupa - Historical place of Nepal

The Bodhnath or Boudhanath Stupa is one of the largest Tibetan Buddhists stupas outside of Tibet. It’s located at a distance of 7 kms from Kathmandu and both locals and foreign pilgrims (especially from Tibet) visit this spiritual site. A UNESCO world cultural heritage site, it’s one of the top places of Historical Importance in Nepal.

Constructed by King Man Dev in the fifth century, this colossal stupa is built atop an octagonal structure, which symbolizes Buddha’s teachings. It is surrounded by several gompas or smaller temples.

As soon as you enter the complex, the fragrance of incense embraces you and you can hear the prayer wheels creak, as the monks stroll around the base of the stupa. It is open throughout the day.

How to get here from Kathmandu:

The taxi ride from Kathmandu costs around 400 NPR.

Entrance Fee:

  • Foreign National including Chinese – 400 NPR
  • Citizen of a SAARC nation – 100 NPR
  • Nepalese Citizens – Free

Key Attractions:

  • Hariti/Ajima shrine
  • Visit Boudhanath at night as it’s illuminated by thousands of candles lit by pilgrims
  • Follow the monks as they offer prayers at the base of the stupa
  • Tamang Gompa – that has a huge prayer wheel and a balcony that overlooks the stupa
  • During the Tibetan New Year, celebrated in Feb or March, Bodhnath hosts the festival of Losar, the biggest Tibetan Buddhist festival in Nepal.

Changu Narayan Temple

CHangu Narayan - Historical Place of Nepal

As old as time itself, this ancient Hindu temple has a history that goes back 3000 years. Considered as the oldest Hindu temple in all of Nepal, this one is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site and is built in the two-tiered pagoda architectural style that you come across at several places in the Kathmandu valley.

The main shrine is surrounded by mythical beasts – ram-horned griffons, winged lions, and other familiar animals like elephants and lions on all sides. Sadly, a significant portion of this temple complex was affected during the earthquake that rocked Nepal in 2015. However, it’s still open and the damaged areas are under restoration.

How to get here from Kathmandu:

A taxi from Kathmandu costs around 800 NPR, while a taxi from Bhaktapur costs 250 NPR. From Kathmandu, you can get a bus to Bhaktapur and from there, you can get a taxi to this temple.

Entrance Fee:

  • Foreign Nationals (including Chinese) – 300 NPR
  • SAARC Nationals – 100 NPR
  • Nepalese – Free

Key Attractions:

  • The life-sized stone Garuda kneeling in front of Lord Vishnu.
  • Older sculptures that lie around the temple complex, some dating back to 1500 years ago.

Lumbini

Lumbini

Considered as the birthplace of Siddhartha, who later became Lord Buddha, Lumbini draws hundreds of Buddhist pilgrims daily. In the year 250 BC, the legendary emperor Ashoka erected a stone pillar here marking the birthplace of Buddha.

Maya Devi, the mother of Buddha, gave birth to the Lord near a tree in the center of the garden, which now houses a temple dedicated to her. Lumbini is around 300 km away from the capital city and makes for a great weekend getaway from Kathmandu. A UNESCO world cultural heritage site, Lumbini is more than just a religious place.

How to get here from Kathmandu:

Take a domestic flight from Tribhuvan airport to Bhairahawa airport in Lumbini. The taxi fare from the airport to the temple is around 1000 NPR. Private tourist buses run between Kathmandu and Lumbini with a journey time of 9 to 10 hours.

Entrance Fee:

  • Foreign Nationals – 200 NPR
  • SAARC Nationals apart from Indians – 100NPR
  • Indians – 16 NPR
  • Nepalese – Free

Key Attractions:

  • The park in the temple complex designed by Kenzo Tange, a famous Japanese architect.
  • The museum and research center for Buddhism (closed on Tuesdays).
  • World Peace Pagoda, Lumbini Garden, Thai Monastery, Maya Devi Temple, Dharmaswami Buddhist Monastery.

Patan Durbar Square

Paltan Darbar Square

At a distance of 5 km from Kathmandu, the town of Patan is surrounded by four stupas erected by Emperor Ashoka in the third century B.C. Also, known as Lalitpur, the Patan Durbar Square is one among the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites in Nepal. A marvel of Newar architecture, it has a Square floor that is tiled with red bricks. Housing many temples and idols, it also holds old Newari residential houses.

With a rich and diverse history, Patan always played a huge role in the cultural and political history of Nepal throughout the centuries.

How to get here from Kathmandu:

Several buses connect various parts of Kathmandu to Patan Durbar Square. Taxi fares range around 400 NPR.

Entrance Fee:

  • Foreign Nationals including Chinese – 1000 NPR
  • SAARC nationals – 250 NPR

Key Attractions:

  • Krishna Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Golden Temple, Jagat Narayan Temple, Vishwanath Temple, Mahaboudha Temple, Bhimsen Temple
  • Big Bell, Mani Mantap
  • Pillar of Yognarendra Malla
  • Café Pagoda

Swayambhunath  Stupa

Swayambhunath Stupa - Historical place of Malaysia

Located at a mere distance of 3 km from the capital city, this is another of Nepal’s UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites. It is said that a millennium ago, this area was an island and King Manadeva built a stupa here around 460 A.D. It’s also known as the Monkey Temple for the primate population in and around the temple complex.

Today, the stupa has a pinnacle made of copper with a conical spire. The lower hemisphere is made of clay and brick and has Lord Buddha’s eyes adorned on all four corners. The stupa offers sweeping views of the entire valley of Kathmandu.

How to get here from Kathmandu:

Taxis take around 10 to 15 minutes from Thamel to this stupa, and the average cost is around 150 NPR.

Entrance Fee:

  • Foreign Nationals including Chinese – 200 NPR
  • SAARC Nationals – 50 NPR
  • Nepalese – Free

Key Attractions:

  • Sleeping Buddha
  • Dewa Dharma Monastery
  • Vajra thunderbolt on the eastern side of the Stupa
  • Harati temple, dedicated to the Goddess of Children

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square

This is one of the must-see Places of Historical Importance in Nepal and a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. Located in the heart of Kathmandu, your trip to Nepal is incomplete without stepping into this massive complex.

It’s a live museum and gives you a glimpse into the local way of life. Filled with popular shrines and temples that demonstrate the ancient Newari architecture, it’s a great place to start your trip to Nepal.

How to get here:

It’s easily accessible by bus, taxis from all areas of Kathmandu.

Entrance Fee:

This includes tickets to both the Durbar Square and the Tribhuvan Museum.

  • Foreign Nationals including Chinese – 1000 NPR
  • SAARC National – 150 NPR
  • Nepalese – Free

Key Attractions:

  • Kasthamandap – a wooden pavilion that holds ancient and rare images of Lord Gorakhnath.
  • Trailokya Narayan Temple – The world’s largest temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Sadly, these structures were completely destroyed in the 2015 earthquake.

  • Shiva Parvati temple, Taleju temple (entry restricted), Kumari Bahal, Basantapur Tower, Gaddi Baihak.

Janakpur

JanakPur - Historical place in Nepal

Located in central Nepal, Janakpur was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Mithila, better known as the birthplace of Sita and the city where Lord Ram wed her. Centuries later, the Maithili culture is still evident in this city, which remains untouched by modernity.

Thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit Janaki Mandir every year on the Vivah Panchami festival, the anniversary of the wedding of the mythical couple held in November or early December every year. The massive three-story temple complex with over 60 rooms is the crowning glory of Janakpur. It’s considered one of the top 10 historical places in Nepal.

How to get here from Kathmandu:

The drive from Kathmandu to Janakpur takes around 10 hours by road and several buses connect these two cities. Alternatively, you can take a domestic flight that takes approximately 40 minutes.

Entrance Fee:

No entry charges for the temple complex.

Key Attractions:

  • The 19th-century marble temple is the biggest temple in all of Nepal.
  • Over a hundred ponds and pools scattered around the city.

Muktinath Temple

Muktinath Temple - Historical place in Nepal

Situated at a height of 3710 m above sea-level, this is one of the holiest places for both Hindus and Buddhists. The name Muktinath literally means, “Place of Salvation.”  The temple is a small structure and contains an idol of Lord Vishnu, as Mukti Narayana. This pilgrimage site is an excellent example of how two religions can share a holy site in harmony.

According to Hindu philosophy, a visit to this temple puts an end to the cycle of birth and rebirth. It will help you attain true salvation, where you become one with the divine.

How to get here from Kathmandu:

By Road – It takes around two nights. The ideal route is Kathmandu – Pokhara – Jomsom and then Muktinath.

By Flights – There are no direct flights connecting Jomsom (the nearest airport) to Kathmandu. Take a flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara and then to Jomsom. Flights to Jomsom operate only in the mornings and that too, only if the weather is clear.

By Helicopter – You can hire a helicopter to take you from Kathmandu to Muktinath. The journey takes around 1.5 hours.  

Key Attractions:

  • Muktidhara – 108 frozen waterspouts in the backyard of the temple, that flow continuously, irrespective of the weather. Taking a dip in these spouts and the two ponds of the temple complex is believed to bring you salvation.
  • Gumba Samba – a monastery of Tibetan origin.

Go Beyond

If you have more time on your hands, then you can also cover other historical places in Nepal in your itinerary like- the Kopan Monastery near Boudhanath, Mahendra Gufa- a limestone cave near Pokhara, 55 Window Palace in Bhaktapur, Makwanpur Gadhi at Makwanpur district and Thamel area in Kathmandu.