The cultural, historical, and spiritual atmosphere of Nepal is even more characterized by the temples and shrines in Nepal.
Nepal, as a dominantly religious country, practices Hinduism and Buddhism in addition to Christianity and Islam although the number of the latter two is significantly low. Two dominant religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, mostly set the cultural and spiritual atmosphere in the country. Hindu and Buddhist temples and shrines in Nepal stand firmly throughout the country with a strong base of the faith of people.
Talking about Kathmandu valley, its main characteristics are set by the wide presence of temples and shrines. From giant Buddhist stupas of Boudhanath and Swoyambhunath to ancient pagoda temples of Changunarayan and Pashupatinath, Kathmandu valley is home to many such sacred shrines. Medieval Durbar Squares in Kathmandu valley also have many tiered temples and shrines. All these important temples and shrines in Kathmandu are on UNESCO’s cultural heritage list.
Apart from the heritage monuments, the valley also houses many beautiful temples, shrines, and monasteries in the surrounding area. These temples and shrines have set the social and cultural structure of Kathmandu valley since ancient times. Actually the word ‘Kathmandu’ itself is believed to have been derived from ‘Kashthamandap’ which means the wooden temple. You can certainly call this valley the land of temples.
Temples and Shrines in Nepal
While talking about the temples and shrines in Nepal outside Kathmandu valley, it is also the same case as in the valley. The only difference can be the density of temples. While Kathmandu valley houses temples and shrines densely, other parts of the country have fewer. But there are also beautiful and important temples, monasteries, and pagodas outside the valley.
Here we talk about some of the important Hindu temples and Buddhist shrines in Nepal.
This Hindu temple is the most important Shiva temple in the country. This temple is also one of the cultural heritage monuments in Kathmandu. This two-storied pagoda temple on the bank of River Bagmati attracts Hindu pilgrims from around the country and the world. The surroundings of the temple also have several wonderful shrines, greenery, and cremation platforms on the bank of the river. It is an important religious, spiritual and cultural site with the most important Shiva temple in the country.
Amongst the temples and shrines in Nepal, the Boudhanath stupa has a distinct charm. This Buddhist stupa is the largest of its kind in the world. This shrine is not only big in its size but also big in its religious and spiritual importance. This is one of the most important Buddhist stupas in the country. Thousands of Buddhist pilgrims come to this place to pay their homage to the stupa. This stupa is also one of the cultural heritage monuments in the country.
This is another amazing and important shrine in the country. Situated 285 kilometers southwest of Kathmandu, Lumbini is also the birthplace of Buddha. You can see various shrines, from the Mayadevi temple to monasteries of different sects and countries. This is also one of UNESCO’s cultural heritage sites in the country.
An important Hindu temple perched deeper in the mountains, Muktinath is the pilgrimage site for the Hindu faith believers. Literally translated as the god who gives liberation, people visit his temple to get spiritual liberation or the Moksha. This temple lies between the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri ranges of the mountains. You can reach this temple either on Annapurna Circuit Trek or Jomsom Muktinath Trek or with a small detour from Upper Mustang Trek.
A famous monastery in the Everest trekking region, Tengboche monastery is the spiritual center for the people living in the region. This monastery has popular fame not only amongst the Buddhist people living in the Everest region but also amongst the trekkers and mountaineers in the region. This monastery organizes a wonderful festival called Mani Rimdu festival every year.
One of the most famous Hindu temples in the country, the Manakamana temple lies on top of a hill right above the River Trishuli. About 3 hours of drive from Kathmandu and 8 minutes of cable car ride from Kurintar takes you to the temple. Apart from being a religious and spiritual center, this place is also a wonderful vantage point to see the surroundings. This is the temple of a Hindu goddess who fulfills the wishes of her devotees, that is what Manakamana translates as.
This post will turn into a bulky book if we keep on going listing temples and shrines in Nepal in detail. This post is to give you an idea that you will encounter, as a traveler, so many temples and shrines in Nepal. Whether you go to the mountains or travel around different cities, towns, and villages of Nepal, you will certainly come across these monuments.