Nepal might be incredibly popular for being a spectacular hiking and trekking destination, but exploring mountains and trails is certainly not the only activity you could do in the country. Nestled in the Himalayas, and in between China and India, Nepal has a rich history and a vibrant culture. That said, if you want to have the full Nepal experience, then you should certainly check out some of the country’s numerous museums.
In this article, we are rounding up some of the most popular museums in Nepal which every tourist should certainly visit. These museums are located in different locations all over the country and have interesting features on display.
What are the top museums in Nepal?
Museums are not a rarity in Nepal, but if you are having some trouble choosing a museum to visit, then this list should come in handy. Here are some of the top museums in Nepal which you should definitely check out:
1) Patan Museum
Regardless of what you have planned for your Nepal trip, paying a visit to the Patan Museum first is highly advisable, especially if you want to learn more about Nepali architecture. Paying a visit to the Patan Museum first will give you a better understanding of notable sites in Nepali.
The Patan Museum is located in what was formerly a royal palace at the Patan Durbar Square. The interiors of the museum have since been restored, making it easily one of the best museums in South Asia. It is a particularly great place for individuals who want to learn more about Buddhist and Hindu architecture, as well as individuals who are curious about religious crafts. And if you are planning to spend some time exploring Kathmandu, then the displays at the Patan Museum will definitely interest you.
2) Narayanhiti Palace Museum
While exploring Kathmandu, you might also want to drop by the Narayanhiti Palace Museum. The Palace was built in the 1960s and was a residential palace up until 2008, the year that Nepal finally became a republic.
The Narayanhiti Palace might not be as old or breathtaking as the Patan Museum or the Kathmandu Dubar Square, but it is nevertheless a striking structure. This palace museum features a tall white tower accentuating a traditional pagoda design. Inside the Narayanhiti Palace Museum, one can still see remnants of the glamorous life led by Nepal’s former royal family.
3) National Museum of Nepal
Also found in Kathmandu is the National Museum of Nepal – the perfect spot to visit if you want to learn more not only about Nepal’s ancient, but also its modern history. Both the art and history galleries of the National Museum of Nepal feature various items, displays, and artifacts relating the country’s rich culture and history. Buddhist arts and artifacts are also on display, along with bronze sculptures and scroll paintings.
In addition to the noteworthy displays inside the National Museum Nepal, the museum itself is an architectural wonder. The buildings of the museum are roughly a century old and they all exude a certain old-world charm which is impossible to resist.
4) International Museum of Nepal
For hiking, trekking, and mountaineering enthusiasts, the International Museum of Nepal located in Pokhara is a popular destination. The museum, with its displays, provide visitors with a fair idea of how Nepal has evolved to be the popular hiking destination that it is today.
The museum features the notable points with regard to mountaineering in Nepal, detailing popular mountains and notable mountaineers who have tried to conquer the country’s peaks. In addition to a quick overview of the mountaineering history of Nepal, the museum also features displays on flora and fauna that can be found in the numerous mountains of Nepal.
5) The Military Museum
Another unique museum located in Nepal is the military museum which, as you can easily guess, features displays relating to the Nepali military. The Military Museum serves as a walk-through as regards the battles fought by the Nepali military, making it a great destination for individuals who want to learn more about Nepal’s history.
In addition to its historical displays on the battles fought by Nepal, as well as on notable military heroes, the Military Museum also features noteworthy artifacts. On display, for example, are giant military tanks, as well as the very first Rolls-Royce in the country, a generous gift from none other than Queen Elizabeth.
6) Red House Kagbeni Gallery and Museum
When you hear the word “museum”, I am fairly sure that the first thing that comes to your mind are imposing structures and impressive, pristine galleries. That is certainly not the case with the Red House Kagbeni Gallery and Museum but, trust me, you will certainly enjoy the change of pace.
Unlike other museums mentioned in this article, the Red House Kagbeni Gallery and Museum is more of a historical site. For one, it has a remote location, it being situated in the quaint little town of Kagbeni.
Formerly a lodge, the Red House has been renovated and is now reserved as a showroom for the numerous artifacts housed therein. The Red House has served various purposes all throughout history and has, in fact, even become a nunnery. If you ever find yourself in the remote location of Kagbeni, make sure to not miss looking at the Tibetan prayer wheels, thangka paintings, and even Himalayan fossils on display in the Red House.
Nepal has so much to offer by way of culture and history, so tourists will certainly benefit from paying visits to at least the most popular museums in the country. If you intend to stay in Nepal for an extended period of time, then all the more will you appreciate the country’s museums. After all, understanding how Nepal became the country that it is today will give you an insight on local sensibilities, as well as a newfound appreciation for local customs and traditions. And not only that – since museums are common destinations for tourists, they are also great venues for finding fellow travelers.