Some "follow" up on your above points which generally confirm the ins/outs as you suggest them!Golden Age of India and Kathmandu
A few quotes re this period in Nepali History to help establish/refute any "Golden Age of India" Connection during C4th-6th "By 200 AD, Buddhism had waned, and was replaced by Hinduism, brought by the Licchavis, who invaded from northern India and overthrew the last Kirati king. The Hindus also introduced the caste system (which still continues today) and ushered in a classical age of Nepalese art and architecture""Of course, the peace and affluence of the Gupta state, as described in accounts of Chandra Gupta II's time, could not have been possible without first unifying North India—a task begun by Chandra Gupta II's grandfather, Chandra Gupta I, who used similar tactics of marriage to integrate his conquests. Securing as a bride the daughter of the king of the ancient Lichavi clan, Chandra Gupta not only legitimated his rule by associating his new state with a primordial, time-tested power, but also locked "his grip on the river Ganga... that vital Gangetic artery, which carried the major flow of North Indian commerce""
This event appears to have been around 305AD "The documented history of Nepal begins with the Changu Narayan temple inscription of King Manadeva I (C 464-505 A.D.) of the Lichavi dynasty"
So we seem to have Buddhist Nepal becoming "Hinduised" by the Licchavis starting around 250AD (which is pre Gupta/"Golden Age") But it subsequently became culturally/politically "linked to" the growing Gupta Empire via marriage, albeit remaining independent with its own dynasty of kings. It would of course be unlikely that a (partially) Hinduised state would not be influenced culturally by the larger entity to its South. Whether Nepal under the Licchavis justifies the epithet of "Vassal State to the Gupta Empire" however I am not sure! But the Gupta Golden Age did coincide with the commencement of documented Nepali history and a period of Hindu temple building in Kathmandu – both of which can be regarded as evidence of a significant "cultural transfer".
So what remains within the Kathmandu WHS which evidences "physically" this link to the "Golden Age of India? Well it would appear that the Changu Narayan Temple would provide the best evidence. Rather annoyingly since, despite having visited Kathmandu on 4 occasions, I have never made it to this site which is situated a few kms outside Bhaktapur – and it does sound well worth seeing (Next time perhaps)!! It is gazetted as a separate site in the 2006 revision of the hitherto undefined boundaries of the vaguely titled "Kathmandu Valley" which was inscribed as early as 1979. Because of fires etc the building we see today is 18th century but this link indicates the site's pivotal importance in the Hinduisation of the Valley by the Licchavishttp://www.spinybabbler.org/art_complex/display_art_complexes.php?id=changu_narayan.h tm
As regards Pashupatinath, the AB review states "The temple dates back to the Lichchhavi period, and it has been subject to renovations in the 17th and 19th centuries".
However, it lacks the specific artistic/cultural remains of Changu Narayan. whose Sanscrit inscription would seem to provide the best "evidence" of cultural transfer from the "Golden Age of India" to the site.
So, I guess the close links between the Lichavis and Guptas, together with the cultural transfers of religion, architecture and language/script, justify the connectionKernave Tells v Tumuli
I have also researched Kernave a bit to see if it justifies a connection with "Tumuli" (or even "Tell"!!) The site of course covers an enormous period of human history –"10 millenia" through to the Middle Ages. There seems little doubt that the main mounds/hills on which it is situated are natural and were chosen for their fortification purposes and for being above flooding/marshland.("Twelve thousand years ago a warm period began, floods engraved the hillsides, gullies were formed, and the newly formed hills later became mounds. Around 9500 to 8000 years ago, the first terrace over the flooded land near the Neris was formed, on which the first people settled
"). But are there any Tumuli among the natural mounds and raised fortifications? The Nomination file mentions "New objects of cultural heritage have been found on the territory of the reserve and its buffer zone. E.g., the site of the ancient town of Kernave, settlement on the river Neris, barrows of Kernave, burial site of Kernave or Kriveikiškis,"
The site inventory lists "16.1.3. the site barrows in Kernavė, A 1458;"
And "Barrows" = "Tumuli"!!
I also came across a few other "Connections" for the site!!
a. Sacred Forests/Groveshttp://www.ceeol.com/aspx/getdocument.aspx?logid=5&id=725a6fb5-4a75-4a23-b531-30324b3 fb916
See " 16.1.4. the stone with 'footmarks of the Christ, the Virgin Mary and the lamb', M 123;"
in this link for Kernave http://www.kernave.org/rez_nuostatai_en.htm
c. Dubbed after another WHS"and in1986 the ancient Pompeii of Lithuania was discovered"http://www.kernave.org/expo_en.htm
(Refers to excavations of the Middle Age Town and presumably the covering of the site over time with peat rather than volcanic ash!)