Being one of the 3 durbar squares situated in Lalitpur, Kathmandu valley, Patan Durbar Square is one of the greatest attractions of Kathmandu. Being the oldest Buddhist city in the world, Lalitpur also known as Patan or Yala, is extremely popular for its artistic heritage. On its own, Patan Durbar Square consists of 3 main stupas out of the 4 stupas in Patan. Patan has about 136 bahals or courtyards and 55 major temples and most of these structures are in the vicinity of the Durbar Square. The Durbar Square is a marvel of Newari architecture. The square floor is tiled with red bricks. There are many temples and idols in the area. The main temples are aligned opposite of the western face of the palace. The entrance of the temples faces east, towards the palace. There is also a bell situated in alignment beside the main temples.
One of the major attractions of Patan Durbar Square includes the Patan museum, which is filled with bronze statues and religious objects. Other major temples that attract the eyes of everyone are as follows:
Krishna temple is the most important temple in Patan Durbar Square. It was built in the local variety of Shikhara style called Granthakuta. The stone carvings along the beam above the first and second-floor pillar are most notable. The first-floor pillar carvings narrate the events of the Mahabharata, while on the second floor there are visual carvings from Ramayana. King Siddhi Narsingh Malla built the temple in 1667. It is said that one night the King saw Lord Krishna and his consort Srimati Radha standing in front
of the royal palace. He ordered a temple to be built on the same spot.
Srinivasa Malla built Bhimsen temple in 1680. It is renowned for its three interconnected golden windows. Bhimsen is a great personality in Mahabharata. He was known to be brave and strong. In Newari culture, he is traditionally worshiped as a god of business and trade. Tourists are not allowed inside the temple.
Vishwanath Temple is dedicated to God Shiva. It was built in 1627 during the reign of Siddhi Narsingh Malla. The roof supports are decorated with erotic carvings similar to imagery widespread in Shiva temples in India. Two stone elephants in the front entrance guard the temple. On the other side of the temple is the sculpture of a bull, Shiva’s vehicle. A stone linga is enshrined inside the temple.
•TALEJU BHAWANI MANDIR
Taleju temple was built by Siddhi Narsingh Malla in 1640 and rebuilt by Srinivasa Malla
in 1667 after a fire. Taleju Bhawani was the patron deity of the Malla kings. It is a five-storey temple with triple-roofs. Other than the local treasures, one of the things that is notable about Patan Durbar Square is its ambiance. There are a lot of hang out places and restaurants in the area that have helped in appealing the youths and visitors. The place exudes a different vibe than the one you’ll get in the Kathmandu city just a couple of minutes away. The afternoon time is especially the most favorable time to roam the streets of Patan Durbar Square. The light during sunset gleams through the structures of the monuments and gives mesmerizing view.
When it comes to food, there are plenty of Newari eateries near Patan Durbar Square serving ethnic cuisines. Patan is also considered the heaven for Newari cuisines. Apparently, you can find Newari eateries on every alley or galley of the city largely known to locals only. Beside food, you can also find local drinks Aila (liquor) and Thwon (beer) in those eateries. Patan Durbar Square is indeed a must-visit place if you want to soak in the cultural richness of the Valley.
Patan Durbar Square & Boudhanath Stupa are among the seven cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites situated in the valley. These two monuments are the living cultural prides of the country.
The colossal and ancient stupa Boudhanath, built by Licchavi King Man Dev in the 5th century A. D. , is regarded as one of the world’s biggest stupa and has been built on a stepped octagonal base decorated with alcoves representing Buddha and his teachings. The stupa is surrounded by various temples or 'gompas' and filled with fragrance of incense and chanting of monks. It is one of the prime Buddhist pilgrimage site in the country.
Take an interactive 3D tour of Boudhanath.
One of the valley’s three medieval kingdoms, Patan is also known as Lalitpur or the “City of Artisans’. Locals living in Patan also refer to the ancient city as Yala. History has it that Patan was founded in the 3rd century by the Kirat dynasty and later was modeled into perfection by Lichhavis in the sixth century followed by Malla dynasty. This city presents a potpourri of finest traditional crafts and rich artistic heritage. Patan Durbar Square, Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor temple, Krishna Temple, Golden Temple or Hiranya Varna Mahavihar, Mulchowk, Jagat Narayan Temple, Big Bell, Pillar of Yognarendra Malla, Hari Shanker temple, Vishwanath temple, Bhimsen temple, Marga Hiti, Mani Mandap, Café Pagoda, Rato Machhendra Temple, Minnath, Rudra Varna Mahavihar etc are the major attractions of Patan.
Take an interactive 3D tour of Patan Durbar Square.
For a real experience, embark on a Cultural Tour with Explore Himalaya.
Bungamati is another ancient Newari village that lies just a few kilometers from the busy city (Kathmandu) centre. Dating back to the 16th century this village is an important religious site. Legend has it that the Rain God‘Machhendranath’ was brought to the valley in the form of a bee during one of the worst droughts that the valley was experiencing. The Rain God took up residence at the village and revealed his true form, that of Rato(Red) Machhendranath thereby blessing the drought hit valley with abundant rainfall. From then on every year in the month of April/ May his idol is carried in a chariot from Bungamati to different places in Patan . The chariot festival known as Rato Macchendranath Jatra is celebrated annually with much fanfare. There is a magnificent temple at the village square where Rato Machhendranath’s idol is kept. Apart from the Rain God, Bungamati is also famous for its wood carving. Generations of wood carvers from this village have produced exquisite wood work that has adorned thousands of homes, temples, museums etc. Lying just a few kilometers from Kathmandu city, the village has a rustic ambience and is a sure delight for those on the lookout of Newari culture and rural lifestyle.
Rato Machhendranath Temple
(Pictures: Explore Himalaya)
Explore Himalaya have been very good in ensuring everything has worked out smoothly. Yalamber has been very helpful and friendly when in Kathmandu, and Bharat was an excellent guide during our trek.