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Patan Durbar Square

Patan Durbar Square

Krishna temple Patan
Krishna temple and ticket counter

Patan Durbar Square is a beautiful city center in Lalitpur in Kathmandu.  The city is a testament to Newar ingenuity and culture.  Patan Durbar Square also has a beautiful history and many amazing temples.  In addition, it has an ancient palace, which served as the residence for Malla kings that governed the area.  Did I mention it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site like Swayambhunath and Boudhanath Stupa?

This page is not to be confused with the Kathmandu Durbar Square or the Bhaktapur Durbar Square.

Entrance fee

There is a $10 entrance fee that can’t be avoided if you go into the museum or temples.  You do not have to pay if you are just walking on the street.

History

Lion in Patan Durbar Square
Lion engraving on Krishna temple in Patan Durbar Square

Before Patan Durbar Square was Patan Durbar Square, it was a crossroad and settlement or office area of foreign high-ranking political advisors or ministers.  From what I could deduce it was a place like present day Washington D.C. and a place for tax collection.

After Durbar Square grew into a prosperous area, it was taken up by Malla kings around 1200 AD.  For 600 years after, Patan Durbar Square was extremely prosperous and this period was known as the golden years.  Most of the improvements, including the temples, were built during the Malla dynasty.

The Malla dyanasty ended in 1768 when Kathmandu was invaded by the Ghorkha Kingdom.  The Ghorkhas ruled Nepal until 2008 under the Shah Dyanasty.  During this time king’s residence was shifted from Patan to Kathmandu.

The Patan Palace now serves as a museum.

Architecture

Malla Pallace in Patan
Malla Pallace in Patan

Most of the notable architectural accomplishments in Patan Durbar Square were built in the last part of the Malla rule, in 1600’s.

The architecture displays some amazing craftmanship and artistic work by Newar people.  The Krishna temple is one example and is regarded as the most important temple in the square.

Krishna temple was built in 1637.  The stone was imported from India and constructed on site.  It was built in the shape of a mountain (Shikhara style) and intricately carved.

The carvings on the first-floor pillars tell the story of a war fought by conflicting cousins.  Two cousins were fighting for the ownership of the throne.  The story is written out in Sanskrit epics of ancient India named Mahabharata.

The carvings on the second-floor tell the story of the deity Ram who rescued his wife Sita from a demon king named Ravana.  This story is also written out in the Sanskrit epics of ancient India named Ramayana

The third-floor carving tell the story of Buddha.

If you would like to know more about Buddhist and Hindu deities and mythology, click here.

How to get to Patan Durbar Square

Patan Durbar Square is located about 4 miles south of Thamel near the center of ring road.  It takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to travel there by car with traffic.

Duration   

Carving of a deity in Patan museum
Carving of a deity in Patan museum

Depending on what you are interested in, you could spend the whole day walking through the square and old palace and viewing the artifacts in the museum.  If you rush it, you can walk the square, palace and visit the museum in 2 hours.

Click here to learn more about Buddhist and Hindu sculpture.

When to go

Anytime is a great time to go.  The museum and palace open at 10:30 and close at 5:30. Before then, you can walk the square.

New Construction

Shikhara style temple in Patan Durbar Square
Shikhara style temple in Patan Durbar Square

Due to the earthquake in April 2015, most of the temples toppled over.  Since then, repairs are being made to the temples.  As of April 2018, the renovations have not been completed, but are expected to be completed by 2020.

Booking a tour

You can book a tour of Patan Durbar Square through Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure.

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