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Travel Guide to Panauti

A virtually untouched Newari town near Kathmandu ...
David Ways | Updated: | Nepal travel guides

My Rating:4.8  
A virtually untouched ancient city ...
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About Panauti

Panauti is situated at the confluence of Rosi and Punyamati rivers though there is said to be a mystical third river that only mystics can see. This is just a subtle hint at the religious importance that presides over one of the oldest townships in Nepal.

Many claim Panauti predates many other townships in the Kathmandu Valley. It was an independent town before becoming a part of Bhaktapur during later rapid expansion. However Panauti was granted back its independent township in 1793 when Nepal was united by King Prithvi Narayan Shah.

Panauti was built during the reign of Ananda Malla (1274-1310 CE). However there is documentation in the form of a golden scripture dated 1385 in the towns Indreshwar Temple that states King Harisingh Dev founded the town. In either case Panauti is still regarded as one of the oldest in the Kathmandu Valley

Did you know?

The Indreshwar Temple, one of the largest pagoda style temples in Nepal, is dated to 1294 CE. It is written that the widow of a Bhaktapur crown prince built the temple of “Indrakuta”. This makes it the oldest surviving Newar-style temples in all Nepal.

Panauti can be visited in a single day out. Though spending the night is recommended if you enjoy Newari townships.

Getting to Panauti

There are several transportation methods to Panauti depending on your budget and schedule.

Buses run from Ratna bus park every 15 or so minutes and are the most budget friendly ways to Panauti. Taxi's can be expensive unless you book a two-way trip.

If you are stuck for time or are looking for a private vehicle plus guide to show you around then taking a private tour is a good option. Do check out this recommended package tour to Bhaktapur and Panauti.

Do read my free online guide on getting to Panauti for full details.



Things to see & do in Panauti

Nearly all trips to Panauti start from the rather dire looking bus park. The official entrance to Panauti is just south of the bus park through an old red brick gate. However, I recommend that you take a more scenic route through Panauti by starting off crossing the bridge directly adjacent to the bus park due west.

Follow the straight street out and after about 10 minutes the buildings will thin out and over to your right you'll see the tell tale signs of tall pagoda temples. There's a little trail leading down a slope leading to some foot bridges. Don't cross them yet! The first stop is the impressive lone Brahmayani temple on this side of the river.

Brahmani temple:

The very first temple you will come across in Panauti is the lone three-roofed Brahmani temple by the river. Built in 1715 CE it is dedicated to the Brahmani goddess.

Krishna temple:

Across the bridge is a tall three-roofed Krishna temple. The pagoda design is very unusual for Krishna as the Hindu gods temple is usually stone.

Tribeni Ghats:

The Ghats in this area are dotted with many Shiva shrines. Of note in this area you'll notice that there are two Ghats for cremations on either side of the river. One side is for Hindus while the other is for Newar's.

Pilgrim's rest-house (Sataal):

The long two-story house at the top of the ghats is covered with fading frescoes depicting both Hindu and Buddhist scenes. You'll often find Sadhu's here along with priests.

Santaka temple:

Across a small bridge to the rear of the ghats is a countryside area. You should just about be able to make out a rare small temple compound dedicated to Santaka.

Indreshwar temple complex:

At the center of Panauti likes the magnificent Indreshwar temple complex. There's a 300 rupee entrance fee which give you access to the complex and the excellent little museum there. The temple holds one of the largest Shiva Lingams in Nepal as is opened at about 6pm in the evenings.

The Indreshwar temple was built in 1294 CE but had extensive renovations after the 1988 earthquake and was undamaged in the 2015 earthquake. Surrounding the temple are a series of well preserved shrines and a two-storey Bhairab temple.

Panauti Durbar Square complex:

Nothing remains of Panauti's Durbar square which is where the royal palaces were. Currently the foundations for renovations and reconstructions have been laid. However opposite the square is the helpful little tourism office (close Saturdays).

Old city in Panauti:

Taking the first left after Panauti Durbar Square will lead you into the old city. Here you will come across Prince Yamastwo's birthplace who was later made a saint. Yamasatwo gained acclaim while hunting in the nearby Namobuddha jungle. He came across a tigress and her newborn cubs that were dying from hunger. Cutting himself, he fed the tiger and her cubs with his own flesh.

Later there's an impressive 17th century Sorhakhutte Stupa and a 16th century pavilion.

There are many other shrines, temples and things to discover in Panauti. For a full guide which include all these including maps and much more to download my guidebook to the Kathmandu Valley.

Entrance fees to Panauti

There is no entrance fee to visit Panauti. However to enter the Indreshwor temple complex and museum there's a 300 rupee fee (it's one of the best preserved heritage sites in Nepal and worth the fee).

Map of Panauti

Full directions to Panauti and maps are available in my guidebook below. Likewise do check out my free online guide to Panauti.


Restaurants in Panauti

Restaurants are few and far between in Panauti. Many close up in the winter and don't open early in the morning. In fact many don't open during regular hours at all. Don't despair though as there are a few options.

Ananada Guesthouse offer home cooked meals which are probably the best in Panauti. The menu is quite good and many of the vegetables come straight from their garden outside (you can literally watch them pick them).

Cafe Lampati (on the street from the main gate to the tourism office) offers a whole range of items with momo's being a favorite. However their opening ours seem to offer no hope these days.

Aside from some local place Hotel Panauti has a small restaurant attached to it offering good value but basic food if you get stuck.

Accommodation in Panauti

There is limited accommodation available in Panauti. The hotel is named Hotel Panauti which offers plenty of reasonably priced rooms.

Ananada Guest house is long term favorite offering shared bathroom rooms. The restaurant here is excellent though sometimes they are closed during the winter season.

Finally Panauti Tourism offers home stay visits which include three meals and a free tour. The rooms are quite basic though some offer better quality rooms at much higher rates.

Do be careful when booking online for accommodation in Panauti as many are overcharging. Rooms are rarely booked out so contact the owners directly. Contact details are in my guidebook below.


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Panauti by the confluence in the Kathmandu Valley

Beautiful Panauti by the river, Kathmandu

Panauti is a must visit for anyone looking for an authentic Newari town virtually untouched by tourists
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Full guide:
» Guide to Patan    
Central Patan
  - Patan Durbar Square
 South Patan
  - Mahaboudha Temple
  - Uku Bahal
  - Machchhendranath temple
North Patan
  - The Golden Temple
  - Kumbeshwar Temple Complex
West Patan
  - The Kumari Living Goddess
East Patan
  - The Balkumari Temple

Make the most out of your journey:
» Get my full guidebook to Patan!


Full guide:
» Guide to Bhaktapur
Durbar Square
» Guide to Bhaktapur Durbar Square
  - Erotic Elephants Temple (Shiva Parvati)
  - Basantapur Chowk (Sculptures)
  - National Art Gallery / Museum
  - The Golden Gate (Sundhoka)
  - Taleju Temple (Mul Chowk)
  - Naga Pokari 
55 Window Palace
  - Siddhi Lakshmi
  - Stone Lions
  - Pashupatinath Temple (Bhaktapur)
  - Vatsala Durga Temple & Taleju Bell
  - Chyasalin Mandap
Near Durbar Square
» Taumadhi Square
Just outside Bhaktapur
» Kailashnath Mahadev (Tallest Shiva statue)
» Nagarkot

Like to know more?
» Get my full guidebook to Bhaktapur!

Bardia National Park

Full guide:
» Guide to Lumbini
» History of Lumbini
» Ashokan Pillar in Lumbini

Get the most out of your trip:
» Download my Guidebook to Lumbini!


The mighty Indreshway temple complex in Panauti

The Indreshwar temple in Panauti
With a small entrance fee the Indreshwar complex is one of the most well kept heritage sites in the Kathmandu Valley

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