Though Patan Durbar Square is the smallest of all durbar squares it is often referred to as the most beautiful of all. This is not hard to see as the square is quite crammed with exquisite temples compared to spacious Bhaktapur Durbar Square and the chaos of Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Of all the durbar square in the Kathmandu Valley Patan seems to have more restoration projects than any other. Patan Durbar Square is also right in the middle of the overall heritage zone of Patan city making it an excellent area to base yourself from during a visit.
Did you know?
Patan Durbar Square is filled with both Hindu and Buddhist temples. As an ancient Newari city this tantric mix has given Durbar square one of the both diverse collection of monuments in all Nepal.
Contrary to media reports Patan Durbar Square was not devastated nor flattened by the 2015 earthquake. Two major temples collapsed and some others were damaged. It remains one of the most restored and beautiful areas in Nepal.
Some scholars put the origins of Patan Durbar Square back to just after the Lichhavi era ended in 879CE. This was when the Thakuri kings ruled several parts of Nepal. The evidence for this is sparse but it is believe a royal palace of one kind of another was in Patan Durbar Square during that time.
The Pradhana cast are also believed to have been associated with the square just before the more famous Malla kings rose to power. It is in the 1600s during the Malla era that Patan Durbar square truly rose to actual fame.
King Siddhinarasimh Malla is largely associated with starting the race for the most beautiful city in the Kathmandu valley. By the end of the 18th century the three kingdoms where united, the Malla era ended and the Shah Dynasty started following which the country united into Nepal.
Patan Durbar Square is relatively small and easily covered in an hour or two. It's important not think that Patan Durbar Square is the only thing to do in Patan. The whole of Patan city is filled with interesting places and it's well worth spending your day there if your are a culture lover. Do read my Patan city guide for more on things to do in Patan.
The best place to start in Patan Durbar Square is at the southern end near the ticket office. See the map below along with some details on the sights. For better more detailed maps and guide to all of Patan get my guidebook to Patan!
The very first temple you will come across is Chyasin Dewal one of two Krishna temples in the square. The attractive octagonal solid granite
temple was built in 1637-47 by Siddhi Narasimha and is
worthy of a walk around as
it is one of the square’s best
Just north of the Krishna Temple is a huge cast-iron Taleju Bell. Mounted between two stone pillars it was erected in 1736-37
and rumored to terrify the king’s enemies
Hari Shankar Temple (destroyed in earthquake):
Built in 1706 it was dedicated to Shankar Narayan
deity who is
half Shiva and
half Vishnu. In
front were two
Jagan Narayan Temple (destroyed in earthquake):
The second major temple to collapse in the 2015 earthquake was once the largest and built in 1566
Krishna Mandir Temple:
One of the most remarkable stone temples ever built only took six
and a half short years to construct it in
1637. Opposite is a beautiful Garuda mounted on a column.
Vishwanath is a
manifestation of Shiva. The temple was built between 1676-
78 during a time when King Siddhi Narsingh witnessed the moguls destroy the Vishwanath Temple
Bhimsen Mandir Temple:
Our last temple on the left hand-side moving up Durbar Square was built in 1680 at a time when
all three kingdoms in Nepal were at peace. It’s
dedicated to the Newari god of traders.
Crossing over to the other side of the street you'll see a large hiti or sunken water source known as Manga Hiti. Though damaged it still functions today though without it's gates.
Keshab Narayan Chowk/ Patan Museum:
Running along the wall of the old palace is an ornate doorway. It leads to part of Patan Museum. There's a 400 rupee fee to enter and it also give you access to Mul Chowk and Sundari Chowk.
Damaged during the earthquake renovation is nearly complete. The courtyard was built in 1666 and is known as
the heart of Durbar Square. It is now quite plain
aside from the gilded figures straight ahead and the
copper shrine in the middle. Two decades ago the
courtyard was richly
decorated in wood
work until several
thefts left it bare. Continue through to Sundari Chowk.
The centerpiece attraction is without doubt the
stunning Tushahiti step-well in the center of the
courtyard. Built in 1647 by King Siddhinarasimha
Malla for ritual ablutions.
There's so much more to this area, including several hidden doors leading to wonderfully preserved areas not visited by tourists. Details of these and much more coverage of the above is available in guidebook to Patan.
There is a 500 rupee fee to enter Patan Durbar Square (1000 rps from 17th September - includes Patan museum price). There's an additional 400 rupee charge to enter Patan museum which also consists of Mohan Chowk and Sundari Chowk.
It covers everything you need to know with detailed easy to follow maps, walking tours, definitive descriptions (with photos) of every temple, recommendations plus personally visited restaurants and accommodation reviews with so much more for you to discover right now in your hands that you won't get anywhere else.
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