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Guide to Patan Durbar Square

The third royal city square in Kathmandu
David Ways | Updated: | Nepal travel guides


My Rating:4.5  

must see highlights - entrance fee - directions - accommodation -
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About Patan Durbar Square


Patan Durbar Square is located in the center of Patan city (Lalitpur) which is only a 30 minute drive from Kathmandu city. It is one of three ancient royal durbar squares in the Kathmandu Valley.

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.


History of Patan Durbar Square


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.

 

 


Things to see & do in Patan Durbar Square


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!

If you are curious to see what everything looks like after the earthquake then here's a photograph of Patan Durbar Square.

Chyasin Dewal:

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

Taleju Bell:

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 heavy stone elephant guardians.

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 temple:

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 in Banaras.

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.

Mul 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.

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.


Entrance fees to Patan Durbar Square


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.


Map of Patan


You can use this map of Patan for both the highlights mentioned in this guide, suggesting walking tour, ticket office locations and bus stop/ taxi locations.

 


Accommodation & hotels near Patan


Unless you really want to stay in Patan, my advice is to simply take a day trip out from Kathmandu rather than change hotels. Check out Kathmandu accommodation here.

However many people do want to stay for a longer period in Patan, so here are some hotels to chose from.

High-end:

Summit Hotel - Excellent long standing hotel with a lovely garden and pavilion. Rooms are trim & proper. It's not in walking distance to Durbar Square though. (USD$145+)

Mid-range:

Hotel Clarion Patan - well decorated and serviced hotel. Clean with a nice restaurant. Wifi works (USD$45+)

Traditional Homes Swotha - Very well maintained, clean hotel decorated in traditional Newari Style (USD$55+)

Hotel Goodwill - Pool, sauna WiFi, laundry service, LCD televisions (cable). Restaurant on site and very peaceful. Some excellent room rates. (30+)

Budget:

Durbar Guest House - One of the few remaining budget guesthouses in Patan. Simple rooms that are clean but not wall maintained. (USD$8+)

 

Looking for more accommodation in Patan? Try my hotel search below for the best rates.


 


Download my guidebook to the Kathmandu Valley!


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It covers everything you need to know with detailed easy to follow mapswalking toursdefinitive descriptions (with photos) of every templerecommendations 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.

Available now for tablets, mobile, desktop and print.

Kathmandu Valley Travel Guidebook
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Patan

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

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» Get my full guidebook to Patan!

Bhaktapur

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)
» Nargarkot

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Bardia National Park
Lumbini

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

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The mighty Indreshway temple complex in Panauti

Krishna Mandir in Patan Durbar Square
The magnificant stone Krishna Mandir temple in Patan Durbar Square

 
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