Updated: February 7th 2018
| Nepal travel guides
Located in north Patan the Golden temple (Hiranyavarna Mahavihara) is perhaps the second most popular attraction here after Patan Durbar Square.
The temple was built in 1409 and is in fact a Newari Buddhist monastery. The nickname "golden temple" came about through tourism more than it actually being made of pure gold. Most of the temple is actually polished brass. Never the less it still remains a stunning special to visit for many reason.
At the main entrance there was once a duel fought between a Brahman and Vajracharya Buddhist priest. The Vajracharya priest won when his wife threw here sari over the Brahmans head which led to the priest decapitating him. It’s said the severed head is still used in ceremonies today.
Inside the main courtyard there are probably enough artifacts to keep most historians happy for a full day. Do keep note that leather items are not permitted inside.
At the entrance way are two large brass guardian elephants and riders. Directly in front is a lavish shrine with a silver and gold chaitya. While you can’t photograph inside the shrine you may photos around the interior of the courtyard.
Going clockwise around the central shrine you'll see newly added (1918) brass monkeys holding out jack fruits as offerings. Behind them are large bronze Bodhisattvas. Three are Padmapani Lokeshwar and the fourth is Manjushree.
The main shrine (directly behind the smaller one) contains a statue of Sakyamuni and a Buddha image which again should not be photographed without permission.
It's honestly worth moving closer to many of the artifacts found inside the courtyard as many are highly detailed. It's also quite rare to get this close without being inside a museum!
There was renovation work on the Golden Temple in 2017 with the courtyard remaining open. The same is likely to happen in 2018.
The temple itself suffered a little damage in the earthquake however the courtyard and exterior is accessible and you'd barely notice a difference!
Let's not forget the "golden temple" is actually Hiranyavarna Mahavihara a Newari Buddhist Monastery. If you are facing the two golden elephants look to your left and you'll see a small door.
Enter inside and climb up the stairs to visit the monastery. It's really just a small room with practicing monks. Permission is also required to enter but there's rarely anyone around to ask.
My advice: be as quiet as possible and restrain from taking photos inside.
This temple is not included in the Patan Durbar square ticket price as it's outside the square. The current fee for foreigners is 50 rupees.
Use this map of Patan for to locate the Golden Temple and other highlights in Patan. For a better map download my full travel guide to Patan
The Golden Temple is located at a junction in north Patan just a short distance from Durbar Square.
See my travel guide below for full walking directions.
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