Patan, Nepal: Durbar Square
Patan, Nepal is its own city in Nepal though Kathmandu has spread out so much and Patan is so close that it almost seems like a part of the capital city.
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Many tourists visit Patan while in Kathmandu and take just a day trip out. The “City of Beauty”, or Lalitpur, as the name is known by locals and written in Sanskrit lives up to the meaning and is a must visit.
From my travel journal on September 14, 2009:
…We opted not to have a guide here though there were plenty offering every time we turned around. We took our map and had a look. We saw Krishna Mandir [which was] built in the 17th century by King Siddhi Narsingh Malla. It’s the only temple in Nepal with 21 pinnacles.
Built in the Shikhara style of architecture that came from India, the carvings along the edges are notable as they depict the events of Mahabharata and Ramayana.
It is said that one night the King saw Lord Krishna and Srimati Radha, his consort, standing in front of the royal a palace and so it was ordered that a temple should be built on that very spot.
We also visited the Golden Temple, or Hiranya Varna Mahavihar, a three story pagoda of Lord Buddha built in the 12th century is housed inside.
The temple is not actually made of gold but has objects and adornments made of polished brass all around. The moniker probably came from tourists stunned by the shiny beauty. At the entrance to the temple there was once a duel fought between Brahman and Vajracharya Buddhist priest. The priest won when his wife threw her sari over the Brahman’s head and the priest decapitated him. It is said that the severed head is still used in ceremonies today though we couldn’t find any heads anywhere. While photographs aren’t permitted inside of the temple itself, visitors are able to take photos of the many artifacts in the courtyard surrounding the temple.
If you’re heading to Kathmandu, there are some truly amazing places to stay. Check out Kantipur Temple House an eco-boutique hotel set in a historic building allowing guests to be immersed in Nepalese culture and comfort. The Dwarika’s Resort offers amazing views from this zen inspired retreat and allows guests to see the sites while also giving them the perfect place to unwind. Last but not least, Hotel Yak & Yeti is a five star hotel that will make you feel as though you’re staying on palace grounds. Where would you want to stay?
We continued our journey around the area taking in all of the new scents and sounds on our first day out in the city. It was intense and amazing and stunning to the eyes.
A Nepali man convinced me to buy a sounding bowl used to relieve stress. I guess I’ll need it on this trip. After the busy day, we found a rooftop cafe to have dinner in the Durbar Square before heading back to our hotel for the night.
Donate to the Red Cross which donated an initial $300,000 to help the disaster relief after the earthquake in Kathmandu and sent 19,000 non-food relief kits which include clothes, kitchen sets, tarpaulins and mosquito nets. Do what you can to help the rebuilding effort.