Kathmandu Durbar Square: UNESCO World Heritage Site

Durbar Square in Kathmandu, where successive kings have sat and governed over Nepal for a very long time, and new kings have been crowned to the continuous pounding of drums and trumpets. The majestic Kathmandu Durbar Square is just one of the country’s three squares.

The location continues to be Kathmandu’s traditional architecture’s most impressive heritage. Although the devastating earthquake of 2015 left its mark on the structure and caused about a dozen areas of the grounds to collapse, it has retained much of its previous beauty.

The Durbar Square area comprises three loosely connected squares: Basantapur Square, the site of a former elephant stable, the main Durbar Square on the west, and a smaller area housing the entrance to Hanuman Dhoka.

The complex’s western portion is where the main Durbar square is located, with the open Basantapur Square area located in the complex’s southern half. The former building once served as a stable where royal elephants were kept for a long time. Today, it is a location with gift shops.

The second half of the square is located in the northeastern corner of the complex. The majestic Hanuman Dhoka Complex’s entrance is situated here, and a lovely collection of temples are hidden behind it.

The area is a bustling walkway that links numerous streets for the general populace. The Durbar is crowded with people during holidays like Dashain, Indra Jatra, Machhindranath Jatra, and Gaijatra, even though it is no longer used for coronations. In 1979, UNESCO designated the whole Durbar Square complex as a World Heritage Site.

Past Glory of Kathmandu Durbar Square

Basantapur area in Kathmanu Durbar Square

The Malla Kings, the first kings to rule over Kathmandu following its independence, once used the Kathmandu Durbar Square as their capital. Later, Prithvi Narayan Shah, who had invaded the Kathmandu Valley in 1769, chose it as a royal residence. This was followed by additional Shah Kings who succeeded one another and ruled the nation till 1896.

The building of this affluent area has been credited to the renowned Sankharadev, despite the absence of any recorded archival records that describe its historical past. The three-roofed Taleju Temple in the northern part of the compound is thought to have been built by Ratna Malla, the first monarch of the autonomous city.

He is also credited with building the temples on the property dedicated to Kotilingeshwara, Jagannath, Mahendreswara, and Mahadev. The five acres of flat area that makeup Kathmandu Durbar Square still display a wonderful, ancient feel. The square complex, with its ponds encircled by palaces, quadrangle courtyards, and temples displaying old paintings, is unquestionably the jewel in Nepal’s glittering crown.

Kathmandu Durbar Square’s Top Attractions

Kathmandu Durbar Square Attractions

Due to several factors, Kathmandu Durbar square is a popular tourist destination. The stunning buildings of worship and expansive courtyards add to the area’s already stunning aesthetics. The area has great historical significance and has been the site of numerous coronation rituals. The following list includes a handful of the many attractions within the square complex.

1. Taleju Temple

At a great height of 36.6 meters, the sacred sanctuary constructed by King Ratna Malla is a temple dedicated to the Goddess Taleju Bhawani. The center of the temple is adorned with a magnificent deity statue with four heads and 10 arms, and the area is charming due to the elaborate metalwork. A sanctum for the Kumari, known as the Living Goddess in Nepal, can be found inside the temple.

2. Jagannath Temple

The octagonal Krishna Temple was built during Pratap Malla’s reign and is completely dedicated to Lord Krishna. According to legend, this worship site was constructed as a memorial to two of his former kings. The walls of this temple are decorated with lovely images of Lord Krishna and two goddesses who are thought to be his wives.

3. Trailokya Mohan Narayan Temple

Lord Vishnu is honored in the complex’s five-roofed temple. The holy sanctum of the temple, which is decorated with antique paintings and portraits of the deity, exudes a magical aura that draws in many worshippers.

4. Kalbhairav Temple

Ancient legend describes Kalbhairav as a terrifying manifestation of Lord Shiva. The god, present in the Durbar Square complex in a great and majestic shape, welcomes several people each year.

5. Hanuman Dhoka

Hanuman Dhoka Museum

The Hanuman Dhoka Palace Complex, which includes a museum, is maybe the Kathmandu Durbar Square’s main draw. The structure, which served as a royal residence until 1886, now draws countless residents and visitors.

This tourist destination provides insight into the culture and architectural style that predominated in ancient Nepal. The museum is a fantastic place to find artifacts from the Malla dynasty. In addition, this location is the setting for the tale of Prithvi Narayan Shah’s rule and the unification of Nepal.

6. Kumari Bahal

The Kumari Bahal is a stunning old palace where she resides while she is the chosen Devi. It is a three-story traditional building composed of red bricks and wood with ornately carved balconies, windows, and doors resembling Buddhist Viharas.

In the middle of the 18th century, Jaya Prakash Malla constructed this building. It also holds a stupa decorated with Saraswati symbols and a sizable chariot used to transport the Kumari around the city during the yearly Indra Jatra celebration. Kumari’s presence is thought to protect the community and the area.

The massive earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015 barely damaged the Bahal while severely impacting the surrounding area. This is allegedly some indication that the villagers connect to the grace or strength of the Kumari.

7. Sattal Singha

Singha Sattal, also known as Silyan Sattal, is a traditional inn. A shrine to Natyeshwar, the God of Dance, is located inside the Sattal. The first construction took place in the 12th century.

8. Temple of Kabindrapul

The God of Music resides in this wooden temple from the 17th century. Another name for Kabindrapul Temple is Dhansa Dega.

9. Ashok Binayak (also called Maru Ganesh)

A modest Ganesh shrine called Ashok Binayak can be seen in the Kathmandu Durbar Square’s Eastern section. The shrine has bars surrounding it and is one story. There are gold-plated walls within.

10. Gaddi Baithak

A structure called Gaddi Baithak is situated just across from Kumari Ghar. Following the 2015 earthquake, the monument has finally been reconstructed. It is a white neoclassical structure that Prime Minister Chandra Samsher Rana first constructed in 1908 AD.

11. Kotilingeshwara Mahadev Temple

One of the most significant structures created by King Pratap Malla in the 17th century is the Kotilingeshwara Mahadev Temple. Three metallic circle roofing and a round design characterize the temple.

12. Shiva Parvati Temple

The magnificent Shiva Parvati Temple, which houses Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati, is situated in Durbar Square’s religious district. It is frequently visited by pilgrims and tourists and is just as significant as the Kumari Bahal or the Kasthamandap. Every square inch of the temple wall, which Bahadur Shah built in the 18th century, is covered in incredibly detailed carvings.

13. Bhagwati Temple

The Durbar Square’s Bhagwati Temple was originally a Narayan temple. In the eighteenth century, Jagajaya Malla constructed it. It is believed that Prithvi Narayan Shah stole the Narayan idol and replaced it with a statue of Bhagwati.

14. Great Bell

King Rana Bahadur Shah erected the Great Bell in 1797. The Degutaleju temple’s neighboring beautiful bell runs during the temple’s puja.

15. Degutaleju Temple

A component of the Hanuman Dhoka is the Degutaleju Temple. It has three roofs and a shrine to Taleju, the personal goddess of King Malla.

16. The column of King Pratap Malla

A stone pillar known as King Pratap Malla’s column, also known as Pratap Dhwaj, featured a statue of the King facing the Degutaleju shrine. The 2015 earthquake destroyed the statue, but the pillar is still there.

17. Indrapur Temple

This temple is devoted to Indra, as the name would imply. However, a Lingam within suggests the shrine is devoted to Lord Shiva. Additionally, a Garuda may be seen on the southern side, indicating that the temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu.

18. Tana Deval Temple

The Taleju temple is situated right in front of the Tana Deval Temple. The temple includes three carved doors, and Mother Goddess-themed painted struts. The wall encloses the temple.
Getting To Kathmandu Durbar Square
The magnificent heritage site is conveniently located in the Kathmandu Valley and is reachable by both private and public transportation. If you follow the Amrit Marg, it is only three kilometers from Kathmandu’s center. Taxis or local buses are available. From Kathmandu, walking to Durbar Square takes more than 30 minutes.

Earthquake 2015

Nepal Army at resque during earthquake 2015

After a severe earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, 2015, a sizable portion of the southern Durbar Square was destroyed, and the surviving buildings developed physical fractures and crevices. A devastating earthquake had already struck Kathmandu Durbar Square in 1934. However, the complex was immediately renovated, and in no time was it restored to its magnificent state. The renovation efforts since the earthquake of 2015 have not yet met expectations.

The Kathmandu Durbar Square is a historical landmark and a source of national pride. The competent authorities must act swiftly to ensure that it remains a place of awe and pride for future generations. The Kathmandu Durbar Square has been and continues to be the center of Nepal’s rich history in terms of cultural heritage and religion, sovereignty, pride, and economy. Even though natural disasters have changed the complex’s buildings’ design, they continue to draw visitors because of their rich atmosphere.

The Kathmandu Durbar Square: What to Know Before You Go?

  1. To see the Kathmandu Durbar Square more authentically, go there early in the day when there are fewer tourists.
  2. The Living Goddess Kumari briefly manifests herself at the Kumari Ghar’s main window between 9 and 11 a.m. and around 4 p.m. It is completely against the law to take photos, but if you’re fortunate, you might be able to receive a blessing.
  3. If you want to fully appreciate your visit, sign up for a guided tour or hire a guide in advance! A guide should be hired when visiting areas like Kathmandu Durbar Square. Once there, avoid using a guide because it might be challenging to distinguish between authentic and bogus sources.
  4. Only one day’s worth of tickets is available. The tourist center close to Kumari Ghar, however, will let you exchange your ticket for a Visitor Pass that will be good for the remainder of your visa (it is free, and you need your entrance ticket, your passport and an ID photo).


Q. Why is Kathmandu’s Durbar Square so well-known?
There are three squares in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, with Kathmandu Durbar Square being one of them. Durbar Square is an important location for Buddhist and Hindu rituals, holy rites, royal celebrations, and royal coronations (the word “durbar” means “palace” or “a court held by a prince”).

Q. What is Kathmandu Durbar Square’s alternate name?
Hanuman Dhoka
Basantapur Durbar and Hanuman Dhoka are additional names for Kathmandu Durbar Square, a historic durbar square in the heart of Kathmandu.

Q. Do you have to pay to get into Durbar Square?
Kathmandu’s Durbar Square entrance cost is NPR 150 (INR 94) for citizens of SAARC nations other than Nepalese, for whom it is free, and NPR 1000 for citizens of China and other international nations.

Related Blogs
Language Translate »