Some of the best artisans in the valley are found in Patan, also known as “Lalitpur,” the city of artisans, which lies 5 kilometers southeast of Kathmandu. Patan Durbar Square is one of the three durbar squares that are all included as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These artisans have maintained traditional techniques like repoussé and the lost wax method of producing beautiful sculptures.
The city retains its original splendor with its narrow streets, brick homes, and a profusion of well-preserved Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries (vihars), and monuments. The most frequent sound in Patan is the tinkering of craftsmen hunched over the statuettes they are molding. Hinduism and Buddhism have coexisted and influenced each other in this metropolis for millennia, and both Kathmandu and this city exhibit exceptional religious harmony.
Located in the heart of the city, Patan Durbar Square was formerly the royal palace of the Patan kings. An exhibition of Newari architecture at its pinnacle under the authority of the Malla kings, the plaza is a stunning combination of royal structures, grand courtyards, and graceful pagoda temples. The renovated Keshav Narayan Chowk has been transformed into a bronze artifact museum in one of its many courtyards. The Sundari Chowk is a collection of exquisite wood carvings, stone sculptures, and metal sculptures, including Tusha Hiti’s underground bath.
Two instances of its splendor include the stunning Krishna Temple, constructed in 1637 and boasting 21 gilded spires, and the Manga Hiti, a hidden stone water spout in the palace complex. Shikhara-inspired architecture is thought to have first appeared in Nepal at the Krishna Temple, which is entirely composed of stone.
It’s unclear what Durbar Square’s history is. The royal square was first thought to have been built by the Malla Kings of Lalitpur. However, it is an old crossroads. The Durbar Square has ties to the Pradhanas, who inhabited the area before the Mallas. There is little concrete evidence to support some historical accounts’ assertions that the Thakuri dynasty improved the area and erected a palace. Patan was undoubtedly a flourishing city in antiquity, according to scholars.
The square underwent significant alterations under the Malla Kings. The majority of the present-day buildings date back to the 1600s when they were built under the rule of King Siddhi Narsingh Malla and his son Srinivasa Sukriti. Purandarasimha, Sivasimha Mall, and Yoganarendra Mall are a few of the noteworthy Malla Kings who made improvements to the square.
One of the first Buddhist cities is Patan. With 136 bahals, courtyards, and 55 significant temples, it serves as a center for both Buddhism and Hinduism. The majority of these buildings are located close to Durbar Square. Some of the major attractions are described below:
Museum in Patan
This museum, which houses bronze statues and religious items, is situated inside Durbar Square. As one of Asia’s premier museums, it is highly acclaimed.
Hiranya Varna Mahavihar
This three-story Lokeshwar (Lord Buddha) pagoda was built inside kwabadehul in the twelfth century by King Bhaskar Verma. It is made of gold. Its claim to fame is the “Golden Temple.” Inside the pagoda’s upper storey are two large prayer wheels and two golden sculptures of Lord Buddha.
This was specifically built for King Siddhi Narasingha Malla. His devotion to Lord Krishna and the Buddhist compassion God Karunamaya Lokeshwar is a well-known event in Nepalese religious history.
Temple of Mahaboudha
Featuring five golden pinnacles, this Buddhist temple is constructed in a fascinating Hindu Shikara style. They are shaped like stupas, powerful metaphors for the fundamental components.
Patan’s golden Buddha temple is the oldest, wealthiest, and most well-known landmark in the world. With its exquisite gold decorations, the building dates back to the 12th century.
The renowned temple, the temple of Lord Krishna, constructed in the 17th century, is located in a prominent area of Patan’s palace complex. It is the only temple in Nepal that is entirely made of stone and has 21 shrines. Most of the significant incidents from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, two ancient Hindu epics, have been carved on their frescoes.
Srinivasa Malla constructed the Bhimsen (Bhin:dya) temple around 1680. It is well known for having three linked golden windows. In the Mahabharata, Bhimsen is a great character. He was well-recognized for his courage and power. He is traditionally revered as a god of commerce and business in Newa. Inside the temple, visitors are not permitted.
Temple of Vishwanath
God Shiva is honored at the Vishwanath Temple. In 1627, it was constructed by Siddhi Narsingh Malla. The roof supports are adorned with sexual carvings that resemble popular images found in Indian Shiva temples. Two stone elephants defend the front entrance of the temple. The sculpture of a bull, Shiva’s chariot, is on the opposite side of the temple. Inside the temple, a stone linga is revered.
The palace has three main courtyards: Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk, and Keshav Narayan Chowk. In addition to these courtyards, the complex contains spectacular temples, churches, and historical sites, all known for their delicate carvings and stunning examples of early Newari architecture.
The Keshav Narayan Chowk
To the north of Mul Chowk lies Keshav Narayan Chowk, located inside the Patan Museum. The Keshav Narayan Temple, which sits in the middle of the chowk, is where the name of the chowk originates.
The main courtyard is called Mul Chowk. Of the three main chowks, it is both the most well-known and the largest courtyard. The plaza is surrounded by Taleju temples, with the Vidya Temple in its center. The statues of the river goddesses Jamuna on a carved makura and Ganga on a tortoise encircle the entrance to the Shrine of Taleju on the southern side of the courtyard (mythical crocodile).
The Mul Chowk is located south of Sundari Chowk. It is built with a submerged tank called Tusha Hiti. It is now open to the public and is smaller than Mul Chowk. Stone statues of Hanuman, Ganesh, and Nara Singha, a man-lion form of Vishnu, stand to watch at the chowk’s entrance.
As one approaches the chowk, one may notice several neighborhood stores providing typical Newari food. Yomari, kachela, chhoila, black beans, beaten rice, and vegetables are all staples of Newari cuisine, in addition to the rice-based drink called chhyang. Sundari Chowk is famed for its nightlife, and recently, a massive self-illuminating moon was installed there, drawing visitors and locals to the area.
Q: What year did Patan Durbar Square become a World Heritage Site?
1979 AD marked the designation of Patan Durbar Square as a World Heritage Site.
Q: Why was Patan Durbar Square designated as a World Heritage Site?
The popular tourist destination is Patan Durbar Square. Ancient sites, temples, and shrines known for their magnificent carvings are everywhere throughout the plaza. The former royal palace complex, which also houses a museum with various bronze statues and sacred items, is the hub of Patan’s religious and social life.
Q: Who was the creator of Patan Durbar Square?
The square underwent significant alterations under the Malla Kings. The majority of the present-day buildings date back to the 1600s when they were built under the rule of King Siddhi Narsingh Malla and his son Srinivasa Sukriti.