Things to See in Patan Durbar Square Attractions

Patan Durbar Square a “City of Fine Arts” is the must visit famous destination town inside of the Kathmandu Valley. The beautiful sculptures and architectural monuments in and around the Patan Durbar Square are from the 16th century and onwards. However, scientifically reliable documents that are available record shows the history of Patan goes back to the Licchhavi period on the basis of an inscription on the Manga Hiti (Water spouts) dated 570 AD which was constructed by Bharbi (grandson of Mandev).

patan durbar square

It is also said that the Indian emperor Ashoka, who had a big contribution to spread and developed the Buddhism, have set up the four stupas outside corner of the Palace.

However, most of the monuments of this palace Complex were built during the reign of King Siddhi Narsingh Malla (1618 – 1661 AD), the first independent Malla dynasty king of Patan. So, many kings of Malla dynasty ruled, worshipped and lived in Lalitpur and that’s why the Patan durbar square is bounded on all four sides by inspirational ancients’ temples and monuments. We can find the various style of architectural structure that is portray around the square. Another king Yognarendra Malla (1684-1705 AD) created the temple of Manimandap and his own statute on the capital of stone pillar.

Later, Patan was conquered by Late King Prithivi Narayan Shah the great of Ghorkha without massacre in 1768 AD.
Patan has its own special identity and travelling from Kathmandu to Patan is like crossing from one town to the other. But, when one goes into the Patan Durbar Square, he/she shift into a different world completely.

Main Attraction of Patan Durbar Square Complex

Now, we are entering into the Patan durbar square. The main attractions are its ancient temple and monuments which has a long and a glorious history. However, here we go to visit different ancient temples and monuments which are major attraction part of the area.

1. Hiryanya Varna – Mahabihar (Golden Temple):

Golden Temple – Patan

This Buddha shrine is only 3 to 4 minutes of walking distance from the durbar square complex which is popularly known as a golden temple of Buddha in Patan. It is the oldest, richest and most famous monument without a doubt. It is said that the temple was built in 12th century by King Bhaskar Verma. It is three storey pagoda style golden temple dedicated to the Shakyamuni Buddha who was born in Lumbini. Inside the temple at the upper part of the storey within the pagoda have exclusive depictions of Amoghpash Lokeshwor along with a large prayer wheel. You can find attractive carvings on its wall surfaces and art paintings depicting an extensive functional life history of Buddha.

Fact and Features of all Mahabihar

Moreover, vihara is also known as Buddhist monastery. Since, the Buddha life Vihara is connected. Shakyamuni Buddha is the main god of every Vihara. Besides this, there are Panchadyani Buddha, Tara, Lokeshwor, bodhisattvas’ statues are also keeping. In 12 to 18th century Buddhism collapsed in India and flourished in Nepal – Patan the most. There are 300 + Vihara in Patan. Vihar main temple is in Nepali pagoda style. In the Bihar, door always in eastside and in the front of gate there are two lion’s statue male and female guarded as the symbol of power of protection deity. Kundari is the first bihar of Nepal lies in southwest part of Nepal at Lumbini. In Vihara architecture; metal and wood art has good combination. Materials- bricks, wood, mud, metal, stone have used to make bihar.

2. Kumbeshwor Mahadev Hindu Temple of Patan:

This temple also can be reach by walking 5 to 7 minutes from the main durbar square complex. It is one of the two five-storied temple in Kathmandu valley, another is Nyatapole temple Bhaktapur. Actually, this Kumbeshwor Manadeva temple is devoted to lord Shiva (A destroyer God). It is the second popular religious temple after Pashupatinath. It is believed that in this Kumbeshwor temple the lord Shiva stay for six months each year during the winter before departure to spend the summer with his spouse Parvati on the top of Gaurishanker which is 43 km north of Kathmandu. This five-roofs pagoda style temple of lord Shiva was built in the 14th century (around 1392 AD) during the supremacy of King Jayasthiti Malla that makes it the oldest temple in Patan. At the time of the sacred thread festival (Janae Purnima or Raksha Bandhan) which commencing on the full moon day of August, here in Kumbeshwor a religious fair held.

(Kumbeshwor Mahadev Temple) Photo Courtesy: Bijaya2043
Fact and Features of Hindu Temple

House of god is called temple. If I tell you about the temple architecture then there are different style of temple like Shikhara style, Dome style and Mix style of temple. Multi Roof styles of temple are called Nepali style of Temple. Which is also called Pagoda style or Mandapa style or Newar style. Nepali style of temple came from Licchhavi period. But, the recent design is from recent architecture.

  • The features of Nepali style temple are in Square/Rectangular plan and another, built on multi – plinth.
  • Have a steep to reach to temple.
  • Four Door (It is said that from 4 faces has to worship from four direction).
  • Circular path to make a round.
  • Upper part of temple door or gate (Shiva Murti or Bishnu Murti) – Tympanum or Toran.
  • At the ground floor sanctum.
  • Support by wooden struts which are in 45 – degree scale.
  • At upper part storey – Non-functional Window and Non-functional floor
  • Wind bell – Decorative purpose.
  • Pinnacle of Metal at the top (Symbolize Five gods – Surya, Ganesh, Devi, Bishnu and at Middle Shiva)
  • Materials – brick, stone, wood, lime Morter, Surki (Pest of brick).

3. Sikhara Architecture of Krishna Mandir in Patan Durbar Square:

Krishna Mandir Patan

The Krishna temple on the west side of Patan’s Durbar square was built in 1636. Legend says that it was built because of a dream. One night, King Siddhi Narsingh Malla dreamt that the gods Krishna and Radha were standing in front of the palace. The King ordered a temple built on the same spot. During a war with a neighboring kingdom a decade later, the King emerged victorious after calling on Krishna to vanquish his enemies. In gratitude, the King built a replica of the temple inside the Sundari Chowk courtyard. The Krishna temple is built in the Shikhara style, imported from India. Beneath its 21 golden pinnacles are three floors. The first floor enshrines Krishna, the second Shiva, and the third Lokeshwor. Krishna Mandir is the first example of Shikhara style architecture in Nepal.

Fact, History and Features of Sikhara Architecture Temple in Nepal

Shikhara style temple is like a shape of mountain peak. Other name of Shikhara style are Nagara Style/ Beasara Style/Dravida Style/ Ratha Style/ Northern Style. South Indian – Beasara and Dravida style of temple. Nagara style is famous in Nepal Mainly Kathmandu and western Nepal. Important temple of Shikhara style are: Krishna temple and Mahabouddha temple of Patan. Vatsala, Siddi Laxmi Temple and Narayan Temple of Bhaktapur, Shiva Mandir of Kathmandu, Annantapur and Pratappur of Monkey temple. Oldest temple of Shikhara style – Binayak Panchadeval of Achham (13th century) western part of Nepal. Origin of Shikhara style temple is from India since Vedic time (3500 years ago). In Nepal, Licchhavi period sikhara style temple came down. Actually, they brought from India.

  • Features of Shikhara style are in square plan. In Kathmandu, built in Multiplinth.
  • Circular path
  • Having no roof
  • Door only one
  • False door/window (Look like but, cannot open)
  • Sanctum at ground floor
  • Outer wall carving
  • In Kathmandu pinnacles are from Metal
  • Material stone & Brick
  • Rare use of wooden materials
  • Three types of joint in Shikhara style (Internal lock system, Lock system by pin and Lime/Surki/Morter.)
  • Dome style is a mix of Nepali and Sikhara Style. It is Mughal influences. (Taj Mahal of India and Mosque of Muslim).

4. Another attraction of Patan durbar Square consists of three main chowks (courtyards): Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Keshav Narayan Chowk.

Mul Chowk :

Mul Chowk is the largest of the three main courtyard of the palace where two lions guard the entrance to the courtyard. Srinivasa Malla who ruled from 1661 AD to 1684 AD completed the construction of Mul Chowk which was started by his father (Siddhi Narsingh Malla) and other he enlarged the temple of Taleju and Bhimsen as well.

Sundari Chowk :
sundari chowk

Which is south of Mul chowk holds in its center the Royal Bath called Tushahity (Sunken water tank), a masterpiece of stone architecture was constructed by Siddhi Narsingh Malla in 1647 AD. There are 72 Stone figures of tantric Hindu deities Narayan and Lakshmi is made on it. There you can see massive stone platform in front of Tusha Hiti. In addition, there are 550 engraved wooden Shiva Lingas around the Sundari Chowk palace. The King Siddhi Narsingh Malla also constructed the temple of Taleju and Bhandarkhal pond.

Keshav Narayan Chowk:
keshav narayan chowk

It is the northernmost courtyard is the most important and one of the oldest courtyards of this Palace Complex. The site is the earliest Malla palace in Lalitpur and Patan Museum is housed in a courtyard. A temple standing at the center of the courtyard dedicated to Keshavnarayan- a form of Lord Vishnu with four armed. This part is recorded in the history as Chaukot Durbar or four-cornered-fort-palace.

5. Mahaboudha Temple of Patan Made of Terracotta Bricks:

Also known as temple of thousand Buddhas is a Shikhar style Buddhist temple. It is made of terracotta bricks with fine statues and carvings. In the 1500 AD a priest from Patan named Abhaya Raj Shakya visited the famous Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya temple in India. Whilst in Bodhgaya he studied coin making. Back in Kathmandu he obtained permission to begin a royal pristine in his courtyard. In 1564 he began construction of this Mahabouddha temple however he died when only foundation was constructed. After that, each of five Abhaya’s sons worked on finishing temple.

The Mahabouddha temple was finished in 1600. It took three generations effort and 36 years’ time period (1564 AD to 1600 AD) to complete this temple. The temple was severely damaged in the earthquake of 1934 and an extensive restoration project facilitated much of the repairs. Due to bad impact of the earthquake and again in 1999 AD as maintenance by Mahabouddha temple preservation organization.

6. Rato Machhendranath and Minnath Temple of Patan:

Rato (red) Machhendranath temple is situated in Tabahal i.e south of durbar square, on the western side of the road. Rato machhendranath is the god of rain, and is said to have various incarnations. To the Buddhists, he is the tantric edition of Avalokiteshwor while to Hindus he is a version of Shiva. The present three storey temple of Rato Machhendranath dates back from 1673 AD and stands in a large courtyard. But the earlier temple may have existed on the site since 1408.

The temple has four carved doorways each guarded by lion figures. Rato Machhendranath also known as Avalokiteshwor and is kept here for six months and another six months in Bungamati. Nearby Rato Machhendranath temple has a two storey temple dedicated to the Buddhist Bodhisatva who is considered to be the little brother of Rato Machhendranath. The temple dates back from 3rd to 9th century AD, but has gone through several restorations. The roof struts carved with figures of multi-armed goddess are the main features of Minnath temple. The festival starts on the last week of May or Early June. It is celebrated as the god of harvest. (48ft tall Chariot).


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