One of the three Durbar squares in the Kathmandu valley, Patan Durbar Square is one of the major tourist attractions with its beautiful, intricately carved palaces and temples of high religious and cultural values. Formerly belonging to the royal family of Patan, the square is a specimen for the religious and social life of the people showcased by the settlements and the museums that store the images, idols and objects of the eras gone by. The square is an enthralling tourist destination with peaceful courtyards, beautiful pagoda temples and many other artistic masterpieces. The main attractions of the square are a number of temples, stupas and architectural monuments that are described below.
It is one of the quaintest stone architectural monuments in Nepal built by Siddhi Narsingh Malla in the 17th century. The first storey of the temple holds various scenes from the epic Mahabharata while the pavilions of the second storey hold friezes from the Ramayana. Right in front of the temple, above a stone pillar, stands a metal statue of Garuda, the mount of Lord Krishna.
It is a temple made up of clay bricks engraved with thousands of pictures of Lord Buddha, making it the perfect example of the terra cotta art form of the fourteenth century.
Known as “Kwa Bahal” in the native language, the 12th century monastery houses a three storey golden pagoda of lord Lokeshwor. With exquisite woodwork and golden images of Lord Buddha, it is a truly spiritual and artistic temple for the devotees.
The great Indian emperor Ashoka, during his visit in 250 B.S constructed 4 stupas in the Patan area that are located in 4 corners namely; Ebahl, Pulchowk, Lagankhel and Teta, that stand as evidence to the historic and religious importance of Patan.
Rato Machchhindranath Temple
Rato Machchhindranath is regarded as the guardian of the valley and a temple is built in Patan with a courtyard that has a prayer wheel and chortens where the statue resides for six months. The statue is moved to its original temple in Bungmati which is believed to be the birthplace of Rato Machchhindranath.
Surya Binayak Temple
Among the numerous temples of Lord Ganesh in the valley, this one holds a stone statue of the God and allows some charming view of the Bagmati valley and Bungmati.
Behind the Ashokan pillar in Pulchowk, lies a Mahavihar named Achheshwor Mahadev. It was constructed in the early 17th century and has undergone a reconstruction recently.
One of the oldest temples of Lord Shiva in Patan, Kumbeshwor is a five storey pagoda style temple built in 1392. The two ponds of this temple are believed to be connected to Gosaikunda (a sacred Hindu lake north of Kathmandu) by a subterranean channel. The temple is visited by thousands on the day of Janai Purnima , who come there to worship the silver sheath covered Shiva Linga in the temple.
To the southern side of the Kumbeshwor lies the single storey Banglamukhi temple, where the shrine of the Goddess is worshipped and is decorated with green painted woodwork. Goddess Banglamukhi is personified by a tiny image covered by a silver toran and canopy of snakes and it is believed that worshipping the Goddess would fulfill the wishes of the devotees.
Rudra Varna Mahavihar
The Buddhist monastery here is believed to be the coronation place of the kings in ancient times. The monastery holds a number of idols and images of metal, wood and stone and even stores a number of treasures offered by the devotees.
Jagat Narayan Temple
It is a red bricked, Shikhara-styled temple of Lord Bishnu that also boasts fine metal statues of Garuda, Lord Ganesh and Hanuman.
In addition to the temples, the chowks or courtyards are also a major part of the tourist destination. These open spaces housing the historic and architectural gems like the temples and palaces are also alive with the local residents in their traditional attires and lifestyles which allow you a glimpse into the Newari lifestyle of the area. The most frequented main chowks are – the Mul chowk (the largest courtyard), the Sundari chowk (the one with the Taleju temple) and Keshav Narayan Chowk( northern part of the area with the dominating Degutale temple).