Patan Durbar Square

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Patan Durbar Square in 2014

Patan Durbar Square is situated at the centre of the city of Lalitpur in Nepal. It is one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of its attraction is the ancient royal palace where the Malla Kings of Lalitpur resided.

The Durbar Square is a marvel of Newar architecture. The Square floor is tiled with red bricks.[1] There are many temples and idols in the area. The main temples are aligned opposite of the western face of the palace.[2] The entrance of the temples faces east, towards the palace. There is also a bell situated in the alignment beside the main temples.[3] The Square also holds old Newari residential houses. There are various other temples and structures in and around Patan Durbar Square built by the Newa People.

The square was heavily damaged on 25 April 2015 baisakh 12 by a major earthquake.[4][5]

Destruction in earthquake


The history of the Durbar Square is not clear. Although the Malla Kings of Lalitpur are given credit for establishing the royal square, it is known that the site is an ancient crossroad. The Pradhanas who settled around the site before the Mallas have connections with the Durbar Square.[1] Some chronicles hint that the history of Patan Thakuri Dynasty built a palace and made reforms to the locality but the evidence is minute. Scholars are certain that Patan was a prosperous city since ancient times.[6]

The Malla Kings did make important changes to the square. Most of the current architecture is from the 1600s, constructed during the reign of King Siddhinarasimha Malla and his son Srinivasa sukriti. Some of the notable Mallas Kings who improved the square include Purandarasimha, Sivasimha Malla and Yoganarendra Malla.[1][6]

Important buildings[edit]

Statue of Lion in Patan Durbar Square

Patan is one of the oldest known Buddhist cities. It is a center of both Hinduism and Buddhism with 136 bahals or courtyards and 55 major temples.[7] Most of these structures are in the vicinity of the Durbar Square.

Krishna Mandir[edit]

Krishna temple is the most important temple in Patan Durbar Square.[8] It is built in the Shikhara style imported from India although it is unique in its own way. The stone carvings along the beam above the first and second-floor pillar are most notable. The first floor pillar carvings narrate the events of the Mahabharata, while on the second floor there are visual carvings from Ramayana.[8][9]

The temple was built in 1637 by King Siddhi Narasimha Malla. It is said that one night the King saw the Lord Krishna and his consort Srimati Radha standing in front of the royal palace. He ordered a temple to be built on the same spot.[10] There are 21 golden pinnacles in the temple. Below the pinnacles are 3 stories. The first floor holds the main shrine of Lord Krishna with shrines of Radha and Rukmini at each side. The second floor is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the third to Lokeshwor(Lord Buddha).[1][10]

The square is crowded with thousands of Hindu Pilgrims and devotees during Krishnastami.[11]

Bhimsen Temple[edit]

Bhimsen Mandir 03

Bhimsen temple was built by Srinivasa Malla in 1680. It is renowned for its three interconnected golden windows. Bhimsen is a great personality in Mahabharata. He was known to be very brave and strong. In Newa: Tradition, he is worshipped as a god of business and trade.[1][12] Tourists are not allowed inside the temple.[13]

Vishwanath Temple[edit]

Vishwanath temple is dedicated to God Shiva. It was built in 1627 during the reign of Siddhinarasimha Malla. The roof supports are decorated with erotic carvings similar to imagery widespread in Shiva temples in India. The temple is guarded by two stone elephants in the front entrance. On the other side of the temple is the sculpture of a bull, Shiva’s vehicle. A stone linga is enshrined inside the temple.[1][14][15]

Taleju Bhawani Temple[edit]

Taleju temple was built by Siddhi Narasimha Malla in 1640 and rebuilt by Srinivasa Malla in 1667 after a fire. Taleju Bhawani was the personal deity of the Malla kings. It is a five-storey temple with triple-roofs.[16] 14th Century chronicle of Gopala kings hint a Taleju temple was built by the Pradhanas before the Mallas.[1]

Layout of the Palace[edit]

The three main courtyards in the palace are Mul Chok, Sundari Chok and Keshav Narayan Chok. Besides these courtyards, the complex boasts impressive temples, religious shrines, and historical places, all noted for their exquisite carvings and beautiful display of ancient Newari architecture.[2] [17] [18]

Keshav Narayan Chowk[edit]

Keshav Narayan Chowk

Keshav Narayan Chowk is, inside the Patan Museum, to the north of the Mul Chowk. At the center of this chowk, Keshav Narayan Temple is located which gave the name to this chowk.

Mul Chok[edit]

Mul chowk, Patan Durbar Square
Mul Chok is the central courtyard. It is the most famous and largest courtyards among the three main chowks.
Mul Chok is the central courtyard. It is the most famous and largest courtyards among the three main chowks.

Mul Chok is the central courtyard. It is the most famous and largest courtyards among the three main chowks. At its center is located Vidya Temple, and Taleju temples stand around the courtyard. The doorway to the Shrine of Taleju, on the southern side of the courtyard, is confined by the statues of the river goddesses Ganga, on a tortoise, and Jamuna, on a carved makura (mythical crocodile).[19]

Sundari Chok[edit]

Tusha Hiti

Sundari Chok is to the south of the Mul Chok. It is designed with sunken tank known as Tusha Hiti. Smaller than the Mul Chok, it is now open to the public. The entrance of the chowk is guarded by the stone statues of Hanuman, Ganesh and Narasingha, man-lion form of Vishnu[20]

Inside the Patan Durbar Square Photo gallery[edit]


Coordinates: 27°40′23.04″N 85°19′32.57″E / 27.6730667°N 85.3257139°E / 27.6730667; 85.3257139