7 Best Highlights of the Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square is a humble abode for domestic visitors and international travelers to appreciate Nepal’s architectural, cultural foundation. The landmark is a UNESCO world heritage sites that acknowledges Nepal’s long history and aesthetic characteristics. Locally the durbar square is addressed as Hanuman Dhoka or Basantapur. The palace is a masterpiece of medieval period architecture.

Durbar square was built with the hard work and talent of the local craftsmen and builders using then local technology and local materials. Moreover, the unique layout, composition, and decoration of the Kathmandu Durbar Square represent its architectural aesthetics and philosophy, have a unique character and radiate attractive artistic charm. Everything regarding the Durbar Square describes the religious architectures, realizing the religious doctrine of harmony. It is a beautiful creation of medieval Nepal. Therefore, it is one of the best attractions of the city. Henceforth, we shed light on the 7 best highlights of Kathmandu Durbar Square in this blog for interested travelers. Read through the blog and see what to look forward to on their visit to the cultural site. 

Hanuman Dhoka Durbar

Hanuman Dhoka Durbar is a complex of structures of the royal palaces, quadrangles, towers, temples, monuments, and other sites of the Malla and the Shah Dynasty rulers of Kathmandu, Nepal. Dhokha literally means door, and Durbar translates as the palace. The palace is the center of the cultural and historical core of Kathmandu valley. Hanumandhoka Durbar gets its name from the stone image of “Hanuman” (a Hindu deity), whom the Malla and the Shah rulers believed protected them from their evils and their enemies.

Giant statues of hanuman are located near the palace’s main entrance gate. Pratap Malla, in 1672, installs the figure of the deity at the entrance of the Durbar. Now, the palace is a museum under the attention of the government of Nepal. Inside the palace, visitors can observe the Malla and Shah Dynasty’s long history and visit numerous chowks (courtyards) surrounding the palace. Some of the notable chowks inside the palace are Mohan Chowk, Nasal Chowk, Sundar Chowk, and Mul Chowk. These chowks boast medieval art’s finest works utilizing all media ranging from metal, stone, and wood to paintings alike.

Kasthamandap

Kasthamandap is a three-storied public shelter that included a shrine consecrated to Gorakshanath situated a few minutes away from the main royal palace. Over the years, Kasthamandap underwent various upgrades, transformations, and renovations. Kasthamandap is also the largest structure ever constructed in the typical triple-tiered roofing style. Although it housed several shrines, Kasthamandap was primarily devoted to multiple secular functions: rest-house, council hall, social center, the marketplace, and more.

Taleji Temple

Taleju Temple is considered the most prominent temple of the entire Hanumandhoka Palace premises in architectural and cultural significance. No other buildings in the valley, including the palace monuments, were allowed to be built more significantly than the temple justifies the importance of the goddess for the Malla monarchs. It has managed to create a majestic grandeur around it, especially with its rich architecture. The Taleju Bhawani temple is an annex to the Kathmandu Hanumandhoka Durbar complex. It stands on a base-mound in a vast courtyard.

Kumari Ghar

The Kumari Ghar is a three-storey brick architecture overlooking the south side of Durbar Square, richly adorned with gods and figures’ wood-carved engravings. Kumari Ghar houses the living goddess of Kathmandu. Built-in 1757, the temple is known for its magnificent carvings as well as its divine inhabitant. The courtyard of the Kumari Ghar is accessible to tourists. The entrance and the whole building, the pillars, and the windows are decorated with more captivating illustrations. Photos are permitted in the yard, but it is strictly forbidden to photograph the Kumari.

Trailokya Mohan

Trailokya Mohan temple was built in 1680 in the dedication of the Hindu deity Vishnu/Narayan. The temple is a few distances away from the Kumari Ghar. It is built on a red platform and it three-storied temple. In front of the temple, a giant statue of Garuda is situated.  Temple adorns the carved roof struts and window screens with decoratively carved medallions.

Basantapur Tower

Located on the south side of the Nassal Chowk, the Basantapur tower is built on a rectangular plan. It has nine stories, hence locally, it is called nautale (9 floors) Durbar. The building consists of a four-tiered roof and a copper pinnacle at the top. This thirty-meter-high tower was built to create a pleasant pavilion and was named Basantapur Tower. One of the tallest buildings, a panoramic view of the city, is visible from the tower’s small wooden.

Courtyards and Quadrangles

Insides the palace, there are several quadrangles and courtyards. Some of the notable squares are Nasal Chowk, Sundar Chowk, Lahan Chowk, Mul Chowk, and others. These courtyards boast medieval art’s finest works utilizing all media ranging from metal, stone, and wood to paintings alike.

How to get to Kathmandu Durbar Square?

Kathmandu Durbar Square is situated in the central part of the city. There are several bus routes and transportation facilities to reach durbar square. However, the easiest way to get here would be to take a taxi from your location. Also, if you are staying anywhere near Thamel, you can reach the heritage site on foot. Navigating the route along with Tahiti to Ason and then to Indra Chowk, you will eventually get Durbar Square. 

What is the entrance fee?

The entrance fee to enter Kathmandu Durbar Square is Rs. 1000 per head for international visitors. And it cost Rs. 150 per head for visitors from SAARC countries.

Most of the monument of the cultural site was destroyed in the massive earthquake of 2015. The government is gradually working on rebuilding the heritage sites. Now besides a few monuments and temples, most of the rebuilding work has been completed. Therefore, travelers can still relish the ancient artworks performed on these heritage sites.

About Author

Balaram Thapa

Balaram Thapa, an executive director at Nepal Hiking Team had a long journey before making NHT one of the revolutionary tour operators in this competitive field of Tourism. He finished his Bachelor’s degree in Travel and Tourism from Tribhuwan University in the year 2000.


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