Patan Durbar Square – And History
Patan, also known as “A City of Fine Arts,” is a destination in the Kathmandu valley that absolutely cannot be missed. Patan is also known as Lalitpur, and it is situated five kilometers to the south of the capital city of Kathmandu. Patan is the oldest city in Nepal and serves as the district capital of Lalitpur. The breathtaking sculpture and architecture that can be found in Patan Durbar Square dates back to the 16th century and even further.
Patan Durbar Square’s History
If we look at the history of Patan, we find that, according to sources that are accepted in the scientific community, Patan’s history dates back to the Licchhavi period. This is demonstrated by an inscription that was placed on the Manga Hiti (Water Spouts), which was built by Bharbi (grandson of Mandev) on the date 570 AD. It is also said that Emperor Ashoka, who made a significant contribution to the expansion and development of Buddhism between the years 304 and 233 B.C., was responsible for the construction of the four stupas that can be found outside of the corner of the palace.
Nevertheless, the majority of the palace’s monuments were built during the reign of King Siddhi Narsingh Malla (1618–1661 AD), who was Patan’s first independent Malla dynasty king. This king oversaw the construction of the palace complex. As a consequence of this, numerous Malla royal families ruled, worshipped, and resided in the area now known as Lalitpur. As a consequence of this, Patan durbar square is surrounded on all four sides by historically significant temples and monuments. In the surrounding area, we can make out a variety of architectural styles represented in the buildings. Around the square, there are numerous examples of different architectural styles that have been reflected in the buildings.
After that, in the year 1768 AD, the late King Prithivi Narayan Shah the Great of Gorkha successfully took control of the city of Patan without resorting to violence. The journey from Kathmandu to Patan felt more like traveling through a town than the actual journey itself due to Patan’s unique character. But when you step into Patan Durbar Square, you are busy to a totally different place.
The Complex of Patan Durbar Square’s Primary Tourist Attraction
Ancient temples and monuments with rich and well-known historical sites are the primary attractions to the tourist industry. Still, here is a list of ancient temples and monuments that are some of the most popular places for tourists to visit in the area:
Hiryanya Varna Mahabihar (Golden Temple): This Buddha shrine is only three to four minutes’ walking distance from the complex that is commonly known as the Golden Temple of Buddha in Patan. This temple is also known as the Hiryanya Varna Mahabihar. It is without a doubt the oldest structure, the richest one, and the most well-known one. It is said that King Bhaskar Verma constructed the temple sometime in the 12th century. It is a golden pagoda-style temple with three stories that is dedicated to Shakyamuni Buddha, who was born in the forest of Lumbini. In the interior of the temple, on the upper level of the storied pagoda, there are exclusive depictions of Amoghpash Lokeshwor, as well as a sizable prayer wheel. Its walls are adorned with paintings and carvings that depict Buddha’s extensive and functional life history. Some of these carvings are quite beautiful.
Each and Every Mahavihar Tradition’s Information
A Buddhist monastery is also sometimes referred to as a vihara. Vihara has been connected ever since the life of the Buddha. Shakyamuni Buddha is revered as the supreme deity in each and every vihara. In addition to this, there are statues of the Panchadyani Buddha, Tara, Lokeshwor, and various bodhisattvas that are kept. During the 12th to the 18th centuries, Buddhism was on the decline in India but flourishing in Nepal, particularly in Patan. Patan is home to more than 300 different types of vihara.
The primary temple in Vehar is designed in the Nepali pagoda style. In Bihar, the door is always positioned on the east side of the building, and in front of the gate is a pair of lion statues—one male and one female—that serve as guards as a representation of the power of the protective deity. The first Bihar of Nepal, Kundari, can be found in Lumbini, which is located in the southwestern region of Nepal. The combination of metal and wood in Vihara architecture makes for an attractive aesthetic. Bricks, wood, mud, metal, and stone are some of the materials that have been used to make Bihar.
The Kumbeshwor Mahadev Temple: It will take you between five and seven minutes to walk there from the main complex of the Durbar Square. It is one of the two temples in the Kathmandu valley that has five stories; the other one is the Nyatapole temple in Bhaktapur. In point of fact, the worship of Lord Shiva is the focus of this Kumbeshwor Mahadeva temple (a destroyer God).
After Pashupatinath, this is the second most frequented place of worship in all of Nepal. It is widely held that Lord Shiva spends six months of each year during the winter in the Kumbeshwor temple. After that, it is believed that he travels to the summit of Gaurishanker, which is located 43 kilometers north of Kathmandu, to spend the summer with his spouse, Parvati. This pagoda-style temple dedicated to Lord Shiva was constructed in the 14th century (around 1392 AD) during the reign of King Jayasthiti Malla, making it Patan’s oldest temple. It has five roofs and is designed in the style of a pagoda. A religious fair is held in Kumbeshwor during the time of the sacred thread festival, also known as Janae Purnima or Raksha Bandhan. This festival begins on the day that the full moon occurs in August.
The History and Characteristics of All Hindu Temples
A temple is another name for the House of God. If I were to tell you about the architecture of temples, I would tell you that there are many different styles of temples, such as the Shikhara style, the Dome style, and the Mix style. The style of the temple with multiple roofs is known as the Nepali style of temple. which is also referred to as the Newar style, the Mandapa style, and the Pagoda style. The Licchhavi period is when temples in the Nepali style first appeared. Modern design, on the other hand, is inspired by contemporary architecture.
- A temple designed in the Nepali style will typically have a square or rectangular floor plan, and it will also be built on multiple plinths.
- In order to get to the temple, you have to climb a steep hill.
- Four-Door (According to legend, four faces must worship from four directions).
- A revolving or circular path to take.
- The upper portion of the temple door or gate, also known as the tympanum or torans (Shiva Murti or Vishnu Murti),
- The sanctum always on the ground floor.
- Supported by wooden struts that are oriented at a 45-degree angle to one another.
- At the upper part of the story, there is a window that does not function and a floor that does not function.
- Wind chimes serve primarily an aesthetic purpose.
- The Metal Pinnacle at the very top (represents the Five Gods: Surya, Ganesh, Devi, Vishnu, and Middle Shiva)
- Brick, stone, wood, lime mortar, and Surki are the materials that are used to build the temple.
Krishna Mandir: The Krishna temple, which is located on the western side of Patan’s Durbar square, was constructed in the year 1636. It is said in the legend that it was constructed because of a dream. King Siddhi Narsingh Malla had a dream once that the gods Krishna and Radha were in front of the palace. In the dream, they were holding hands. The King gave the order to construct a temple in the same location.
A decade later, when the kingdom was engaged in conflict with one of its neighbors, the king eventually conquered after praying to Krishna for help in defeating his foes. In an expression of his appreciation, the King constructed an exact copy of the temple within the Sundari Chowk courtyard. The Shikhara architectural style was brought all the way from India to be used in the construction of the Krishna temple. Three levels can be found beneath the structure’s 21 golden peaks. On the ground level is an altar dedicated to Krishna, on the second floor to Shiva, and on the third floor to Lokeshwor. The Krishna Mandir in Nepal is the country’s first building to be designed in the Shikhara style.
Facts, History, and Characteristics of the Shikhara Style of Architecture Found in Nepalese Temples
A mountain peak inspired the design of this temple, built in the shikhara style. The Shikhara style is also known as the Nagara style, the Beasara style, the Dravida style, the Ratha style, and the Northern style. South Indian temples designed in the Besara and Dravida traditions. The Nagara style is well-known throughout Nepal, particularly in Kathmandu and the western regions of the country. Both the Krishna temple and the Mahabouddha temple in Patan are significant examples of the Shikhara architectural style. The places of worship include the Siddi Laxmi Temple and the Narayan Temple, both located in Bhaktapur; the Shiva Mandir located in Kathmandu; Anantapur; and Pratappur, which is the location of the Monkey Temple.
The oldest temple built in the Shikhara architectural style is located in Nepal’s western region. This temple, Binayak Panchadeval, dates back to the 13th century. The Shikhara-style temple can be traced back to India as far as the Vedic period (3500 years ago). In Nepal, a temple from the Licchhavi period that was built in the shikhara style was destroyed. In point of fact, they came all the way from India.
- The Shikhara style is characterized by its use of a square floor plan. A built-in Multiplinth can be found in Kathmandu.
- Temple have Circular path
- Being without a roof.
- There is only one door.
- False door/window (appearance but inability to open)
- Sanctum is located on the first floor.
- Carvings on the exterior wall
- Pinnacles in Kathmandu are typically made of metal.
- Materials: stone and brick
- a minimal amount of use of wooden components.
- In the Shikhara style, there are three different kinds of joints: an internal lock system, a lock system using a pin, and lime/surki/mortar.
- The dome style is a fusion of the Nepali and Shikhara architectural traditions. It is due to influence from the Mughals. (The Mosque of the Muslims and the Taj Mahal of India).
Yognarendra Malla, another king, built the temple of Manimandap between the years 1684 and 1705 AD, and he carved his own statue into the capital stone pillar of the temple.
Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk, and Keshav Narayan Chowk are the three primary chowks (courtyards) that makeup Patan Durbar Square. This is another of the square’s attractions.
Mul Chowk: The Mul Chowk is the largest of the three main courtyards found within the palace, and it is guarded by two lions at its entrance. Srinivasa Malla was king from 1661 to 1684 AD. His father, Siddhi Narsingh Malla, had started building Mul Chowk, and Srinivasa Malla finished it. He also made the temples of Taleju and Bhimsen temple while he was king.
Sundari Chowk: The Royal Bath, also known as Tushahity (Sunken water tank), was built by Siddhi Narsingh Malla in the year 1647 AD and is located in the center of Sundari Chowk, which is located to the south of Mul Chowk. On it are carved in stone the tantric Hindu deities Narayan and Lakshmi, numbering a total of seventy-two. You will notice a massive stone platform in front of Tusha Hiti when you get there. In addition, there are 550 engraved wooden Shiva Lingas located all around the palace in Sundari Chowk. King Siddhi Narsingh Malla also built the temple of Taleju and the Bhandarkhal pond.
Keshav Narayan Chowk: The Keshav Narayan Chowk, which is located in the Palace Complex’s northernmost courtyard, is not only the most important but also one of the oldest courtyards. The Patan Museum is located in the grounds of the earliest Malla palace in Lalitpur, which now serves as the museum. A temple dedicated to Keshav Narayan, a form of Lord Vishnu with four arms, can be found standing in the middle of the inner courtyard. In historical accounts, this area is called Chaukot Durbar, which literally means “four-cornered-fort-palace.”
Mahabouddha Temple: The Maha Bouddha Temple is a Buddhist temple designed in the Shikhar style. It is also known as the “Temple of a Thousand Buddhas.” Bricks of terracotta are used to construct it, and it features intricate statues and carvings. A priest from Patan named Abhaya Raj Shakya traveled to the well-known Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, which is located in India, around the year 1500 AD. While he was in Bodhgaya, he attended classes on how to make coins. After returning to Kathmandu, he applied for and was granted permission to launch a royal pristine in his personal courtyard. The construction of this Maha Bouddha temple was started by him in 1564, but he only lived to see the foundation finished before he passed away. After that, each of Abhaya’s five sons contributed to the completion of the temple in their own way. The construction of the Mahabouddha temple was completed in the year 1600. This temple was not finished until 1564 AD, later the efforts of three generations spanned over a period of 36 years (1564 AD to 1600 AD) to complete this temple. An earthquake that occurred in 1934 caused significant damage to the temple, and an extensive restoration project was necessary to facilitate the majority of the necessary repairs. And then again in 1999 AD as part of maintenance performed by the organization responsible for maintaining the Mahabouddha temple.
The Rato (red) Machhendranath and Minnath Temples: The Rato (red) Machhendranath temple is located in Tabahal, which is located south of Durbar Square on the western side of the road. It is said that Rato Machhendranath, the god of rain, has existed in many different forms throughout history. To Buddhists, he is Avalokiteshwor in his tantric guise, while to Hindus, he is a manifestation of Shiva in one of his many guises.
The current structure of Rato Machhendranath Temple, which has three stories and is located in a spacious courtyard, dates back to the year 1673 AD. On the other hand, the earlier temple may have been present at the site as early as 1408. The entrances to the temple are carved in the form of lions, and there are four of them. Rato Machhendranath, also known as Avalokiteshwor, is stored in this location for six months before being moved to Bungmati for another six months of storage. There is a temple dedicated to the Buddhist Bodhisattva that is located close to the Rato Machhendranath Temple.
This Bodhisattva is often thought of as Rato Machhendranath’s younger brother. The temple was originally built between the third and ninth centuries AD, but it has been renovated on multiple occasions. The primary characteristics of the Minnath temple are the sculpted figures of the goddess with many arms that are located on the roof struts. The festival will begin in the final week of May or at the beginning of June. It is celebrated as the god of the harvest. (a chariot that is 48 feet tall).
How can I reach Patan Durbar Square?
Doesn’t matter where you are in the Kathmandu Valley; a taxi is the best option to select. You can ask to be taken to Patan Durbar Square or Lagankhel, and they will do so. Just be cautious about trading before accepting the trip.
From Thamel: If you are seeking a comfortable and convenient mode of transportation, taxis can be hired in Thamel. If you are traveling on a Budget, get to the bus terminal at Ratan Park and take one of the buses to Lagankhel. Patan Durbar Square may be reached on foot from the bus stand in Lagankhel.
Patan is a very old city and one with many intriguing facets. It is one of the most visited places in Nepal, and the city is full of phenomenal architecture and beautiful artwork that you won’t want to miss. If you are considering a trip to Nepal and looking for places to visit, we also encourage you to visit Patan Durbar Square!
Please contact us anytime if you have any further questions or concerns. Thank you for reading; we would love to hear from you!