Patan, which is also known as Lalitpur (City of Artisans), is one of the three medieval cities in Kathmandu Valley. Patan’s pride is the medieval Patan Durbar Square, which is dotted with Buddhist and Hindu sites. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the durbar square was the royal seat of Malla Kings. It showcased the exquisite works of art and architecture crafted by Newari artisans of that period.
In terms of infrastructure, Patan Durbar Square is exceptional. The Lord Krishana Stone Temple, The Royal Bath, Viswanath Temple, Bhimsen Temple, Ganesh—the Elephant Head God—and other noteworthy structures are the main draws of Patan Durbar Square. The magnificent Krishna Temple with its 21 gilded spires, built in 1637, and the Manga Hiti, the sunken stone water spout, found in the palace complex are but a few examples of its opulence. The Krishna Temple, which was constructed completely of stone, is said to be Nepal’s first example of Shikhara-style architecture.
MAHABOUDDHA: The magnificent Buddhist monument known as Mahabouddha, a work of excellent terra cotta craftsmanship, is located to the east of Patan Durbar Square. Thousands of images of Lord Buddha are etched on this architectural wonder from the 14th century.
RUDRA VARNA MAHAVIHAR, also known as Uku Bahal, is a magnificent collection of images and statues made of metal, stone, and wood that is located close to Mahabouddha. A two-story house with gilded roofing encloses the stone-paved courtyard. In the past, this monastery served as the site of royal coronations. Even now, many of the gifts made by believers are still on display here.
HIRANYA VARNA MAHABIHAR: The three-story temple, also known as the Golden Temple, dates to the 12th century and contains a statue of the Buddha in the courtyard, or Kwa Bahal. The monastery is renowned for its exquisite reposes and woodcarving art. From the northern end of Durbar Square, it is a five-minute walk to the west and north.
KUMBHESHWAR: The temple dedicated to Shiva is the only five-storied pagoda in Patan and one of the only three surviving five-storey temples in the country. A natural spring within the courtyard of this temple built in 1392 is said to have its source in the glacial lake of Gosainkunda in northern Kathmandu. On the day of Janai Poornima in August, a sizable crowd of devotees assemble here for a ceremonial bath.
ASHOKA STUPAS: There are four stupas, supposed to have been built by Emperor Ashoka of India in 250 BC, marking the four corners of Patan. They are located, successively, at Pulchowk, Lagankhel, Ibahi, and Teta (route to Sano Gaon). Buddhism was thriving in the Kathmandu Valley when they were constructed.