Significance of the destinations
Kathmandu durbar square
The Kathmandu Durbar Square is an ancient royal palace used during the Malla dynasty of Nepal. The place and its vicinity are also popular as Basantapur Durbar or Hanuman Dhoka. The palace lies in the center of the city and houses one of the best historical artifacts in the country.
One of the Durbar Square gates, Hanuman Dhoka, was built back during the Lichhavi period. This was approximately during the 4th to 8th century AD. Hence, the complex has a long and ancient history.
The gate, including the palace, was a part of King Pratap Malla’s property since the 17th century. The Mallas built various structures in the place, including a myriad of palaces, temples, and courtyards. The palace hoses more than 50 temples. Currently, all these structures are used as a museum and a tool for observing history and culture.
The fascinating part of the square is the huge number of temples. The area has around 50 temples, with the Taleju Bhawani temple being the titular one. The palace has two courtyards, an outer and an inner section. The outer section houses Kasthamandap, Kumari Ghar, and Shiva-Parvati Temple. The inner section, on the other hand, has the Hanuman Dhoka and the prime palace. Most of the palace has been transformed into museums dedicated to the Shah kings. You are open to visiting these places every day of the week.
These are some of the major attraction sites of the Kathmandu Durbar Square:
The temple was built in the 17th century with highly skilled Nepali craftsmen. The temple is the place of residence for the Kumari goddess of Kathmandu. Kumari is a young girl who is believed to be a living goddess. This temple is primarily closed but open to the public once a year during Dashain.
The temple is the most significant part of the square. It is the tallest among all the other temples and structures of the square. King Mahendra of the Malla dynasty built the temple in 1549 AD. This temple is also closed for the most part of the year and opened during Dashain.
This temple was built back in the 16th century by the Mallas. The temple is popular for having engrossing wooden structures of erotic figures.
Kal Bhairab is a statue carved out of stone to represent the Lord Shiva of Hindu mythology. It is one of the largest statues built during the 17th century.
Swet Bhairav is another stature of lord Shiva housed in the square. The Bhairave temple is also primarily closed but open once a year. This happens at the time of August or September during Indra Jatra.
Narsingha is believed to be one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu. People believe he exists in his man-lion avatar, eviscerating a demon. This sort of statue stands in the square built in 1673 by Pratap Malla. There also lies an inscription describing why this statue was built.
The Nasal chowk is one of the courtyards of the palace. It lies inside the main entrance of the prime part of the royal palace, where the kings lived. The courtyard was built by the Malla dynasty. But the succeeding rulers built many more structures in its vicinity. This courtyard was used for the coronation of Nepali kings up until 2001.
Shisha Baithak is essentially just a patio where you can see the Malla thrones. Along with that, you can also find pictures and paintings of the Shah kings.
Tribhuwan Museum is a museum commemorating King Tribhuwan as well as the recent kings, Mahendra and Birendra. The museum showcases the king’s bedroom, study, and personal belongings. It provided an intimate look inside the king’s lifestyle. You can also find the king’s boxing gloves and a walking staff with a sword hidden inside. You can find a the king’s dusty old empty aquarium. Various thrones are exhibited along with many photographs post-hunting and coin collection.
Swayambhu is a historical religious structure that lies on a hill to the west of the Kathmandu valley. The structure is essentially a Stupa with the eyes of Buddha. Between the eyes is a Devanagari one painted to replicate a nose. It consists of myriad shrines and temples of ancient Nepal. Some structures of the Swayambhunath temples date back to the Licchavi dynasty of Nepal. The temple and its original artifacts also house a Tibetan monastery, museum, and library.
The temple and its vicinity have various shops, restaurants as well as hotels. You can browse through various arts and jewelry and even enjoy food and drinks. There are two ways to enter this temple. One is the long steep staircase that leads you to the temple’s main entrance at the east. The other is the entrance in the southwest face of the hill.
The fundamental structure of the stupa is a dome-shaped base. On the top of the dome is a cube-like structure that has a painting of Buddha’s eyes. Every four sides of the cube has a Buddhist structure called torana in a pentagonal shape. There are thirteen levels above each of the Torana, and each level has a small space. There are Gajurs present in each of these spaces.
There are various mythologies regarding the existence of this complex. One of them is the Swayambhu Purana. This mythology says that Kathmandu was once a huge lake with a lotus in its midst. The deity, Manjushree, had a vision of the lotus and traveled to worship it. Upon arrival, he envisioned that the vicinity would be a great area for settlement. So he went up to the hill of Chovar and cut a gorge to drain the water out of the lake. This led to the formation of the Kathmandu valley. The lotus that gave Manjushree this enlightenment is believed to be where the Swayambhunath temple lies.
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