Patan is located at the heart of the city in the south-western part of Kathmandu Valley and is known to be one of the oldest cities in Nepal. Patan is also widely known as “Lalitpur”. Both of the names were derived from the Sanskrit “Lalitapattan”. Patan is a traditional hub for handicrafts, temples, statues, and many other antiques. It is also famous for purchasing ancient pieces of jewelry, Buddha statues, and masks. I, being one of the locals have seen many people questioning the true beauty of Patan, saying that there are not enough places to visit here. It is clearly untrue and nobody should underestimate the beauty that Patan holds. There are many interesting places to visit in Patan and let me guide you through some today.
PLACES TO VISIT IN PATAN
Mahaboudha is a popular tourist destination in Patan, located near Sundhara. It is famous for the thousands of Buddha images engraved on every brick of the namesake temple. One of the best ways to find peace away from the crowded hub of Patan is to visit the temple and light a butter lamp. You can also read up on all the text on blue plates hanging around the temple area.
Visit the Rudravarna Mahabihar in Okubahal. This 1,500-year old monastery has beautifully carved metal statues while each of the wooden flowers carved into its walls is exemplary pieces of one-of-a-kind workmanship. The monastery is renowned for its architecture, art, and craft.
Banglamukhi Temple, also famous for ‘Kumbeshwor’ is only around 5 minutes (by walk) from Patan Durbar Square. Crowded especially on Thursdays, Banglamukhi has been a major destination for people following Hindu religion and Bhagawati in particular. People often line up outside and inside the temple to light incense sticks, butter lamps and offer their prayers to the god. This temple is equally welcoming to the native people and foreigners alike.
Patan Durbar Square
Listed in the World Heritage Site, it is one of the major attractions of Patan and probably the most famous destination for foreigners who visit Patan. Patan Durbar Square has blessed countless people with its innate beauty and sophisticated architectural integrity for a long time. With temples, hundreds of years old, Patan Durbar Square treats its guests with majestic beauty. Temples like Bhimsen temple, Chyasin Dega, and Krishna Mandir attract millions of tourists. It is not only famous for its temples, but there is also a museum which has a lot of ancient artifacts for all to see. When you get overwhelmed by all the things there to see, remember, there are a lot of good eateries there, where you can relax your mind and body, and enjoy delicious local and international cuisines. “Honacha” in particular has been the major eatery palace for many people throughout the years where you can enjoy the native Newari cuisine. But be sure to prepare yourself as it will for sure set your tongue ablaze.
One of the most famous temples not only in Patan but in whole Nepal itself, Krishna Mandir has welcomed millions of pilgrims from all over the world to observe its beauty. Temple built by King Siddhi Narsingh Malla in “Sikhara style”, it is said to have been built by a single stone. When carefully observed on the walls of the temple, the entire story of Hindu tale Mahabharata has been inscribed on its wall which is breathtaking on its own. On the day of “Krishna Puja”, thousands of pilgrims from Nepal and India line up outside the temple to offer their prayers. Architecturally and religiously, Krishna Mandir has to be one of the most important temples of Nepal.
This has to be one of my favorite places to go. If you love a good tussle among the crowd and want to see the haggling so famous in the South Asian countries then this is the place to be. Thousands of people swarm this street from early morning to late at night to shop for whatever they desire. You can get everything from vegetables to electronics, all in one place. The chaos there is never-ending but I mean that in a good way. So, if you want to experience a shopping trip like never before, you have to give Tangal bazaar a try. Be sure to haggle though. And if you need a friend to come along, let me know. 😉
Rato Machindranath and Minnath Temples
In-between the Tangal area lies two interesting temples, Rato Machindranath and Minnath. The Minnath Temple is dedicated to the Bodhisattva Jatadhari lokesvara, the little brother of Rato Machhindranath (God of Rain). It has been said that in ancient times there was a devastating drought in Patan and all the crops started to die because of its aftermath. To solve the problem a sage named “Gorakhnath” meditated to Machhindranath on a cushion of 9 powerful serpents. After hearing his plight, it has been said that Machhindranath blessed the valley with rain which saved the civilization for certain doom. Ever since then, on the first month of Nepalese calendar or around May or June of Gregorian Calendar, two huge chariots are made from wood and tree vines and pulled around by thousands of people around the Patan area. On the last day of the festival, the Prime Minister of Nepal, President of Nepal join in on the festival to show the “Bhoto” which then concludes the festival. It is one of the most followed festivals of Patan.
Ashoka stupas at four directions with a circular base and hemispherical dome are the most remarkable feature of the city. The four stupas at four directions are:
- Lagan Thura – Southern Stupa (Lagankhel)
- Teta Thura – Eastern Stupa (Imadole)
- Pucho Thura – Western Stupa (Pulchowk)
- Ibahi Thura – Northern Stupa (Shankhamul)
The stupas were built by Charumati (daughter of the great ruler, Ashoka). Though the stupas have a similar appearance, you can gather different experience after visiting each of them.
The beautiful temple of Batuk Bhairav — a tantric deity, and one of the Asta Bhairavs of the Kathmandu Valley is located at Lagankhel, Lalitpur. It is said that the temple was first built by the Lichchhavi king, Amsuvarma. Later, the temple was renovated by Juddhashamsher Rana in 1934 AD. The object of worship is a simple rock, but idols of Kumar, Ganesh, and Kumari are also present here. Batuk Bhairav is considered to be the terrifying form of Lord Shiva and it is believed that the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwor argued among themselves as to who was greater, later Shiva took on the form of Bhairav so as to prove himself the greatest among the three. This temple is the fine exhibit of craftsmanship and architecture. Although the environment is noisy, it is relaxing and peaceful to watch the graceful people performing puja in front of God.
The Central Zoo
The only zoo in Nepal, Central Zoo is home to over 850 animals, which represent more than a 100 species. The zoo, which is operated by the National Trust for Nature Conservation was once a private zoo. However, it opened for the public in 1956. The zoo was originally established by Rana Prime Minister Juddha Shumser and is quite popular for its animals among other facilities. Apart from all the animal sightseeing, you can also ride on a boat, ride an elephant, ride the “funny temple”, seesaw, slide and do plenty of other interesting stuff.
Another one in my list of places to visit in Patan is Godawari. If you want to clear your mind and wish to find something calming and bright, then Godavari Botanical Garden is the place to be. Full of trees and an exceptional variety of flora, the gardens here are known for their tranquility. The well-maintained gardens are perfect for picnics and walks. In the middle, there’s a coronation pond with a commemorative pillar that provides insight into the Nepalese culture. However, if you’re seeking for some quiet time, make sure you avoid visiting the place during the weekends as the place gets crowded with the school students.
Finally, we’ve come to an end of the list – places to visit in Patan. All of the above-mentioned are must-go places for everyone in Patan area.
In an endnote, what I would like to say is, Patan has to be one of the most beautiful places in the entire world. It is incredibly rich in culture, religion, cuisine, and the hospitality of the native people here is one of a kind. Everyone who visits Patan is welcomed with open arms and it will be the trend in future too. Nepal has been widely considered as one of the most beautiful countries in the world and rightly so. However, even amongst all the wonderful places in Nepal, Patan will forever be my favorite and I would encourage everyone to take a taste of this beautiful place. If it is not on your bucket list already, I would strongly advise you to put it there. I promise you will not regret it.