The ancient name of Patan is Lalitpur which means a city of beauty. It is indeed a city of beauty and grace and is planned on a circular format with Buddhist stupas at each of the four points of the compass. The city is three Kilometers south-east of Kathmandu across the river Bagmati. Like Kathmandu, its center of attraction is Durbar Square complex, situated right in the middle of the market place. The city is full of Buddhist monuments and Hindu temples with fine bronze gateways, guardian deities and wonderful carvings. Noted for its craftsmen and metal workers, it is also know as the city of artists. It is believed that the city has been built during the reign of Vira Dev in 299 A.D.
Patan, also known as ‘Lalitpur’, the city of artisans, and is home to the valley’s finest craftsmen who have preserved such ancient techniques as the repoussé and lost wax process used to produce exquisite sculptures. The city retains much of the old charm with its narrow streets, brick houses and multitude of well-preserved Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries (vihars) and monuments. The predominant sound in Patan is that of the tinkering of craftsmen bent over the statuettes they are shaping. As in Kathmandu, Hinduism and Buddhism have co-existed here for ages, influencing each other, and the religious harmony is exemplary.
This city presents a potpourri of finest traditional crafts and rich artistic heritage. We will see Patan Durbar Square, Mahaboudha Temple, Kumbeshwor temple, Krishna Temple, Golden Temple or Hiranya Varna Mahavihar, Mulchowk, Jagat Narayan Temple, Big Bell, Pillar of Yognarendra Malla, Hari Shanker temple, Vishwanath temple, Bhimsen temple, Marga Hiti, Mani Mandap, Café Pagoda, Rato Machhendra Temple, Minnath, Rudra Varna Mahavihar etc are the major attractions of Patan.
Patan Durbar Square
Patan Durbar Square is in Lalitpur (Patan) District and consists of an old royal palace amid many temples. This was once the palace of the kings of Patan.The square is an enchanting mélange of palace buildings, artistic courtyards and graceful pagoda temples – a display of Newari architecture that had reached its pinnacle during the reign of the Malla kings. The palace has three main courtyards: the central and the oldest is Mul Chowk. To the west of the complex are a dozen free standing temples of various sizes and built in different styles. Part of the royal palace was turned into a museum for preserving the history of Nepal and its kings, especially the Shah dynasty.
Krishna Mandir(Temple of Krishna)
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, built entirely of stone, is said to be the first specimen of Shikhara-style architecture in Nepal.
Hiranya Varna Mahabihar(Golden Temple)
Dating from the 12th century, the three-storied shrine, also known as the Golden Temple, houses an image of the Buddha inside the courtyard or Kwa Bahal. The monastery is known for its exceptionally fine wood-carvings and repousse work. It is a five-minute walk west and north from the northern end of Durbar Square.