Durbar squares are a very important part of our country’s history and culture. Before the unification, Nepal was divided into small kingdoms and today’s Durbar Squares are the most prominent remnants of those old kingdoms. In particular, three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley: Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, and Bhaktapur Durbar Square were part of the three Newar kingdoms situated there before unification. All three are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These sites consist of temples, idols, open courts, water fountains, and many more cultural artifacts. Due to the devastating earthquake of 2015, these sites have received significant damage but most structures still remain.
KATHMANDU DURBAR SQUARE
Kathmandu Durbar square is located in the heart of the capital Kathmandu. It is also known as Basantapur and Hanuman Dhoka. It is a historic landmark in Kathmandu that was constructed in 1770. This Durbar square was built between the 20th and 18th centuries by the Malla kings and, to this day, remains the focal point of the city. The place near Kathmandu Durbar Square Jonchhe was a popular hippie hangout junction from the 1960s to the 1970s. It is just about 15 minutes walk from Thamel a place that is very well-known among tourists.
Unlike the other two durbars square, this one served as the home for the king of our country Nepal. After the unification, a big place was built within the area for the king to live but as of now, it serves as a museum. Kathmandu durbar square is often known as the place where different kings ruled, our country for generations. It is also the home of the living goddess Kumari and there is a very famous sculpture called Kalbhairav one of the gods who coexist both in Hinduism and Buddhism. It has its own history altogether the symbiosis of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Tantrism, which permeate Nepalese culture, can be openly seen in its multiple palaces, temples, and courtyards. People living in this area are called newer they are the ethnic groups of our country, who have been living in Kathmandu before the unification of Nepal. They speak their language among each other they speak the national language Nepali as well.
Some Attractions of Kathmandu durbar square:
- Hanuman Dhoka.
- Kala bhairav.
- TheTribhuwan, Mahendra and birendra Museum.
- Basantapur dabali.
- Gaddi baithak.
- Singha satal.
- Freak street (jhochhe).
- Aakash bhairav temple.
- Chyasin Dega temple.
This area is a host to a lot of interesting local festivals throughout the year, Indrajatra is one of the very well-known festivals of this area and it goes on for a week straight the temples and monuments are mostly made of woods bricks and adobe clay and most of them dates back to 17th century. Being an open place in the middle of a busy city it is considered a good place for the locals to hang out. Most of the temples and monuments in Kathmandu durbar square date back all the way to more than the 17th century all of the temples are partially or completely damaged during the earthquake that we had in 2015 so most of the temples are either already rebuilt or are under construction. This is the place that is most recommended for those who want to explore the royal history of Nepal as well.
PATAN DURBAR SQUARE
Patan durbar square is located in the city of Lalitpur Nepal, which is about 45 minutes faraway from Thamel. It is also called Patan museum it has special bronze statues and ancient and religious objects. It is popular as one of the best museums in Asia.
Patan Durbar is one of the royal palaces of former Malla Kings of the Valley. The royal palace was built in 1734, on the site of a Buddhist monastery. The museum quadrangle is known as Keshav Narayan Chowk. The Late King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah inaugurated this museum in 1997.
Attractions in Patan Durbar Square:
- One of its attractions is the ancient royal palace where the Malla kings of Lalitpur resided. Durbar square is a marvel of Newar architecture there are many temples and idols in this area it has 136 Bhahal (courtyards) and 55 major temples the square was heavily damaged by the earthquake in 2015. The Patan Durbar Square museum within the palace has a fine collection of metal crafts, wood carvings, and precious mall-era thrones.
- There are many hitti (natural water taps).
- There is a big bell near the entrance of durbar square also called the Taleju bell, this giant bell was made by king Vishnu Malla in the 17th century. It was used to alert the king by the general public of their grievances and for any emergencies.
- Another main attraction of Patan Durbar square is the Krishna Mandir it is a three-storied temple built in Shikhara style and is the most important temple in Patan durbar square. Krishna temple is a famous temple built in the 17th century by King Siddi Narshingh Malla, it has its own story. This temple is dedicated to Hindu God Krishna. It is the only temple in Nepal to have 21 shrines and is completely made of stone.
- The temple was built in 1667 There are three courtyards in the palace namely Keshav Narayan chowk, Mul chowk, and Sundari chowk, All these three chowks are an attraction for those who are interested in artifacts and cultural heritage. There one can find lots of historical idols, art, and crafts, and many more. Sundari chowk is known for its nightlife. This place is an attraction for tourists as well as locals.
- Lord Bhimsen the god of business and trade’s temple is famous for its three inter-connect golden windows but tourists are not allowed inside the temple.
- Vishwanatha temple has two elephants made of stone guarding it. This temple is dedicated to lord shiva.
As one enters the chowk they can see various local shops selling typical Newari cuisine that consists of Yomari. Chhiola, kachela, beaten rice, Chhyang (Newari drink made from rice), etc. there are many tourist shops where they sell handmade art and crafts. Patan durbar is a place where tourists can feel the fusion of art and tradition.
BHAKTAPUR DURBAR SQUARE
The Bhaktapur Durbar Square is the biggest durbar square among the three durbar square. It has century-old temples and especially love the details of wood-crafting in temples. It is located in the Bhaktapur the eastern part of Kathmandu valley which is also known as Bhadgoun or Khwopa Bhaktapur. It is known as the abode of traditional Nepali culture, customs, and unique arts of wood and pottery. Medieval age culture and tradition of Nepal can be seen in the historical monuments and idols. In Bhaktapur, indigenous Newari people are located in large groups. Bhaktapur Durbar Square was a former royal palace complex located. The Malla kings of Nepal from the 14th to 15th century and the kings of the Kingdom of Bhaktapur from the 15th to late 18th century until the kingdom was conquered in 1769.
The one in Bhaktapur was considered the biggest and the grandest among the three during its independency but now many of the buildings that once occupied the square have been lost to frequent earthquakes. This place is one of the oldest cultural heritages where tourists can enjoy historical art and crafts. Here tourists can enjoy Bhakatapur’s Juju Dhau (homemade traditional curd) which is famous all over Nepal.
Major attractions of Bhaktapur Durbar Square:
- Basantapura palace of Bhaktapur
- The Palace of 55 Windows was built during the reign of the Malla King Yaksha Malla in 1427 AD and was remodeled by King Bhupatindra Malla in the 17th century.
- Vatsala temple.
- Golden Gate.
- Siddi Laxmi temple.
- Statue of Bhupatindra Malla.
- Taleju temple.
- Pottery Square.
- Taumadhi square.
- Peacock window.
- Nyatapola Temple.
- Bhairava Nath Temple.
Bhaktapur Durbar square is a place of culture, tradition, art, and craft. There one can explore lots of ancient architectural knowledge can experience the taste of local food, and have lots of new experiences of local Newari culture. These people can see lots of traditional pottery work, the Flore of this square is all made of red bricks that’s why this place looks even more unique and traditional. This is also the most recommended tourist spot for those who are very interested to know about a new culture.