Patan Durbar Square: Not Just Another Durbar Square

Patan Durbar Square

Patan Durbar Square is a monumental area in Kathmandu Valley that is packed with ancient monuments, temples and shrines.  Located in Patan, dubbed as the “City of Fine Arts”, Patan Durbar Square notably exudes skillful craftsmanship as demonstrated by its elaborate architecture.  Join me as I walk you through Patan Durbar Square and around.  

Patan Durbar Square

Patan Durbar Square is just 15-minute walk and 50 tumblings away from Gwarko Chowk, Lalitpur, which is where my homestay is located.  The walk to the main square involved passing by a row of stores and street vendors along narrow streets.

Patan, Lalitpur

Garlands and ritual objects for sale, right next to Patan Durbar Square’s ticket booth

Patan is also called the “City of Fine Arts” and is well known for its traditional crafts and rich artistic heritage.  Bhaktapur was the first Durbar Square I visited in Nepal and would qualify for this description of Patan’s, as well.  I don’t know how to translate it into words but I find both places “same-same” but each with a unique charm of its own.

The remarkable thing about Patan Durbar Square is that the intricately designed temples and structures are concentrated in just a small area.  The square is a living demonstration of Newar architecture, with strong influence from Hindu and Buddhist religions.

Patan is also called the “City of Fine Arts” and is well-known for its traditional crafts and rich artistic heritage.  What I liked most about Patan is that the intricately designed temples/ structures are concentrated in just a small area.

Patan Durbar Square

Major Attractions in Patan Durbar Square

Patan Durbar Square, listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, is full of ancient shrines, monuments and temples.  I visited Nepal in April 2014, a year before the 2015 earthquake shook the Kathmandu Valley.  Read here about updates from the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust on centuries-old structures that were unfortunately damaged by the earthquake and their current restoration efforts.

Chyasim Dewal Krishna Temple

This uniquely octagonal temple is built of solid granite in 1723.  Coming from the entrance, you will see this temple to your left. Two lions are guarding its stairways.  Nowadays, no religious ceremonies are performed in this temple, but the structure remains an important structure in Patan Durbar Square.

Taleju Bell

Moving forward from the Chyasim Dewal Krishna Temple, you will find the Taleju Bell supported by two pillars standing on a platform.  It is said that the bell is rang to let the king know if they gave grievances to air.

Patan Durbar Square

Chyasim Dewal (octagonal temple) next to the Taleju Bell

The Royal Palace Complex

The Palace Complex which dates back to the 17th century is composed of three main courtyards: Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Keshav Narayan Chowk.  Mul Chowk is the largest and the central-most courtyard.  Unfortunately, Mul Chowk has been partly damaged by the earthquake.  Restoration is on-going.

South of the Mul Chowk is the Sundari Chowk, which is notable for the Tushahiti step-well.  The step-well used to function as ablution area.  On the other side of the Mul Chowk is the Keshav Narayan Chowk, which now houses the Patan Museum.  At its centerpiece is the Keshav Narayan Temple.

Patan Durbar Square

The square acts as a community park for students, devotees and locals, in general

Patan Durbar Square

The intricate carvings are just impressive

Hari Shankar Temple

This three-storey shrine was built in 1706 in honor of Hari Shankar, a Hindu God possessing the attributes of half Shiva and half Vishnu.  This ancient structure was sadly destroyed by the 2015 earthquake.  What are left now are the two stone elephants guarding the supposed temple entrance.

Patan Durbar Square

Hari Shankar Temple at the left

Char Narayan Temple or Jagannarayan Temple

Also called the Jagannarayan Temple, the Char Narayan Temple is made mainly of brick.  As with the Hari Shankar Temple, Char Narayan was leveled down to rubbles during the 2015 earthquake.  How sad this is especially that the temple is the oldest one in Patan Durbar Square, having built way back 1565.  Restoration efforts are underway through the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust.

Patan Durbar Square

Jagannarayan Temple in the middle of this photo

Krishna Mandir

One of the most remarkable temples in Patan Durbar Square is the Krishna Mandir, built entirely in stone in Shikhara (“mountain peak”) style, which is a characteristic of Hindu temple architecture.  It is the only temple in Nepal having 21 golden pinnacles.  Depiction of scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata are elaborately engraved on its walls.   The sacred temple, however, suffered damages as well during the earthquake.  Restoration is in progress.

Patan Durbar Square

Patan Durbar Square

Golden Garuda Statue

Opposite the Krishna Mandir is the Golden Garuda Statue standing on a pillar.  Garuda is a Hindu deity with a human body, wings, an eagle beak, wearing a crown on his head.  Garuda is said to feed on snakes and a protector against snake attack.

Patan Durbar Square

The Golden Garuda Statue as viewed from Vishwanath Temple

Yognarendra Malla Statue

A stone pillar holds the brass statue of Yognarendra Malla, Patan’s ancient ruler between 1684 and 1705.  Over the king’s head is a cobra and a small brass bird perched on the snake’s head.  The king’s statue and the serpent tumbled down during the earthquake.  At present, the statues were luckily salvaged and reinstalled two years after the earthquake.

Vishwanath Temple

Beside the Krishna Mandir is the Vishwanath Temple, which is built in dedication of Shiva.  As with the other temples in the square, Vishwanath’s architecture is astonishingly ornate.  The pagoda features two stone elephant guardians.

Patan Durbar Square

View from the first tier of Vishwanath Temple

Bhimsen Mandir Temple

Bhimsen Mandir Temple is a three-tiered temple dedicated to Bhimsen, the god of trade and business.  The temple is at the northern end Patan Durbar Square.

Patan Durbar Square

Read about other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nepal here:

Back to the Ancient Past in Bhaktapur

Boudhanath Stupa: The Big One

Monkeys Rule at the Swayambunath Temple

Inside the Historic Kathmandu Durbar Square


Other Attractions in Patan

Hiranya Varna Mahavihar or Golden Temple

About 10 minutes walk from the Patan Durbar Square is the Hiranya Varna Mahavihar (Golden Temple).  It is easy to miss the entrance, which is kind of hidden.  Looking up from the entrance gate is a beautiful stone carving.  More carvings and statues made of stone, metal and wood are found inside the small and dense temple, with the 3-storey Golden Pagoda dominating the scene.

Varna Mahavihar, Golden Temple, Patan

Varna Mahavihar, Golden Temple, Patan

Hiranya Varna Mahavihar, Golden Temple, Patan

Varna Mahavihar, Golden Temple, Patan

Kumbeshwor Temple

A few steps further north of the Golden Temple is the Kumbeshwor temple, one of the two five-roofed temples in Kathmandu (the other one, which is the tallest is the Nyatapola temple in Bhaktapur).  The architecture is exquisite, as usual.

There were a lot more locals here than foreign tourists when I visited.  There’re only two of us, in fact.  Local devotees are silently praying and burning offerings, in the hope that they’ll receive blessings in return.


There are a lot more locals here than foreign tourists.  In fact, there’re only two of us tourists when I visited.  I found local devotees silently praying and burning offerings, in the hope that they’ll receive a blessing in return.

Kumbeshwor Temple, Patan

Kumbeshwor Temple, Patan

Kumbeshwor Temple, Patan

Nepal souvenirs

I really liked those Heart, Heart, but taking it home in my memory card is almost as good.

Read more about other UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Asia here:

Galle Dutch Fort, Sri Lanka

Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

Ephesus Archaeological Site, Turkey

Luang Prabang, Laos

Patan Durbar Square Entrance Fee

(Updated December 2019)

Below rates include entry to Patan Museum:

Foreign Nationals – NPR 1,000

SAARC Nationals – NPR 250

Nepalese – NPR 10 (Students with letter from school); NPR 20 (Student Card Discount); NPR 30 (Others)

Patan Golden Temple Entrance Fee

(Updated December 2019)

Foreign Nationals – NPR 50

SAARC Nationals – NPR 20

Nepalese – Free

How to get to Patan Durbar Square

Getting to Kathmandu, Nepal: You can check flights to Kathmandu here.

By public transport: Once in Kathmandu, try the less expensive public transport while at the same time reducing your carbon footprint.  From Ratna Park in Kathmandu city proper, get a bus heading to Lagankhel bus station in Lalitpur.  From there, you can walk to Patan Durbar Square.

Other amazing things to do in Kathmandu

Everest Mountain Flight - Fly a trusted airline for a memorable experience and see the peak of Mt. Everest, the world's highest mountain, and other Himalayan peaks, such as Kangchenjuna, Lhotse, the Annapurnas and many more.

Kathmandu Full Day Exploration - Roam the UNESCO-listed Durbar Square, also known as Hanuman Dhoka Square; visit one of Nepal's oldest Buddhist temples, the Swayambhunath Stupa; explore Boudhanath Stupa, the largest stupa in Nepal and holiest Tibetan Buddhist Temple outside Tibet; see open-air cremation sites at Pashupatinath, at Bagmati River (optional)

Bungamati & Khokana Exploration - Wander among the residents of Bungamati as they go about their day-to-day activities; see the Rato Machhendranath Temple; visit the Newari village of Khokana and get to know the local farming community and process; see the 3-storey temple dedicated the local mother goddess, Shikali Mai

Pin if you like this article. 🙂

Patan Durbar Square

Check out these Nepal travel guidebooks in Amazon:

Get this free e-book as gift when you subscribe!


Doorsgraphy E-book


Leave a Reply