Patan’s Durbar Square was closed for several weeks following the earthquakes of 2015. It is currently open to the public.
Patan is one of three royal cities in Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley, the other two are Kathmandu and Bhaktapur. All three former kingdoms feature a Durbar(royal) Square that are made up of temples, idles, shrines, and a former palace where each royal family lived.
When I visited Patan in May 2015 I was saddened by the temporary closure, due to the recent earthquakes, of the beautiful square with it’s intricate carvings, glimmering deity statues and wonderfully restored Newari buildings. I was relieved however to see that many of the structures of the square were miraculously still in tact and overall although there was noticeable damage, it didn’t look as bleak as the first media reports of a tourism industry in ruins.
Patan’s official name is Lalitpur along with a number of small communities it’s included in Lalitpur District.
It could be argued that it’s Durbar Square is the prettiest of the three in the Kathmandu Valley. It was in the opening scene of the 1992 documentary “Baraka”, that featured scenes of religious and human life from around the world.
There is a refinement to the square, it’s fixtures, and buildings unlike the other two Durbar Squares. Perhaps that could be attributed to the community of artisans, and crafts people that have been based there for centuries.
Patan is one of my favorite places to visit in the valley. A 15 minute taxi ride from Kathmandu’s Thamel section makes it a convenient morning, afternoon, or day trip.
Currently Patan’s Durbar Square has been undergoing restoration and reconstruction and is open to the public. It’s estimated it will take several years for the square to be fully restored to it’s pre-earthquake state.
As part of the My Beloved Nepal Earthquake Stories series on Far East Adventure Travel part 2, a look at Patan’s Durbar Square, shortly seen after the last massive earthquake on May 12, 2015.
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