Kathmandu Durbar Square - A Major Tourist Attraction
Kathmandu Durbar Square is without a doubt a top attraction for tourists in the Nepali city. This massive complex is home to palaces, temples and courtyards. Visitors to the Durbar Square of Kathmandu will be amazed by the architectural wonders spanning several centuries. This important historical attraction has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you will certainly want to include a tour of the area in your itinerary.
The majority of the structures built in Kathmandu Durbar Square date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, with some sections from the 12th century. The central feature of the square is the renowned Hanuman Dhoka Palace Complex. The majestic palace was named in honor of the monkey god, Hanuman, and a statue of the unusual deity stands at the main entranceway. The Hanuman Dhoka Palace Complex served as the residence of Nepal's royalty right up to the 1800s. It was also the gathering place of important administrators and numerous ceremonies were hosted here. The Nepali palace itself is a stunning structure with intricately carved wooden panels and windows. Visitors to the palace are welcome to stroll through the Mahendra Museum and the Tribhuvan Memorial Museum located here.
Surrounding the mighty Nepali palace complex are a large number of temples. These Nepali religious sites were constructed over many years and a number of architectural styles can be seen as you walk around Durbar Square. The oldest temples were built in the late 1500s by Mahendra Malla. These include Taleju Temple, Jagannath, Mahendreswara and Kotilingeswara Mahadev. The Hindu and Jain temple of Taleju is known as the tallest in Durbar Square and is said to have been built in the shape of a yantra under the orders of the goddess Taleju. Jagannath Temple is best-known for the erotic figures which were expertly carved into doors, roof struts and windows.
Standing on the southern side of the Kathmandu Durbar Square is the Kumari Chowk or Kumari Bahal. This is home to Nepal's living goddess, the Raj Kumari. She is a specially chosen girl who is said to be the human incarnation of the head Hindu goddess. If you are fortunate enough you may see her during one of her public appearances.
Another interesting religious site to see in Kathmandu Durbar Square is Kasthamandapa. According to legend this structure was built using wood from a single tree. Originally a community hall, Kasthamandapa eventually became a temple dedicated to Gorakhnath. The Trailokya Mohan Narayan Temple dates back to 1680 and a number of icons featuring the Lord Vishnu are found within. Difficult to miss is the Manju Deval. This triple story temple is dedicated to the god Shiva and was constructed in 1692. Temples aren't the only sights to see in Kathmandu Durbar Square, statues also abound. A statue worth noting is the dancing Krishna located in the shrine of Nasal Chowk. Kala Bhairav is a massive stone statue of Shiva in his frightening aspect. Visitors to Durbar Square in Kathmandu will also appreciate the botanical garden of Bhandarkal. Commissioned by King Pratap Mall in the 1600s, the garden is filled with natural beauty.
Indeed there is much to see and be discovered in Kathmandu Durbar Square. Delve right into the Nepali culture and religious fervor in this unique and inspiring place.