A Visit to Narayanhiti Palace

For centuries the Narayanhiti Palace stood as a symbol of royalty and of affluence, and was one of the structures in Nepal that no-one has been able to enter, except for those authorized or invited by the royal family. It has been a building shrouded in controversy, scandal and mystery, as the thick walls and armed guards tried to shield the palace and its inhabitants from the world. But in 2008, the Shah monarchy was brought to its knees and the gates to the Narayanhiti Palace opened to the public in February 2009.

The breathtaking Narayanhiti Palace was constructed in the eighteenth century, and has been home to the Shah monarchy for almost two hundred and forty years. Its grandeur has been marveled at for centuries, and with the demise of the monarchy in May of 2008, the public has been given the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of their royal ancestors and explore the world of the privileged. The Nepal Government decided to transform the palace into a museum, to share the history and riches of the country with its people and tourists, and to conserve this vital part of the past.

The part of the palace that has been opened to the public as a museum covers an area just over forty thousand square feet, where visitors will be able to view the old furniture and art that has been in the palace for centuries. They will be able to marvel at the ornaments and lifestyle enjoyed in the walls of the palace. Valuable medals and idols are also on display, including a fleet of historical vehicles, of which one was given to the monarchy by the feared German leader, Hitler. Some items, such as the royal crown and throne are not open to viewing due to security reasons, as they are extremely valuable pieces.

The fall of the monarchy does conjure up some mixed emotions from the Nepali public. They do feel sympathetic to the royal family that had to leave their home, but are happy about a new era beginning; one without an autocratic monarchy. To tourists and visitors, the Narayanhiti Palace is a wonderful addition to the list of attractions in Nepal, and a worthy site to explore.