Kathmandu Durbar Square – Nepal

The Durbar square is surrounded with spectacular architecture and vividly showcases the skills of the Newar artists and craftsmen over several centuries. The royal palace was originally situated at Dattaraya square and was only later moved to the Durbar square location. The Kathmandu Durbar Square holds the palaces of the Malla and Shah kings who ruled over the city. Along with these palaces, the square also surrounds quadrangles revealing courtyards and temples. The square is presently known as Hanuman Dhoka, a name derived from the statue of Hanuman, the monkey devotee of Lord Ram, near the entrance of the palace. The preference for the construction of royal palaces at this site dates back to as early as the Licchavi period in the third century. Even though the present palaces and temples have undergone repeated and extensive renovations and nothing physical remains from that period, names like Gunapo and Gupo, which are the names referred to the palaces in the square in early scriptures, imply that the palaces were built by Gunakamadev, a king ruling late in the tenth century. When Kathmandu City became independent under the rule of King Ratna Malla (1484--1520) the palaces in the square became the royal palaces for its Malla kings. h. Some of the parts of the square like the Hatti Chok near the Kumari Bahal in the Southern section of the square were removed during restoration after the devastating earthquake in 1934. While building the New Road, the Southeastern part of the palace was cleared away, leaving only fragments in places as reminders of their past. Though decreased from its original size and attractiveness from its earlier seventeenth century architecture, the Kathmandu Durbar Square still displays an ancient surrounding that spans abound five acres of land. It has palaces, temples, quadrangles, courtyards, ponds, and images that were brought together over three centuries of the Malla, the Shah, and the Rana dynasties. Kathmandu's Durbar Square is one of three durbar (royal palace) squares in the Kathmandu Valley. It is the site of the Hanuman Dhoka Palace Complex, which was the royal Nepalese residence until the 19th century and where important ceremonies, such as the coronation of the Nepalese monarch, still take place today. The palace is decorated with elaborately-carved wooden windows and panels and houses the King Tribhuwan Memorial Museum and the Mahendra Museum. It is also possible to visit the State Rooms inside the palace. At the southern end of Durbar Square is one of the most curious attractions in Nepal, the Kumari Chowk. This gilded cage contains the Raj Kumari, a young girl chosen through an ancient and mystical selection process to become the human incarnation of the Hindu mother goddess, Durga.