Kathmandu Durbar Square, which is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is one of the popular squares in Nepal. This place is considered an important religious place for both Buddhism and Hinduism. Different festivals, royal events, rituals, customs etc, are celebrated in this square. This Durbar Square is surrounded by small ponds, ancient images and statues, courtyards, fountains etc.
The main courtyards of this royal palace are Mohan Chowk, and Sundari Chowk. The Kathmandu Durbar Square area is famous not only for sightseeing but also as a religious site. Many pilgrims come here and take the spiritual journey and rest within its serene environment. The inner complex of this square houses the Hanuman Dhoka Palace. This old royal complex used to be the homes of the Shah and Malla Dynasty. Kings ruled over this place until the 19th century. Since then, this place has been considered as a museum, which has the collection of the ancient arts and architecture.
Major Attraction in Kathmandu Durbar Square
This Durbar Square is a popular tourist destination because of its sheer beauty and spiritual vibes. This area has seen a lot of coronation ceremonies and is very rich in history. A few attractions of this Durbar Square are:
- Taleju Temple
This temple was built by King Ratna Malla, which stands at the height of 36.6m. This temple is built to worship goddess Taleju Bhawani. The enchanting statue of deity having 4 heads and 10 arms adds charm to the beauty of the temple. Likewise, the intricate metalwork gives an ancient significance, and it is even the holy place for Kumari, Living Goddess in Nepal.
- Jagannath Temple
This temple was built under the guidelines of King Pratap Malla and is dedicated to Lord Krishna. On the walls of this temple, many images of Lord Krishna and two other goddesses have been placed. It is also said that this temple was built as a tribute for the two of the late rulers of Kathmandu.
Kasthamandap was built in 7th era during Lichhavi reign. It is one of the crucial buildings in Nepalese history, which is made up of wood. It is not entirely temple, but there are images of Gorakhnath on the ground floor. It has total three stories, and each story has balcony, which provides the perfect scenery of city. The ground floor explains about the Buddha’s story.
Trailokya Mohan Narayan Temple
This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and has a five-roofed sanctuary. The ancient paintings and statues of the gods and goddesses adorn the walls of this temple. This temple has the spiritual aura which draws the attention of many pilgrims.
- Kalbhairav Temple
This temple is dedicated to God Bhairav, who is regarded as a fearful incarnation of lord Shiva. This temple receives many devotees throughout the years.
- Hanuman Dhoka
Hanuman Dhoka Palace is considered as the major attraction of Kathmandu Durbar Square. Within the complex of this palace, there is a museum which houses the ancient objects. This place was used as the Royal Palace during the ruling period of the Shah and Malla Dynasty. Today, it is considered as a public place and many tourists, locals etc. visit it every day. Someone who is interested to know about the unification done by Prithvi Narayan Shah must visit this complex as it has many artifacts of that time.
- Kumari Bahal
It is the place where the Kumari, the living goddess in Nepal, lives. It is made of wood and red bricks which has three-story architecture. The inscriptions in doors, windows, balconies etc. are related to Buddhist Vihara. This ancient place was built by Jaya Prakash Malla during the mid-1700s. There are many stupas inside this Bahal. Similarly, chariot is also kept inside this complex that is used to carry the Kumari during the Indra Jatra. It is believed that Kumari protects this place. Because of this belief, the 2015 earthquake has only caused minor effects in this Bahal, whereas other surrounding places were affected heavily.
Impact of Earthquake
Due to the catastrophic earthquake on April 29, BS 2072, the historical monasteries in this region had collapsed. The monasteries damaged by the quake are still under construction. Hundreds of people lost their lives when temples in the Kathmandu Durbar area collapsed at that time.
Kathmandu Durbar Square, which is the heart of Kathmandu city, can be visited in both public and private vehicles. It is just 3 km away from the centre of Kathmandu if you get there by passing Amrit marg. You can either hire a taxi or can even travel in a local bus. If you feel like walking up there to explore the market and settlement, then it will take around 25 to 30 minutes from the centre of Kathmandu.
Thousands of foreign tourists visit here daily. People from outside the country, including the Kathmandu Valley, also use the route of Kathmandu Durbar Square to buy goods on Asan and New Road, which is also very crowded in this area. However, the number of tourists visiting this region, which is full of ancient objects and art, has not decreased even now. Locals say that Basantapur is very crowded especially in the evening.
-By: Kusum Kharel for Land Nepal