Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of the three palaces of Kathmandu Valley and one of the city's most popular tourist attractions.

Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square is a historical landmark today and is believed to have been built between the 12th and 18th centuries by the Malla Kings of Kathmandu. It was built with ancient Newari architecture, consisting of only the palace itself and the courtyards of the Malla and Shah kings back then. But today, Kathmandu Durbar Square has been renovated many times. That is when the temples and the statues of Gods started to be built.

Kathmandu Durbar Square was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site from Kathmandu in 1979. Many monuments are collectively a part of Kathmandu Durbar Square. One can witness temples like Taleju Bhawani, Maru Ganesh, Shiva Parvati Temple, Kal Bhairav Temple, Sweta Bhairav, Kumari Bahal, and the narrow alleys of Basantapur. 

Kathmandu Durbar Square From Thamel

Kathmandu Durbar Square is just 1.7 km away, which approximately takes 9 mins. So, you can go on foot from Thamel from the route of Ason and into Indrachowk. Then, when you head straight, you’ll reach Basantapur. The roads are busy all day, so even a two-wheeler might be difficult. Going on foot would be the best option.

Kathmandu Durbar Square From Tribhuvan International Airport

It is 7.4 km away from the airport, so it takes around 19 mins to reach there. You could take a taxi from the airport and reach Ratnapark. From there, you can walk to Ason and then on your way to Basantapur.

Best Time to Visit Kathmandu Durbar Square

Even though one can visit Kathmandu Durbar Square all year round, the best time would be in the season of festivals. The festival of Dashain and Tihar is mesmerizing, so September is a great time to see the faith of devotees. The festival of Holi, which is the water festival falls in March. Kathmandu Durbar Square becomes a spot of celebration in colors and water this day, so make sure you visit this day if you enjoy the crowd.

Saturdays are also filled with people since it is a holiday. So, the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square and Kumari Bahal become great attraction spots, especially on these days. And if you want to visit Kumari Bahal to be able to see Goddess Kumari, try going between 9 AM to 11 AM and 4 PM to 6 PM.

History of Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kathmandu Durbar Square is an important place because it wasn’t only the residence of the Malla kings who lived, but it was also where they were crowned, even the Shah kings. Kathmandu Durbar Square collectively has palaces and temples, which was built between the 12th and 18th century. It was built in pagoda style. After the 19th century, palaces were turned into museums.

Since a lot of renovation has been undergone in Kathmandu Durbar Square for us to see what it is today, some major renovation has occurred. In 1560- 1574 AD, under King Mahendra Malla’s orders, temples like Taleju Temple, Kotilingeshwar Mahadev, Jagannath Temple, Mahendreswar Temple started to be added in the complex of Kathmandu Durbar Square.

It was later that King Pratap Malla added more shrines and new temples to Kathmandu Durbar Square. In 1672 AD, he built the statue of Hanuman at the entrance of the royal palace. And, it was after the statue that the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square was named.

After he died in 1674, the renovations stopped. Then the Shah Dynasty took over and the Nautale Temple, known as Basantapur Durbar Square, was built. Kathmandu Durbar Square has two sub-areas that house these important landmarks. One is the outer area where Kumari Ghar, Shiva Parvati Temple, Jagannath Temple, The Big Bell, Kasthamandap are built.

The second area of Kathmandu Durbar Square is the inner area where the royal palace, Hanuman Dhoka, and the three courtyards are built. All of these together are what carry its cultural heritage, historical importance, and wood-carved Newari architecture.

Things to do in Kathmandu Durbar Square

Visiting Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of the things to do in Kathmandu, but it itself offers lots of things to do for the visitors. This heritage site has a package of history, culture, and artifacts getting experienced every single time. Here are some of the things that one must not miss doing while being in Kathmandu Durbar Square.

  • Visit Taleju Bhawani Temple
  • Visit Kumari Ghar
  • Observe the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Museum
  • Explore the local bazaar of jewelry and handicraft
  • Catch the glimpse of life from a rooftop

Visit Taleju Temple

As the name suggests, Taleju Temple is graced by Goddess Taleju Bhawani. This is the most important temple in the entire Durbar Square. Today, the temple is open for a visit in the time of Dashain, which means September or October. But it is still magnificent enough to take a look from a distance. With the stone carvings of lions, small temples, the Taleju temple needs to be witnessed.

Visit Kumari Ghar

This is where the Living Goddess lives, and this is a place that anyone who travels to Kathmandu Durbar Square must visit. One can only get to see her from the balcony of Kumari Ghar, which happens occasionally.

Observe the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Museum

To enter the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Museum, take the gate right next to the statue of Hanuman. This museum carries the history of the royal lives that lived here. One can see the artifacts, and the lifestyle of the kings through the displayed jewels, study rooms, bedrooms, and the pictures of the kings themselves.

Explore the local bazaar of jewelry and handicraft

Right next to Basantapur Durbar Square, you will find an area with local handicrafts and jewelry getting sold. This area is usually surrounded by a lot of people. One can buy souvenirs here as well. It would feel like a tiny market laid out in the open, but with a variety of options for your goodies.

Catch the glimpse of life from a rooftop

The recommendation is with food on the table. Looking at the soaring view of the beautiful sky, with Basantapur Durbar Square on the radar, and Swayambhunath temple in the distance, food will be more enjoyable. There are many restaurants with different cuisines available, or you could go local and sip a cup of tea around the area. Many local places serve you local street food as well.

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