Hello everyone, I am mangal daydreamer and I live in mangal bazar patan (the resemblence with my name is purely coincidental) and hence i know quite a lot about this city. Below is my attempt to share the information i know to you about patan so that you can discover a bit more about patan and if you haven’t yet, would be interested in visiting my lovely city.
Patan, the second city inside kathmandu valley is full of hidden treasures. The ancient city is just 5km away from kathmandu city square so can be reached by walking and there are many public transports available too from ratna park or the old bus park. You just have to catch the bus that goes to lagankhel or patan dhoka. The city of patan is not too big in size but still it can take you a whole day or more to see every bit of it. The most remarkable feature of the town of Patan is its four Ashoka Stupas that are testimony to an ancient architectural tradition.
The historians have agreed that these Stupas might have been erected by emperor ashok in connection with the foundation of Patan towards the end of the 4th century AD. Because of its circular base and hemispherical dome it can be safely said that these Stupas have not been constructed in accordance with the Buddhist architecture. The four stupas are located in : pulchowk (west), gwarko (East), ibahi (north), lagankhel (south).
One can start their tour of Patan from any side but if they are coming from kathmandu then the best is to get off either at patan dhoka (the ancient gate of patan) or from pulchowk (most tourist buses stop here near the lalitpur sub-municipality building).
1) pimbahal pokhari
The first place of interest in this area is Pimbahal Pokhari, a huge pond (the biggest one in patan area) can be seen here with ducks swimming around, chandeswori temple likes on the northern side, a white stupa can be seen on the western side. Several colorful houses surround the pokhari (pond in nepali) a good place to take photos of reflected structures.
Around 5 minutes north east from the Pokhari lies another courtyard called the Nyakhachowk. The courtyard has a big statue of Shakyamuni Buddha. The eastern side of a courtyard has a little tunnel -like alleyway which leads to nagbahal.
The aprrox. 50m long alleyway connects Nyakhachowk courtyard to Nagbahal, it is a another beautiful courtyard with lots of historical buildings and a stone tap. The eastern side of nagbahal has a painting of a snake locked inside a small room, hence the place is called nag (snake) bahal (courtyard). Right next to the courtyard is another courtyard called sankata and
next to it is golden temple of Patan. Untouched by the earthquake, this unique Buddhist monastery is just north of Durbar Square.
It was allegedly founded in the 12th century, and it has existed in its current form since 1409. The temple gets its name from the gilded metal plates that cover most of its frontage and it is one of the most beautiful in Patan. Outside of winter, look for the tortoises pottering around the compound – these are the temple guardians. You can enter via an ornate narrow stone doorway to the east, or a wooden doorway to the west from one of the interlinked courtyards on the north side of Nakabhil.
Entering from the east, note the gaudy lions and the 1886 signature of Krishnabir, the master stonemason who sculpted the fine doorway with its frieze of Buddhist deities. This second doorway leads to the main courtyard of the Golden Temple; shoes and leather articles must be removed to enter the lower courtyard. The main priest of the temple is a young boy under the age of 12, who serves for 30 days before handing the job over to another young boy. The temple itself is a magnificent example of courtyard temple architecture. Two elephant statues guard the doorway and the facade is covered by a host of gleaming Buddhist figures. Inside the main shrine is a beautiful statue of Sakyamuni (no photos allowed). To the left of the courtyard is a statue of Green Tara and in the right corner is a statue of the Bodhisattva Vajrasattva wearing an impressive silver-and-gold cape. Both are inside inner shrines. Facing the main temple is a smaller shrine containing a ‘self-arisen’ (swayambhu) chaitya (small stupa). The four corners of the courtyard have statues of four Lokeshvaras (incarnations of Avalokiteshvara) and four monkeys, which hold out jackfruits as an offering. A stairway leads to an upper-floor chapel dedicated to a white eight-armed Avalokiteshvara, lined with Tibetan-style frescoes including a wheel of life. Finally, as you leave the temple at the eastern exit, look up to see an embossed mandala mounted on the ceiling.
It’s worth ducking south towards Durbar Sq to see the small, two-tiered Uma Maheshwar Temple and the handsome stone Gauri Shankar Temple , in the Indian shikhara style; both were shaken by the earthquake but not destroyed. Across the road, the Buddhist Maru Mandapa Mahavihar is set in a small courtyard.
4) Bagalamukhi temple
After walking for another 5 minutes we reach Bagalamukhi temple which is a popular place for hindu devotees. Every August there is a big festival in the little pond in front where statue of lord shiva is placed and children swim around the statue and witch doctors dance and perform many rituals.
5) Ibahi Stupa
Another 5 minutes walk towards north and we reach Ibahi Stupa, its a beautiful white stupa with colorful tibeten flags around. Right across the street from the stupa is a 2000 years old bahal (buddhist courtyard) with buddhist murals.
Chyasal area- another popular historical area of patan is chyasal. It’s around 10 minutes walk from the ibahi stupa and has lots of narrow alleyways. Chyasal has a beautiful stone tap with a statue of saraswoti (the goddess of education).
There is an alleyway which has a slaughterhouse and has a very dark feel to it with bones and blood of buffaloes lying around. (not recommended for everyone, some might find it disgusting while others may find it fascinating).