Regarded of Lalitpur which got its name from

Regarded as the oldest
city in Kathmandu Valley, Patan holds huge historical importance with most of
the infrastructures and monuments dating back to 16th century. Situated in the
district of Lalitpur, Patan is also renowned as one of the oldest Buddhist
cities in the world. The major points of attraction in the durbar square are:
Patan Museum, Golden Temple, Krishna Temple, Mahabouddha Temple, etc. The
durbar square is situated within a walking distance from New Baneshwor of
Kathmandu. The heritage is full of rich arts and crafts making it a perfect
place to experience ancient culture of centuries ago. There are plenty of
historical and cultural information related to this beautiful World Heritage
Site which are described in the following sections.

History

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The history of Patan dates
back to 3rd century when the kingdom was ruled by Kirat Dynasty. Then the
kingdom was handed over to Lichhavis and Mallas until the Shah Dynasty took
control over the entire Kathmandu Valley and Patan became a city in the kingdom
of Nepal. Today Patan resides within the city of Lalitpur which got its name
from a farmer named “Lalit”. He was believed to carry Rato
Machindranath, a Hindu God, from the state of Assam, India, to the valley to
end the worst drought going on in that time. It is believed that the Great Emperor
Ashoka visited the place in 250 B.C. and built five Buddhist stupas, four at
four different corners of Patan and one at the center. There are thousands of
temples and monuments located inside and around the Durbar Square but only few
of them are discussed in this blog.

The Golden Temple, also
known as Hiranya Varna Mahavihar, was built in the 12th century by then King
Bhaskar Verma. A golden statue of Buddhist God, Gautam Buddha, can be seen
inside the temple from which it got its name. The Kumbheshwor Temple was built
in 14th century by then King JayastHiti Malla. The Mahaboudha Temple is another
important point of attraction around the Durbar Square which was constructed in
the late 16th Century, by a renowned priest of that time, Abhaya Raj. The
famous Patan museum located inside the Durbar Square was opened for public in
the year of 1997 but the buildings were constructed in 18th century. The
Bhimsen Temple was built in the 17th century dedicated to one of the members of
Pandavas in the great Hindu epic, Mahabharata. And now about the Krishna Temple,
it is a temple entire made from stone and was built in 17th century dedicated
to Hindu God Lord Krishna.

Culture

Since the monuments,
temples and shrines of the area was built hundreds of year ago, it holds an
important point for respecting ancient culture and tradition. Lots of festivals
and cultural events takes place in this area such as the most important
festival in the entire country, Dashain. This festival is celebrated as a
respect to the goddess Durga for getting victory over wicked demons and
protecting people from dangers. The festival is celebrated throughout the
country in different important locations such as Kathmandu Durbar Square and
Pasupatinath Temple. The birthday of Lord Krishna, also known as Krishna Jayanti,
is celebrated by Hindu worshippers by gathering at the Krishna Temple
throughout the night. Lord Krishna is a leading character from a major epic,
Mahabharata, of Hindu Religion who taught people that only truth and good
intention will achieve victory in the world. We can see the important scenes from
Mahabharata engraved on the walls of the Krishna Temple.

The Durbar Square holds
an important place for respecting Buddhist culture and tradition as well. As more
than thousand statues and monuments around the Durbar Square are dedicated to
Lord Buddha, his birthday is celebrated as a huge festival in the Square. The
five stupas erected by The Great Emperor Ashoka, who was a big worshiper of
Lord Buddha, are called Ashoka Stupas. The temple of Rato Machhindranath is
dedicated to the god of rain which holds a great celebration called
Machhindranath Jatra where a parade is held from the temple to a village of
Bungamati of Lalitpur district. The great Patan Museum is famous for capturing
the culture and lifestyle of people residing through all the time in the
history of the Durbar Square. One can see several statues, religious objects
and cultural evidence of the place related to this unique Heritage site.

Religion

As mentioned earlier, the
heritage site is an important location for both Hindu and Buddhist religion
followers. Both the religions are followed side by side without any conflicts
in Nepal. The Durbar Square holds plenty of temples dedicated to Hindu Gods and
Goddess such as the Krishna Temple, Kumbheshwor Temple, Bhimsen Temple,
Vishwanath Temple, Taleju Bhawani Temple, Jagatnarayan Temple, etc. Each temple
is dedicated to particular gods and goddess such as Vishwanath Temple is
dedicated to the Lord Shiva who is regarded as the great protector and
destroyer of the world. Every temple dedicated to Lord Shiva has a sculpture of
a bull sitting in front of the main statue of Shiva Linga, so we can see the
same thing in this temple.

The Taleju Bhawani
Temple is dedicated to the goddess Taleju Bhawani who was considered as the
personal deity of Malla dynasty. The Jagatnarayan Temple is dedicated to the
Hindu God Lord Vishnu who is considered as the great protector of the world.
Similarly, plenty of monuments and temples are dedicated to Lord Buddha such as
the Ashoka Stupas, Mahabouddha, Hiranya Varna Mahavihar, Rudra Varna Mahavihar,
The temple of Mahabouddha is inspired by a temple named “temple of
thousand Buddha” in Boghgaya of India where the great Buddhist God Gautam
Buddha got enlightened. All the temples dedicated to Hindu and Buddhist gods
are worshipped by local peoples protecting the ancient culture of this heritage
site.

In the end

Patan Durbar Square was
designated as one of the seven monument zones inside the Kathmandu Valley which
altogether became a part of UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year of 1979. Although
some monuments and temples have been destroyed by the earthquake of 2015, most
of them are standing still and those which got destroyed are also undergoing
major re-construction. So make sure you visit this wonderful location while
travelling around the valley.