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Durbar Square

Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu Durbar Square is one of the important historic and tourist destinations in Nepal. This massive complex is home to palaces, temples and courtyards. The original center of Kathmandu is often named as Basantapur, Hanuman Dhoka or Durbar Square all representing the same location. Kathmandu Durbar square has various historical royal and governmental institutions mixed with temples of different styles and ages. It may seem a little bit crowded with lots of buildings and temples built around on a very small area.This important historical attraction has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.If you haven’t seen this place, then you haven’t seen Kathmandu. There is so much going on. It is the best place when you would enjoy and better know about the Kathmandu and its culture and traditions.


The main attraction of Durbar Square is Hanuman Dhoka Palace Complex. The striking palace was named in honor of the monkey god, Hanuman, and a statue of the unusual deity stands at the main entranceway. The palace is decorated with elaborately-carved wooden windows and panels and houses the King Tribhuwan Memorial museum and the Mahendra Museum. In 1672, during Pratapa Malla’s reign, an image of Hanuman was placed in front of the portal to keep away evil spirits and disease. The figure still looks threatening though centuries of anointing with mustard oil and cinnebar (vermilion) have eroded its features.

At the southern end of the Durbar Square there is the most curious attraction in Nepal, the Kumari Chowk. You would be able to see a Kumari House, where the Living Goddess of Nepal resides. The living Goddess, Kumari, is a young girl who is chosen from the Shakya community through an ancient and mystical selection process to become the human incarnation of Hindu Goddess, Taleju.

In the normal office hour it is forbidden to drive in the Durbar Square. The guards in the entrance of the Durbar Square are however vigilant and are better at catching tourists who have to pay a fee to enter the area. If you stay for a while, bring a passport photo and stick it to your ticket, get a stamp and you will be done with the one-time fee. The another attraction you would see is the Manju Deval. This triple story temple is dedicated to the god Shiva and was constructed in 1692.


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.

Kathmandu Durbar Square is a living museum where you can witness the finest templescapes in the world. It is a very lively place with lots of commercial activities, religious ceremonies and all sorts of things going on.

There are several pagoda style temples. It would be a wise thing to climb to one of those temples and just enjoy the view from the top. It is a very artistic place and if you are interested in photography you would love it. However, if you want to take pictures of people walking around, please ask for the permission at first.

You can take a three wheeled rickshaw in the Durbar Square and have a short trip on this interesting place. If you are lucky enough and the driver of rickshaw is interesting, you would be able to know the hidden things about the Kathmandu Durbar Square. If you decide to take a rickshaw, you can request the driver to go around Thamel area as well. The trip will be very adventurous because you have to go through some very narrow roads and you would see lots of temples everywhere.

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