The Golden Temple
The east entrance, carved of stone with gaudy lions and frieze of Buddhist deities.
The trip to Nepal ended with a tour to Patan City, the oldest of the original three cities in Kathmandu Valley, also known as Lalitpur or the “City of Beauty.”
Reaching Patan Durbar Square, which is another UNESCO World Heritage Monument and a marvel of Newari architecture, involved a short walk through interesting streets that required careful watching of the surroundings since they lacked any kind of sidewalk and the vehicles and crazy scooters could come uncomfortably close to pedestrians.
Even though it sustained heavy damage during the April 2015 earthquake, here was another breathtaking display of Hindu temples, Buddhist monuments, and stone statues with wonderful carvings. I believe at one point it may have been the most beautiful of the Squares and it's buildings some of the most elaborate.
Krishna Mandir is the most important temple in Patan Durbar Square. It was built in 1637 in a style imported from India and is considered one of the finest stone monuments in Nepal. The first floor pillar carvings narrate the events of the Mahabharata. It was damaged during the 2015 earthquake and was undergoing repairs at the time of my visit.
Also notable is Bhinsen Temple, built
in 1680 with the beautiful carvings and famous for its interconnected golden triple windows in front.
Vishwanath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It was built in 1627 and the two stone elephants guarding the entrance are a famous identifiable sight. The Vishwanath Temple was damaged during the 2015 earthquake. Only outlines are visible through the scaffolding of ongoing repairs.
We visited the three main courtyards in the ancient palace of the Malla Kings. Keshav Narayan Chowk, Mul Chok, and Sundari Chok.
When we entered Mul Chok, which is the largest and most famous courtyard, we were surprised to see pools of blood from the animal sacrifices during the previous night’s religious rites to celebrate the culmination of the goddess festival. At the center is located Vidya Temple, and the doorway to the shrine of Taleju is confined by the statues of the river goddesses Ganga and Jamuna.
Sundari Chok is smaller and the entrance is guarded by the stone statues of Hanuman, Ganesh, and Narasingha. The main attraction for me was the sunken tank known as Tusha Hiti.
Keshav Narayan Chowk is inside the Patan Museum.
Not to be missed, Kwa Bahal Buddhist
Monastery, also known as The Golden Temple, is a magnificent and luxurious three storey pagoda built in the 12th century just north of the square. It gets its name from the gilded metal plates that cover most of the front. I found it one of the most beautiful temples we saw in Nepal. One notable detail is that the main priest of the temple of a young boy under the age of 12, who serves for 30 days before handing the job over to another young boy.
The courtyard was magnificent, with the two elephant status guarding the doorway, and the façade is covered by gleaming Buddhist figures.
The last stop was some leisure time to visit the Museum that now occupies a section of the Royal Palace. There were ancient sculptures and artifacts, plus a chance to see one of the living areas of the palace and bird eye's views from some of the windows.
A memorable experience was visiting a long existing shop that makes singing bowls. One demonstration involved me closing my eyes while the artisan moved the bowl over different areas of my body. Without a doubt, I could feel where it was
through the vibrations felt within my body. It was very amazing.
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