Kathmandu Durbar Square is probably the most important attraction in the city and the most popular UNESCO World Heritage site in Nepal. This ancient square is crowded with palaces and temples, including the current incarnation of the Kasthamandap or “Wooden house” that gives the city its name. The square has been occupied since the construction of a palace around 1000AD.
In Nepali, Durbar means “palace” and this is where the monarch was crowned and from where he ruled.
The Square is particularly fascinating in the very early morning as all the various merchants set up their wares and when many devotees make their offerings at the various shrines and temples.
It is possible to climb the steps of many of the temples for a better look and to join others seated near the top watching the activity below. There are more than a dozen buildings and statues of note in this small area. They include:
- Taleju Temple One of the oldest temples in the square, this three-roofed temple with its pyramid shaped bases, is an example of the typical Newari architectural style.
- Ashok Binayak
- Shiva Temple
- Maju Deval
- Narayan Temple
- Shiva-Parvati Temple
- Kumari Palace– home of “the Kumari”, or living goddess, a young girl. South side of Durbar square,
- Bhagwati Temple
- Saraswati Temple The Goddess of Knowledge and Learning
- Krishna Temple
- Sweta Bhairab Statue shown only during the Indra Jatra festival.
- Kal Bhairab
- Indrapur Temple
- Vishnu temple
- Mahendreswar Temple
- Nasal Chowk Statues, temples and the Rana museum. Located in the Hanuman Dhoka former palace complex, the courtyard was used for royal coronations as recently as 2001.
How to get there
Although Kathmandu streets can be confusing, Durbar Square is just a few minutes walk from Thamel area. Just ask every 2 blocks for directions to any local and in 20 minutes you should be there by foot. Also the streets you have to walk are going to give you some sense of the Nepalese life in Kathmandu.
There will be a number of young men who will offer to be “guides.” Be firm with saying “no” if you are not interested.
Entrance fee for foreigners
The entrance fee for foreigners is NPR750. If you plan to be in the area for more than one day, it’s worth being directed to the Site Office where you can exchange your single-entry ticket with a multiple-entry pass allowing you to wander in and out as you wish. You will need to bring your passport and one passport photo. The whole process takes only a few minutes. Your entry pass gives you access to all open parts of Durbar Square as well as the Hanuman Dhoka.
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