Lalitpur (Patan) is one of the oldest cities of Nepal. Believed to be founded on 2nd BC by King Veer Deva, Lalitpur is popular for its ancient architecture, Hindu temples and rich cultural heritage.
Durbar square or Darbar square is considered a royal courtyard or premise located in and around royal palaces in Nepal. Mostly referred to the 3 historic palaces of Kathmandu valley; Basantapur Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square, it may include pools, fountains, temples, theaters, garden etc. The Kings of the then period used to use the square to organize various festivities, theatrical performances and to meet for various societal causes.
The Newā people or Newārs are the indigenous people of the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal and the creators of its historic civilization. Culturally and linguistically belonging to Indo-Aryan and Mongol tribes, Newars are considered the natives of Kathmandu valley.
The 3 durbar squares of Kathmandu valley belonged to 3 Newari Kings of the Malla period. After the conquest of Kathmandu by the Shah clan of Gorkha region, the city assimilated with the legion of later monarchs, thus marking the beginning of the Shah period in Kathmandu.
Patan Durbar Square is located at the center of Lalitpur. A former palace of Malla Kingdom, it was occupied by by King Prithvi Narayan Shah of the Shah clan following the Battle of Lalitpur in 1768. The palaces and courtyard are believed to have been constructed before the arrival of the Mallas in Nepal by the Pradhan clan.
The first patronage of Patan, King Purandara Simha Malla built the palace in the present location of the Durbar square. It was later expanded and refurbished by King Siddhi Narasimha Mall and his son Srinivasa Sukriti in the 16th century. Today, most of the current architecture comes from 16th century Malla Kingdom.
There are 3 major chowks or courtyards inside Patan Durbar Square, namely; Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Keshav Narayan Chowk. Other than the chowks, the palace boasts numerous gardens, stone taps, religious shrines and temples. Today, the palace serves as a museum –focusing art and culture of the city.
Siege of Lalitpur
The battle of Lalitpur in 1768 caused a much hullabaloo in the city. The last monarch of Patan, King Tej Narasimha Malla fled to Bhaktapur following the siege of city by the 20,000 men strong Gurkha army.
King Prithvi Narayan Shah commenced the blockade of the city in a bid to cause famine by cutting supplies from entering the city which made the situation of the inhabitants much worse. Captain George Kinloch of British Raj was appealed by the King of Kathmandu to intervene, however, he was forced to retreat by the Gurkhas. The siege only became possible after striking the deal with numerous nobles of Patan. Gurkha army marched into the city and took over the palace, thus ending the long fiefdom of the Mallas.
#1 Krishna Temple
Krishna Temple is the major attraction of the Patan durbar square. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, it was built by King Siddhi Narasimha Malla in 1637, following the mystical dream by the king one night. The temple boasts 21 golden pinnacles. The temple becames a major hub of devotees during Krishna Janmashtami on August 17.
#2 Bhimsen Temple
Dedicated to the hero of Mahabharata, a Hindu mythology, Bhimsen is most revered by the Newars of Kathmandu valley. The temple was built by Srinivasa Malla in 1680.
#3 Taleju Bhawani Temple
It was built by King Siddhi Narasimha Malla in 1660. Dedicated to Taleju Bhawani, it is known to be the personal deity of the Malla Kings.