Day 9: Patan


Today we spent the day exploring the streets of Patan with a guide. It was fascinating to see not only the main features of the stunning city square, but to explore the back streets and see how people have lived here for 100’s of years.

Our hotel entrance in Patan. Notice the Mandalla at the entrance to invite in good spirits during this festival time.

Our first stop was Durbar Square. ( or palace square, as this is the entrance to the monarch’s palace and can be found in a number of cities in Nepal). This square is a Unesco World Heritage site and for good reason!

Durbar Square, Patan

This square if filled with beautiful temples, only two of which are currently being used. One of the active temples is still undergoing restoration from the 2015 earthquake. Our guide was in this square at that time, and manage to get his group as well as himself to safety!

Bhimsen Temple ( dedicated to the god of trade and business)

The square was filled with great artistic feats showing off the craftsmanship in metal work, stone work and extraordinary teak wood carving.

One interesting festival that start in a couple of days is 11 days long and features a total of 31 dancers re-enacting historic depictions. One such depiction is of the god Narsingha defeating the demon Hiranyakashipu ( a demon so powerful that he could not be killed by man or beast, neither inside or outside, on the ground or in the air, by day or by night, nor by any weapon! Narsingha is half man half lion, and kills the demon with his fingernails, at dusk, on his lap! This dance has been going on for centuries, and it is said that the dancer who wore the demon mask would actually die at the end of the dance each year. The king decided to have the mask buried in a temple lik structure, and to this day locals will not clean or maintain this edifice because of the number of accidents that have occurred to workers in the past. Of all the building on the square, this one stands out for its unkempt appearance!

Burial Site of the Demon Mask

We next entered the Palace grounds to see many sights within its walls. Again the woodworking, stone mason army and metal work were breathtaking.

Mul Chowk (or square). Here 13 animals are sacrificed each year. They are tied to the stake and the priest blesses them with droplets of water, asking for permission. When the animal shakes its head up and down, that is said to have granted permission.
Archway leading to the next courtyard
Sundari Chowk, built in 1647 is arranged around a sunken water tank known as Tushi Haiti
This passage way between courtyards demonstrates the very low doorways. Here you see Dan is hidden from the shoulders up! (Note the foam on the lintel!)

Our guide told us the reason for the very low doors in Nepal was to protect the women of the families. You see, the king’s had a right to go in a take any woman they wanted, but the king would not bow to anyone. As a result, if you made an entrance that required him to bow his head, he would not go in there. All I can say is that there must have been a lot of women to protect in the palace as well, because all of those doors seemed very short too!

We soon left the palace grounds and began to explore the market area.

Women selling special flower necklaces and foods for the celebrations
Leaves wrapped around an assortment of fruit and herbs. Chew this for a fresh breath after the festivities. (Unless, of course, you’re from the west. Then you’ll end up with Delhi belly!)
Metal shops displaying their wears.

After exploring a taste of commerce, we headed to the golden temple. It was allegedly founded in the 12th century and has continued in its current form since 1409! Our guide told us that he served as a junior monk for 30 days when he was a boy. His name has been added to a list of over 6,000 in the register, and when he turns 51 he may be invited back to be the caretaker for a month. With this goes the responsibility of finding both a senior and junior monk to join him and his family in maintaining this temple for a month. Quite an honour indeed!

Entrance to the Golden Temple Square
The Golden Temple ( pure gold overlay on all the metal here)
Bodhisattva Vajrasattva with her gold and silver cape.

Next we headed off to explore some of the lesser frequented alleyways and back streets. Fascinating indeed!

Here we see a courtyard that is showing the signs of the 2015 earthquake.
Courtyard with Stupas (shrine containing relics of someone who’s passed)
Nepalese flag flying in this street. Notice the doors and windows decorated for Diwali.

After some walking it was time for a lunch break. Dan and I decided to try a Nepalese Thailand’s. This is an assortment of wonderful tasty items

Chicken Curry, Dal, rice, vegetables, chutneys, yogurt. Delish!
Rooftop view. Look at the building in the centre – still damaged from the 2015 earthquake.
Old temple next to creative wiring – apparently there were not that many people without power after the earthquake! Who would have guessed!

Once lunch was done we went off to explore some more!

An affluent neighbourhood on a large square
A haunted house that no one will buy! (Ghosts are said to inhabit the ground as well!)
Beautifully hand carved windows in a private square
Door featuring hand carved depictions of the Birth, Life and Death of Buddha

With our heads full of discovery we steered towards our hotel where we met our guide for the next 2 days. We are getting out of the city, and will be doing hiking tomorrow and the next through some lovely rural scenery. So looking forward to stretching our legs and getting some fresh mountain air!

Well its time to wrap this up and begin packing for our next adventure! Until tomorrow!

Categories: Himalayas: India, Nepal and Bhutan 2019

4 comments

  1. Some amazing stonework and architecture and you have captured the feeling of the place with so many wonderful photos Pat!

    Like

  2. Incredible! What a an experience for the senses! Can’t wait to hear all, about it!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: