Nepal has a rich history and its testimony is literally everywhere. One rule applies when visiting this amazing land: wherever you go, open up your eyes and don’t be afraid to get lost (it might happen to you more than once).
Before its unification in the mid-eighteenth century, Nepal consisted of small kingdoms, each capital having its own Durbar square, the historical center of the city. These plazas welcome the old royal palaces, temples and shrines devoted to the important deities, water fountains and other areas where the Newar people could gather. Three Durbar Squares have been recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites: Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, and Bhaktapur Durbar Square. They are luckily all situated in the Kathmandu valley, just few minutes from each other.
If you want to break away from Kathmandu’s agitation, head to Lalitpur. The destination is less famous but definitely worth of being. The city of fine arts, also known as Patan, is the oldest town in the valley, and a real open air museum. It is said that the city was designed and built after the Buddhist Dharma Chakra (the wheel of righteousness). Four big stupas, in Pulchowk, Lagankhel, Ebahi and Teta, mark the corners of the city. Its medieval plaza is surely the most beautifully preserved of the country but also the most peculiar. As the English journalist Perceval Landon has described it in 1928: “As an ensemble, the Durbar Square in Patan probably remains the most picturesque collection of buildings that has been set up in so small a place by the piety and pride of Oriental man”.
How to go there?
Micro Bus from Ratnapark in Kathmandu (12 rps, 8 rps for students/volunteers with a Nepalese ID card).
Taxis are a more expensive option 200-350 rps (~3.00-5.00 usd).
Buses – Catch a blue or green bus on Kathmandu’s Ring Road (loops around Kathmandu Valley)for 15 to 20 rps. Tell the cashier/attendent that you want to go to Patan. He’ll let you know when you get there. It’s only a 15 min walk to Patan Dubar Square from Ring Road.