Patan, also known as the city of beauty, treasures in its alleys temples, artists, and peddlers. Its highlight is the famous Patan Durbar Square, which is home to spectacular and ancient palaces. Suppose you want to have a historical and cultural experience, a short distance from Kathmandu. In that case, Patan is the place for you.
The beauty of Patan is extraordinary. Patan, also known by the name Lalitpur, is a short drive from Kathmandu and allows visitors to enjoy a historical and cultural experience. Like its sisters from the north (Kathmandu) and east (in Bhaktapur), the city’s main attraction is Durbar Square, where you can find magnificent and ancient palaces that are hundreds of years old. In the small alleys of the city, you will find temples, hawkers, many artisans, and residents in their daily occupations, from agriculture through the sale of souvenirs and more.
The selection of guesthouse hotels is significantly smaller than in Kathmandu and the neighboring city. However, you can still find a reasonable place to lay your head at night in a quieter place than vibrant Kathmandu.
The city’s main attraction incorporates within it a number of palaces, temples, and statues that are hundreds of years old and built by the kings who ruled the city. The square is similar to the Durbar squares in Bhaktapur and Kathmandu, but it has its uniqueness and beauty. Most of the buildings in the square are built of the red claystone that characterizes the area, but unfortunately, it is impossible to enter most of them and be impressed by the art within them due to the fear that it will hurt the masses of tourists.
The square is a good place to sit and relax, watch the tourists and locals pass by, some holding various Buddhist rites and Hindus. Here you will find the famous stone bird statue, which according to legends, will fly to the sky before the Kathmandu Valley will be filled with water again, as it was before. Israelis who visited the place say that you can sometimes hear the locals reading Gali Atari’s name and singing the song in pure Hebrew … The cost of entering the square is 500 rupees, and you can pay them at the various entrances to the square. When you pay, you will also receive a map and a short leaflet explaining the square.
Opposite Durbar Square is a separate and magnificent palace called BBQ. Today, having been largely renovated and restored, the palace hosts the exhibits of the Patan Museum, which is considered by many to be the most successful museum of Nepali art. Admission to the palace and its courtyard is free, but admission to the museum itself costs about 250 rupees per person. The museum is a small cafe located in the palace’s courtyard in a pastoral and quiet environment. Hours of operation of the museum: 10: 30- 17:30 (16:30 in the winter months), except Tuesday.
In the alleys surrounding the old city of Patan, you will find countless artists, thanks to whom Patan is called the city of art of Nepal. All types of plastic art can be found in the city, from painting through sculpture and jewelry. As you wander the alleys, you will see the artists at work, painting, carving, and sculpting within the shops where they offer their works for sale. Several businesses in the city offer courses in traditional Nepalese painting (Painting Thangka) in varying amounts depending on the length of the course.
Patan is full of Hindu and Buddhist temples, including the Golden Temple, the Mahabudha Temple, the Kumbhasar Temple, the Krishna Temple, the Ratu Temple of the Chandranath, etc. However, the most prominent religious institution in the city is the Kumari. The Kumari is an animal goddess chosen by a council of the Buddhist clergy, and its role is to house within it the spirit of the goddess Taleju. The Kumari is selected at a very young age based on extremely strict physical characteristics and character tests. By the time she reaches adulthood, she is worshiped by believers from all over the world.
Four stupas scattered around the edges of the city are the oldest ruins in Nepal, according to tradition founded by King Indian Ashoka in the third century BC. Stupa different from those that appear today throughout Nepal, and the ravages of time are evident in them.
The only zoo in Nepal is in Patan, in the Jawalakhel neighborhood. The zoo is not similar to those in Europe and the US but features about 700 animals, including tigers, rhinos, and even red pandas. You can ride an elephant at the zoo for a fee of 500 rupees for 20 minutes riding and fish in its ponds in the appropriate season. The zoo is open during hours 10-17 every day, and the entrance fee is 500 rupees. The zoo is located on Pulchowk Road, the southern part of Kathmandu’s direction (see it prominently on your right).
The capital and Nepalese center of life is located north of Patan. Within it, everything a tourist could want -; His palace, temples, restaurants, hotels, travel equipment stores, souvenirs, and more. Kathmandu has been growing in recent years, and today it is close to Patan, a few minutes away by taxi/bus. Most hikers use Kathmandu as a base for trekking and hiking in the nearby Kathmandu Valley.
The most beautiful city in Nepal is only about 15 km from Patan and offers a similar cityscape and small winding alleys at the end of each of which is a temple, stupa, or souvenir market. It is a great place to escape the noisy Kathmandu for several days, and the trip takes about an hour to Patan.
Around Patan, you can see hills and mountains (on a good day also snowy peaks), which can be explored on foot, by car, and by bicycle. You can stop in the villages of Nagarkot, Dhulikhel, Sundarijal, and many more and enjoy the mountain air above the valley, or stay in the villages near Patan and enjoy green fields and rice terraces.
Shopping and markets: Most of the shopping in Patan takes place in the Old City alleys, various art shops, and souvenir stalls. You can find all the types of souvenirs typical of Nepal, such as Buddha statues and Hindu god statues, products made of yak rays and furs, pashmina scarves, Nepali clothing, and more. However, Patan’s unique product offers visitors works of art of all kinds, especially landscape paintings and traditional Nepalese paintings, which can be purchased from the many artists working on the city streets.
Day Trips & Tours: Patan and Bhaktapur Sightseeing
There are a number of major festivals celebrated in Patan throughout the year:
Buddhists mark the Buddha’s birthday in May, with large religious celebrations around the various temples in the city.
Similar to celebrations for the birth of the Buddha, the city celebrates the birth of Krishna with two days of religious ceremonies that begin at the Krishna Temple in Patan Durbar Square and expand to ceremonies at all the Hindu temples of the city.
The festival in honor of the God who protects the city includes processions around the city that combine dance and acrobatics and carriages traveling on animal-lined streets. The Kumari, the living goddess, also participates in the procession.
The annual Hindu festival is celebrated in Patan for two weeks, during which a number of local customs have developed, such as flying kites, opening fairs, religious ceremonies, and celebrations of the locals in the streets in the evening.
Patan can be reached by minibusses departing from Kathmandu frequently, from the station in Ratna Park, southeast of Thamel. The trip costs about 20 rupees, and it takes about 15 minutes. Ask the driver/ticket agent to tell you when to get off, as it is difficult to get around along the way! The buses pass through a road called Pulchowk and stop at the main bus stop (on the left side of the road, immediately after the northern Ashoka stop you will see on your right). The walk to Durbar Square takes about 15 minutes.
A taxi from Kathmandu is a convenient solution, which can also be cheap for a group of people. If you plan a short visit, you can ask for a taxi driver to wait for you and take you back to Kathmandu.
Bicycles can be rented in Kathmandu, and the journey to Patan will take about an hour. The advantage of arriving by bike is the possibility of walking around the city on their backs and seeing all the city sites in a short time.
Most of the points of interest in Patan are a short walk from each other, and you can see them all in one day. Moreover, on every street corner, some tuk-tuks and taxis will offer you city tours and short trips that will allow your feet to rest a bit, at a low price of about 100-300 rupees, depending on the length of the trip.
The recommended period to visit Patan is between the months of September and May. The weather is wet, hot, and humid in the summer months, making getting to the streets particularly difficult. In winter, the weather is usually dry and cold, and in the evening, the temperature sometimes drops to 0 degrees. During the day in winter, you can walk around the city, and it is recommended to take warm equipment.
A stroll through the back alleys of the Old Town in Patan will expose you to the world of Nepali culture and art at its best. In the courtyards and shop windows, you will see many canvases with landscape paintings, traditional Nepalese paintings, and of course, many Hindu and Buddhist paintings alongside small and hidden temples, including statues of Hindu and Buddhist gods.
Travel agencies in Kathmandu provide information on Patan, and in some, you will find maps and tourist leaflets. Some hotels also take organized tours of Patan but Recommended females tour guides Nepal.
Like Kathmandu, you can find ATMs in Patan that accept foreign credit cards where you can withdraw money. However, actions like converting travelers’ checks and bank transfers are best done in Kathmandu, where you will find banks accustomed to working with tourists.
Patan is a relatively large hospital. Patan Hospital, about a 15-20 minutes walk from Patan Durbar Square. You will likely find English-speaking doctors at the hospital, but it is advisable to contact international travel clinics in Kathmandu if the treatment is not urgent.
In some of the main attractions, various guides will offer you their services, and beware of those that offer dubious deals at too cheap (for example, a one-hour guide for 200 rupees, etc.). There have been reports of tour guides who harassed and deceived travelers in the area in the past.