Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal. It is a valley located approximately 1400 meters above sea level. Kathmandu is known as the city of temples. The area of Kathmandu valley is only around 413.6 acres with nearly a million people who live in the valley.
There are many hidden places to explore in the city and one of the main areas is Kathmandu Durbar Square.
For this reason, we have organised this guide on some of the most iconic attractions you will find in Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Kathmandu Durbar Square Map
Kathmandu Durbar Square is located around 1.6kms from Thamel.
You can walk from Thamel to Kathmandu Durbar Square which will take you around 20 minutes.
You can also catch a taxi, which will take you around 10 minutes drive. There are rickshaws available as well, which is a fun way to explore the hidden streets.
However, the best way to explore Kathmandu is to hire a driver for private tours. You can find a list of drivers with pricing here or you can contact us so we can help you connect with a driver for private tours.
How much is Kathmandu Durbar Square Entry Fee?
For tourists, there is two-tier of pricing.
As below table from World Nepal, for Saarc Nationals, its NPR 150 and for Foreign Nationals, it is 1000. For Nepali Citizens, it is free.
|Kathmandu Durbar Square including Tribhuvan Museum
|Below 10 years free
About Kathmandu Durbar Square
Kathmandu Durbar Square known as Basantapur is one of the UNESCO World heritage sites and is one of the three historic landmarks in Kathmandu.
This Durbar (palace) is located in the heart of Kathmandu city and is surrounded by temples filled with a rich history and Newari culture and is now known as the old royal palace which was once home to the Malla and Shah dynasty.
Kathmandu Durbar Square is a popular destination for tourists as well as for the locals where people come here for worshipping and shopping (especially at markets and traditional clothing stores).
Durbar Square is a place of significance for ceremonies and religious rituals. The main ceremonies that are held here are the coronation of the Kings and the religious ceremonies such as the Kumari Jatra and Indra Jatra.
The history of this square goes back to the 17th century when the square was constructed as part of the Durbar. However, since the earthquake in 1934 which was known as one of the worst earthquakes to hit Nepal, the whole area had to be reconstructed and designed and in 1979 the Durbar was labelled as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Kathmandu Durbar Square after the earthquake
Sadly in 2015, Nepal got hit with another earthquake which was again one of the worst earthquakes in Kathmandu as well as Nepal as a whole with thousands of people losing their lives and their homes.
The country suffered a great deal from the force of the earthquake. Since then people in Kathmandu have done a fantastic job to restore the sites, their homes and have shown the true uplifting spirits of the Nepalese people during these tough times.
As you walk through the Durbar Square you will see some building sites that are supported by scaffolds, these building sites are still being restored and reconstructed due to the earthquake in April 2015.
Okay, let’s look at some of the most iconic historic sites to see while visiting Kathmandu Durbar Square below. You will find most of the architecture reflects Newari (a community in Nepal) culture including wood carving and beautiful pagodas.
Famous sites around the square
Kaal in Nepali language is death and Bhairav is a God. A large stone carving of Kaal Bhairav (an avatar of Lord Shiva) is located next to Hanuman Dhoka. It is worshipped by Hindus where people come to pray and offer food.
Hanuman Dhoka is located in Durbar Square and it is where the old royal palace is located, the place which was home to the Malla Kings and Shah Dynasty.
Hanuman Dhoka gets its name from a stone statue of Hanuman (a Hindu God) which dates back to 1672 that sits at the entry gate of the old royal palace. Hanuman Dhoka Palace Museum is also located here where the museum showcases the lives of the Shah Kings.
This temple is located near Hanuman Dhoka and is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Taleju Bhawani. Golden statues of the ten-armed Goddess can be found inside the temple as well as shrines to both Taleju and Kumari (Nepal’s living Goddess).
The temple was built in the 14th century by the Malla kings. This temple is considered a significant temple in Durbar Square where Hindus can only visit the temple once a year on the ninth day of Dashain (an auspicious festival celebrated in Nepal).
Kumari Ghar means home of the Kumari. The house is a beautiful brick structure with wood carved windows reflecting a Newari culture that was built in 1757 by King Jaya Prakash Malla and is located on the south side of Basantapur.
Kumari is considered as a Living Goddess of Nepal where a young Newar girl is chosen from the Shakya caste to represent the Goddess of Kumari as an incarnation of Goddess Taleju.
You may visit Kumari Ghar at Basantapur but only in the courtyard area where you may be lucky enough to see the Kumari. Most of the time the Kumari resides in her home and only leaves the house during religious festivals such as Indra Jatra.
This festival is held around August or September every year, the Kumari is carried around in a chariot (where her feet must not touch the ground) through the main streets of Kathmandu.
One of the oldest temple in Durbar Square constructed in 1563, one that is also unique due to its erotic stone carvings on the roof struts of the temple. The temple has two stories with a three-tiered platform.
Also known as the Gaddi Baithak Palace is also an iconic building in Kathmandu Durbar Square. This European inspired building was built in 1908 by the Rana Prime minister. This building held many formal occasions (meetings) hosted by the Kings. Now the building holds many ceremonies such as the Kumari Jatra.
Shiva and Parvati Temple:
This temple is dedicated to Shiva and Parvati built over a raised platform and protected by statues of lions, located in Durbar Square close to Kumari Ghar. The temple is two storeys which have a statue of Lord Shiva (the God of destruction) and Parvati (a supreme Goddess) looking out the window giving blessings to visitors.
So here we have some of the places to see in Kathmandu Durbar Square. It is a beautiful place to visit and simply to just walk around and soak in the rich history of Nepali culture. There are markets where you can buy souvenirs, arts and crafts so be prepared to bargain!
Kathmandu Durbar Square and the surrounding narrow streets which can take you through to Asan Bazar and Thamel is a great place to explore by either walking or taking your very own rikshaw where you will see the lifestyle of the Nepalese people in their traditional homes and the place to be to find some of the best markets.
Tip: Take extra care when walking around especially in the narrow streets as it can be quite crowded by pedestrians and residents and busy with traffic (motorcyclists).
After a long day of walking around and exploring, stop at one of many rooftop cafes/restaurants and soak in the atmosphere, enjoying the views with a cup of coffee overlooking Kathmandu Durbar Square with the background of Kathmandu Valley and its surrounding areas.
Best time to enjoy these views is around sunset where you will see the whole place including the temples light up with candles and lanterns and hear temple bells ringing in the background which offers a magical experience of Kathmandu.
Kathmandu Durbar Square is truly a beautiful place that is filled with rich history and culture offering a unique experience making it an interesting place to explore.
Have you been to Kathmandu Durbar Square? Can you share your experience with us? Also, if you have any questions or would like to share your feedback, please leave a comment below. We hope this has provided some information and will guide you on some of the places to visit and some of the things to do.
Have a safe trip and happy travels!