Patan is one of the sub-metropolitan cities of Nepal located in the south-western part of Kathmandu valley...
Patan is one of the major cities of Nepal. It is one of the sub-metropolitan cities of Nepal located in the south-western part of Kathmandu valley. It is best known for its rich cultural heritage, particularly its tradition of arts and crafts. At the time of the 2001 Nepal census it had a population of 162991 in 68922 individual households. Patan is situated on the elevated tract of land in Kathmandu Valley on the south side of the Bagmati River, which separates it from the City of Kathmandu on the northern side. It was developed on relatively thin layers of deposited clay and gravel in the central part of a dried ancient lake known as Nagdaha. It is among the largest cities in the country, along with Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Biratnagar.
It is said that the city was designed and built after the Buddhist drama Chakra (the wheel of righteousness). It is surrounded by four big stupas - one at each corner of its cardinal points. These monuments are said to have built by the Indian Emperor Ashoka when he came to Kathmandu Valley on his pilgrimage tour some 2,250 years ago. When we look at the size and shape of these stupas, in much way they seem to breathe their antiquity in a real remote past. It is interested to know that there are more than 1,200 Buddhist monuments of various sizes scattered in and around this city alone. However, the most important monumental center of this city is of course, Patan Durbar Square, which to our great delight has been recognized by UNESCO as a world Heritage Site.
A British Traveler Percival London was highly impressed by the sight of this beautiful square wrote way back in 1928 “ As an ensemble, the Durbar in Patan probably remains the most picturesque collection of building that have been set up in so small a place by the piety of oriental man”.
According to very old Kirat chronicle edited by a noted research scholar Prem Bahadur Subba, Patan was founded by Kirati Rulers long before the Lichhavi rulers come into the political scene in Kathmandu Valley. According to him the earliest known capital was most possibly shifted from Thankot to Patan after the Kirati King Yalamber came into power sometime around second century A.D.
It must be mentioned here that one of the most common and typical Newari name of Patan is Yala. It is said that King Yalambe named this city after himself and ever since then this ancient city was known as Yala.
The city of Patan is believed to have been built in the third century B.C. by the Kirat dynasty. It was expanded by Lichhavis in the 6th century A.D. and again by the Mallas in medieval period. The Malla kings ruled the Kathmandu Valley until the ascension of the Shah dynasty. In 1768, King Prithvi Narayan Shah began his campaign to unify Nepal and Patan became a city in the kingdom of Nepal.
In the early 1800's the Shah heirs fought the Anglo-Nepalese War (1814-1816) against the British East India Company over the annexation of small neighboring states. The Nepalese lost and were forced to cede land to the British in exchange for autonomy.
In 1846, Queen Rajendralakshmi sought to curb the power of the military leader, Jang Bahadur. An armed clash between the queen's loyalists and the miliary personnel loyal to Bahadur ensued in the palace armory in Kathmandu, after which the queen had several hundred prominent men executed, including princes and chieftans. This became known as the Kot Massacre. Badahur emerged from the fighting as the only powerful leader and took the office of Prime Minister. He made the prime minister position autocratic and hereditary. During his reign he purged his enemies by killing and driving thousands into exile, including the king and queen. He replaced them with a figurehead monarch, who gave Bahadur the title 'Rana'. The rule of Bahadur and his heirs over the next 100 years became known as the Rana dynasty.
The dynasty was brought down in the 1950's by reformists who instituted a consitutional monarchy. This lasted until 1962, when King Mahendra created a panchayat system of government. This system created a pyramid structure of power based on councils from the village level to the National Parliament, with the King as head of state.
King Mahendra's son, King Birendra ascended the throne in 1972 and promised democratic reforms. He called a national referendum in 1980 to decide whether to continue the panchayat system, with reforms, or to establish a multi-party system of government. The panchayat system won a close victory.
The 1990 People's Movement ('Jana Andolan') was a cooperative effort among political parties of Nepal, including the Nepali Congress and Communist parties, to establish a constitutional democracy. It ended the panchayat system, and resulted in Nepal's first election in almost 50 years, in 1991. The following year, as a result of economic crises, a leftist group called the Joint People's Agitation Committee called for a general strike. Violence ensued, and clashes in Patan between police and activists resulted in the deaths of two activists. In Kathmandu, a crowd rallying at Tundikhel was attacked by police, resulting in an estimated 14 more deaths.
In 1995, in response to corruption, the Communist Party of Nepal (the Maoists) declared a People's war. They called for the redistribution of land, increased power for rural communities, the elimination of the caste system, equal rights for women, and the creation of a communist republic.
Patan is a center of Buddhist and Hindu culture. The city is full of religious art, temples, and monasteries. Many religious festivals take place in Patan each year. One is the Buddha Jayanti festival, marking the birthday of Lord Buddha, which occurs on Jestha Purnima (full moon night in April or May).
The birthday of Lord Krishna is celebrated by Hindus at the Krishna Temple in Patan in August - September. Devotees gather at the Krishna Temple in Patan Durbar Square for a vigil through the night. The following day, the devotees visit all the Krishna shrines throughout the city.
The largest festival in Nepal is the Dashain festival in September to October. This festival takes place at the Palace Complex in Patan as well as in the other cities of the Kathmandu Valley and commemorates a victory by the gods over wicked demons. The celebration lasts 15 days and includes kite flying.
October and November
Patan Durbar Square, Hiranya Varna Mahaa Vihar, Rudra Varna Mahavihar, Mahaboudha Temple, Patan Zoo, Jagat Narayan Temple, Kumbeshwor Temple, Godavari, Krishna Temple, Jawalakhel Handicraft Center
Patan Durbar Square: Patan Durbar Square complex, situated in the center of Patan city, also known as Lalitpur, houses the residence of the former Patan royal family. Patan Square and its surroundings are good specimen of ancient Newari architecture. There are three main courtyards in the palace: Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Keshav Narayan Chowk. Mul Chowk, the oldest one, is at the centre of Patan square.
Several multi-sized and multi-styled temples occupy the western part of the complex. Main among these are Krishna Temple, Bhimsen Temple and the Golden Temple of Hiranya Varna.
Hiranya Varna Maha Vihar: The Golden Temple (Hiranya Varna Maha Vihar), built in the 12th Century by King Bhaskar Verma, is located just north of Durbar square. This three-roof Buddhist monastery is adorned with a golden facade, four large gateways, a clock tower, and two lion sculptures. Inside are golden images of Buddha, wall carvings, and a prayer wheel.
Rudra Varna Mahavihar: This Buddhist monastery holds amazing collection of images and idols in metal, stone and wood. Legend holds that the Kings in the ancient times were crowned in this monastery. Many of the treasures offered by the people can be seen here even today.
Mahaboudha Temple: Buddhist temple Mahaboudha, which is made of clay bricks, lies to the east of the Durbar Square. Hundereds of Buddha images are engraved in the bricks. The temple is known for its fine terra cota work.
Patan Zoo: The Patan Zoo, in Jawalakhel, is the only zoo in Nepal. It was established as a private zoo in 1932 and opened to the public in 1956. It houses over 700 different animals, including 14 endangered species of Nepal. There is a pond where visitors can go boating. The zoo is closed on Mondays.
Jagat Narayan Temple: Jagatnarayan temple is a tall shikhara style temple devoted to Lord Vishnu. Red bricks are used for the construction of the temple. The temple also holds a fine metal statue of Garuda, Ganesh and Hanuman, all related to Hindu religion and mythology.
Kumbeshwor Temple: The five-storied pagoda-style Lord Siva temple was constructed by King Jayasthiti Malla. Inside the temple is a natural spring whose source, is said to be the famous glacial lake of Gosainkunda. The golden work was added later in 1422 A.D. One the festival of Janai Purnima, ritual bathing takes place and a fair is also held.
Godavari: Situated at the foothill of Pulchowki this place has a splendid natural beauty. The road from Patan city runs to Godavari passing through the small, old towns of Harisiddhi, Thaiba and Badegaon. Godavari is a very good picnic spot with the only Royal Botanical Garden in Nepal. Fish Hatchery and a marble quarry also are located here. It is open daily including Saturday and government holidays. Buses of Godavari are available at Lagankhel.
Krishna Temple: This temple of red stone, dedicated to Hindu Lord Krishna was erected in the 17th century. The temple is considered to be the first one to be constructed in Shikara architecture. Thanks to this attribute, it holds a commanding position in the durbar square. The elegant shikhara-style temple is ranked as one of the gems of Durbar Square. The temple is compared with sacred Mount Meru, which is abode of the god Shiva according to Hindu scriptures.
Jawalakhel Handicraft Center:
It is an extremely interesting place where one can see the spinning, dying and weaving of Tibetan carpets. This center has also a well-stocked show room.
Tourists arrive in the Kathmandu Valley via Tribhuvan International Airport. Airlines flying into this airport include Royal Nepal Airlines, Aeroflot, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, China South-West Airlines, Druk Air, lndian Airlines, Pakistan International Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Thai lnternational.
From the airport, which lies 5.5 km east of Kathmandu, one can take prepaid taxis or buses or rent a car. From Kathmandu, one can take metered taxis or buses from the bus terminal at Gongabu to get to Patan. In addition, metered tempos (scooter taxis), and rickshaws are available. Bicycles and motorcycles can also be rented in Kathmandu.
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