Tourist Places to Visit in Patan Lalitpur in 2023

Patan, a city located in the southern part of the Kathmandu Valley, is renowned for its fine arts and impressive architecture. Known as “Lalitpur” or “Yala” among the Newars, it is believed to be the oldest city in the Kathmandu Valley and is often referred to as “the city of beauty.”

Despite being a popular day trip destination from Kathmandu, most travelers only visit the Durbar Square and miss out on the other offerings of this captivating city. Patan has a rich cultural heritage, authentic local markets, scenes of arts and crafts, and a laid-back atmosphere that combines traditional and modern ways of life.

If you’re looking to experience local life and immerse yourself in Nepalese culture, Patan is an ideal destination. We think it’s a more authentic place to stay than the touristy Thamel, and highly recommend spending at least a day (or two) exploring the city while visiting the Kathmandu Valley. It’s definitely worth adding to everyone’s itinerary!


Things to do in Patan

Patan Durbar Square 

Patan Durbar Square is one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley, alongside Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Kathmandu Durbar Square. The word “Durbar” means palace in Nepali, and this square was once the residence of the Malla Kings of Lalitpur.

Since 1979, the site of Patan Durbar Square has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although the area suffered significant damage during the 2015 earthquake, it has since been restored to its former glory. the square is now in better condition than its counterpart in Kathmandu. The square’s unique and stunning temples and monuments exemplify the exceptional architecture of the Newars and showcase their remarkable craftsmanship.

Krishna Mandir temple

Krishna Mandir is one of the most beautiful temples in Patan and is situated in front of the Royal Palace. This Hindu temple is built in the Shikhara-style and was constructed in 1637 by King Siddhi Narasimha Malla. According to legend, the king dreamt that Lord Krishna and his consort Radha were standing in front of his palace, prompting him to order the temple’s construction on the same spot.

Crafted from stone, the temple exemplifies the remarkable craftsmanship of the Malla era. Each of its three floors is dedicated to a different deity: the first to Lord Krishna, the second to Lord Shiva, and the third to Lord Lokeshwor (Avalokiteshvara).

Chyasin Dewal

Chyasin Dewal is another temple in Patan dedicated to Lord Krishna and was constructed in 1723 by Yogamati, the daughter of King Yoganarendra Malla. The temple’s name means “eight-sided,” referring to its octagonal structure, which is crafted from stone and is quite beautiful.

Legend has it that the temple was built in memory of the 32 women – specifically, eight wives and 24 concubines – of King Yoganarendra Malla. These women reportedly committed satis, a cruel and archaic practice in which a widow would immolate herself during her husband’s funeral ceremony.

Bhimsen Temple

Dedicated to Bhimsen, one of the five Pandavas from the Mahabharata who is regarded as the God of Business and Trade, the Bhimsen Temple in Patan was constructed in 1681 by King Srinivasa Malla. The temple is a three-story pagoda and is especially renowned for its three interconnected golden windows.

Vishwanath Temple

Vishwanath Temple, a striking two-story temple devoted to Lord Shiva, was erected in 1627 by King Siddhi Narasimha Malla. The temple entrance is guarded by two stone elephants, and inside the temple, there is a Shiva Linga.

Taleju bell

The Chyasin Dewal houses the Taleju bell, a massive cast-iron bell that was set up by King Vishnu Malla back in 1736. The bell served a dual purpose, firstly as a means for the public to inform the King of their complaints, and secondly as an alarm to signal the approach of the King’s foes.

Hari Shankar Temple

The Hari Shankar temple, which dates back to 1705 and was built by King Yoganarendra Malla’s daughter, suffered destruction during the 2015 earthquake. However, it underwent complete restoration and was returned to its former glory by 2019. This three-story temple is devoted to both Lord Shiva (Shankar) and Lord Vishnu (Hari).

King Yoganarendra Malla’s Column

The statue of King Yoganarendra Malla, accompanied by his two wives, a cobra and a bird, can be found in close proximity to the Hari Shankar temple. According to legend, the bird resting on the head of the cobra indicates that the King will one day return to his Kingdom, and in anticipation of this event, a window of the Palace is always left open. Despite his disappearance after making this proclamation, the people of Patan continue to hold onto the belief in his eventual return.

Char Narayan temple

Although the 2015 earthquake had caused complete destruction of the Char Narayan temple, also referred to as the ‘Jagan Narayan temple’, it was completely restored in January 2020. This temple, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, was initially constructed by Purandarasimha in 1566 and is recognized as the oldest temple located within the Durbar Square.


The Royal Palace and Patan Museum 

Patan’s prime attraction is the age-old Royal Palace, which served as the residence of the Malla Kings. The palace complex comprises three primary courtyards, known as Chowks in Nepali: Keshav Narayan Chowk, Mul Chowk, and Sundari Chowk.

Keshav Narayan Chowk & Patan Museum

The Keshav Narayan Chowk, which was built in 1734, served as the residential courtyard for the Malla Kings’ Royal Palace. Located at the center of this courtyard is the Keshav Narayan Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The chowk is renowned for its impressive Golden Gate and the two lions, one male and one female, that guard the entrance. Additionally, the Keshav Narayan Chowk houses the Patan museum.

King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah inaugurated the Patan museum in 1997, and it showcases a remarkable collection of religious art, including numerous relics and artifacts from both Hinduism and Buddhism. It is also home to exquisite traditional Newari crafts and bronze statues. Visitors are not required to pay an extra fee to enter the museum as the entrance fee for the Patan Durbar Square ticket includes access to the museum. The Patan Museum is personally my favorite museum in the Kathmandu Valley.

Mul Chowk

King Srinivasa Malla reconstructed Mul Chowk, the largest of the three primary courtyards of the Royal Palace, in 1666. The center of Mul Chowk houses an exquisite shrine dedicated to Yantaju, which is the personal deity of the Malla Kings. Additionally, the impressive Taleju Bhawani Temple, built-in 1671, and the Degutale Temple, built-in 1661, both of which are dedicated to Goddess Taleju, can be viewed inside Mul Chowk.

Sundari chowk

The smallest of the three primary courtyards of the Royal Palace, Sundari Chowk, was constructed in 1627 and is considered the most beautiful. This chowk is renowned for its stunning sunken Royal bath, named ‘Tusha Hiti,’ which was built by King Siddhi Narasimha Malla in 1647.

Bhandarkhal garden

Don’t forget to visit the Bhandarkhal garden and water tank located behind the Mul Chowk and Sundari Chowk. Constructed in 1647, the Bhandarkhal water tank served as the primary water source for the Royal Palace.


Exploring the Primary Temples and Stupas in Lalitpur Beyond the Durbar Square

The Golden Temple

My preferred temple in Patan is the Golden Temple, which was established by King Bhaskar Deva Varma in 1045 and reconstructed in its present form in 1409. Also known as Kwa Bahal or Hiranya Varna Mahavihar, this Buddhist monastery has three levels and is incredibly magnificent. The term Hiranya Varna Mahavihar implies “Monastery with a Golden Color.” The leader of Kwa Bahal is a young boy under 12 years old from the Shakya caste, who serves for one month before being replaced by another young boy.

The complex’s architecture is breathtaking. In the courtyard, there is a stunning shrine with a tall statue of Shakyamuni Buddha. The intricate craftsmanship is visible all around you. Ascend the stairs to visit the monastery on the upper floor. Don’t overlook the four monkey sculptures in the courtyard’s corners, each holding jackfruits.

According to an age-old tradition, rice is stored inside the temple to feed the mice. This custom is said to have originated from a vision of King Bhaskar Varma, in which a golden rat was seen chasing a cat inside the temple.

Kumbheshwar temple and Baglamukhi temple

The oldest Hindu temple in Patan is the Kumbeshwar temple, allegedly built in 1392 by King Jayashiti Malla. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the five-storey temple is among the tallest in the Kathmandu valley and one of only two five-storey temples in Nepal (the other being the Nyatapola temple in Bhaktapur). The complex features two ponds (hitis), and legend has it that the water in the ponds comes directly from Gosaikunda, a lake formed by Shiva’s trident to quench his thirst after swallowing poison. Within the Kumbeshwar complex is the famous Baglamukhi temple, dedicated to the Goddess Baglamukhi (Parvati, the consort of Shiva).

Rudra Varna Mahavihar

Rudra Varna Mahavihar, also known as ‘Uku Bahal’, is one of Patan’s most ancient Buddhist monasteries, believed to have been established in 590-604. The main courtyard is exquisitely beautiful, and the peaceful atmosphere of the place is simply breathtaking. Surprisingly, there aren’t many tourists in the area, perhaps because it’s located outside the typical tourist path. However, skipping this site would be a huge mistake!

The Mahabuddha Temple

The Mahabuddha temple, which honors Siddhartha Gautama, is a stunning Buddhist temple also known as the ‘Temple of a thousand Buddhas’. Built in 1585 (although some sources vary and suggest 1564-1565), the temple features terracotta tiles with hundreds of Buddha images intricately carved into them, earning it its nickname. Unfortunately, the temple was damaged in the April 2015 Earthquake and was still undergoing renovation during our last visit.

The Rato Machhendranath temple 

The Rato Machhendranath temple, constructed in 1673, is a stunning three-storey temple that honors Machhendranath, who is revered as the God of Rain and Harvest and is considered an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara for the Buddhists and Lord Shiva for the Hindus. The temple is enclosed by a blue metal fence, which was installed after some valuable items were stolen from the temple. It is recommended to explore the temple courtyard to get a closer look at the structure. Admission to the temple is free.

Ashokas Stupas

The ‘Four Ashoka Stupas’ situated at the four cardinal directions of Patan, were constructed in the 3rd century by the Buddhist Emperor Ashoka to mark the previous limits of the city. Emperor Ashoka built these stupas during his visit to the Kathmandu valley with his daughter, Charumati.

One of the four stupas, Lagan Thura, is situated in Lagankhel and is the largest and best-preserved stupa among them. It is also considered to be the most beautiful.

Ibahi Thura is the name of the Northern stupa situated in Ibahi. Although smaller than the other three stupas, it is known for its intricate design.

As for the Eastern stupa, it is located in Teta, outside of Ring Road, and is referred to as Teta Thura.

Lastly, the Western stupa, known as Pulchowk Thura or Pucho Thura, is located in Pulchowk. However, the stupa’s sacredness and beauty are now somewhat obscured by the surrounding high-rise buildings.

House of living Goddess kumari of Patan

In my previous article discussing Kathmandu Durbar Square, I described how each of the three cities in the Kathmandu Valley – Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur – have their own Kumari, with the Kumari of Kathmandu Durbar Square (the Royal Kumari) being the most significant. The legend behind the Kumari tradition states that the spirit of the goddess Taleju incarnates within a young girl from the Newar Shakya caste, who then serves as the Kumari until she reaches puberty, at which point a new Kumari is chosen.

Compared to the Kumari of Kathmandu, the Living Goddess of Patan is more accessible, and it is possible to visit her residence. However, it is important to follow certain rules when visiting her home, such as removing your shoes before entering, refraining from talking to the Kumari, and kneeling before her.

Mangal bazaar (market )

Mangal bazaar, situated in the vicinity of Patan’s Durbar Square, serves as the local market of Patan and is a suitable place for purchasing religious keepsakes, apparel, and accessories. However, it is particularly recognized for its Newari cuisine, making it a must-visit destination for food lovers in Patan.

How to reach Patan from kathmandu, Nepal.

There are several ways to reach Patan from Kathmandu:

By taxi: You can hire a taxi from Kathmandu to Patan. Taxis are easily available in Kathmandu and the journey takes around 20-30 minutes depending on traffic.

By local bus: You can take a local bus from Ratna Park bus station in Kathmandu to Patan. The journey takes around 45 minutes to an hour.

By microbus: Microbuses are a popular mode of transport in Kathmandu. You can take a microbus from Kathmandu to Patan from several locations in the city, including Ratna Park and Bagbazaar. The journey takes around 30-45 minutes.

By bike or scooter: You can rent a bike or scooter in Kathmandu and ride to Patan. The journey takes around 20-30 minutes.

Where to stay in Patan.

Patan has a variety of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. Some popular areas to stay in Patan include:

Patan Durbar Square: This area has a few hotels and guesthouses located around the Patan Durbar Square, providing easy access to the main attractions in the area.

Jhamsikhel: This trendy neighborhood has a range of boutique hotels, guesthouses, and homestays. It is also known for its cafes, restaurants, and art galleries.

Sanepa: Located close to Jhamsikhel, Sanepa is another popular neighborhood with a range of hotels, guesthouses, and homestays.

Pulchowk: This area is popular with students, as it is home to several universities. There are a few budget hotels and guesthouses in the area.

Kupondole: This is a quieter neighborhood with a few hotels and guesthouses. It is located close to the main road leading to Kathmandu.

It is recommended to check the location, price, and reviews of different accommodations before booking.

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