Durbar Square, Number Two

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If a city has a main square in Nepal, it’s a good bet it will be called Durbar Square. Durbar means palace, and the kings of times bygone had the good sense of placing their palaces in the center of town. To make sure enough people could admire their fanciful abodes, they did not clog the area with apartment buildings, and left a nice open square sprinkled with temples. Hence the name, Durbar square. It all makes for some very good sightseeing.

Since we had seen the Durbar Square of Kathmandu, we decided to look onward. Rumors reached us that the Durbar Square of nearby Patan was even more stunning. We got into a taxi and crossed the river to the twin city of Patan.

Long time ago there were three ancient cities in Kathmandu valley. They were Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. Each competed with the others for significance and their kings build fancy durbars and filled the accompanying squares with just as fancy temples.

While less crowded than Kathmandu’s, Patan’s Durbar Square is fantastic. Fewer people walk through it, and no cars and motorcycles have to cross it, unlike in Kathmandu, where the main thoroughfare through old town leads directly through its Durbar Square. The temples are plentiful and elaborate, and exploring the square, the museum and the nearby streets makes for a very nice day. Just sitting there on one of the temples and doing some serious people watching makes the hours pass by very pleasantly.

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