The royal city of Patan

 

Patan Durbar Square, the most beautiful square in the world ? 

Patan
Together with Kathmandu and Bhaktapur, Patan is one of the 3 royal cities of the valley. Although it can now be considered as part of Kathmandu as it is only separated by the Bagmati river, Patan has an atmosphere of its own. Taxis will not horn as they approach you to check if you need them, the whole place is more laid-back. Patan has managed to retain its traditional city planning and the concept of bahis or courtyard.  

 

A woman pulling up buckets of water from a well, Patan

 

Patan Durbar Square
Together with a few others, among which Brussels "Grand Place", Patan Durbar Square must surely qualify as one of the most beautiful squares in the world. The people of Patan have somehow managed to keep all that modern at bay. On Durbar Square, there are no shops, no postcard sellers, no mobile phone coverage. Just the square surrounded by temples, stupas and the old royal palace that now houses the museum. The feeling we had when entering the square was that we had been transported back in time to the 16th or 17th century, Patan's cultural highpoint that gave much of the standing heritage. 

 

Patan Museum
Patan not only has one of the most beautiful squares we have seen in the world so far, but it probably also has one of the most wonderful museums. The Patan Museum is located in the old Royal Palace (one of the royal palaces of the former Malla kings of the Kathmandu Valley) that was completely renovated in the eighties and nineties with the help of Austria. It houses a relatively small collection of traditional sacred art. Most of the objects are cast bronzes and copper "repouss" work. More on this museum can be found on www.asianart.com/patan-museum

 

 

Shakyamuni, the Historical Buddha
Nepal, 12th century, Copper alloy, gilt

 

Indra
Nepal, 9th-10th century, Copper alloy, gilt

 

Stunned by the beauty of the contents of the museum as well as by the building that housed them, we found something that all museums should consider to introduce : large cushions placed at the windows. This enabled us to rest and to glimpse at life going on below us. 

 

 

Wooden blocks for printing cotton, Patan.

 

 

Patan's "pace" of life

 

We are doing well !

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