I intended to walk the 7km to Patan today, but when I negotiated a taxi down to 800 rupees I then realised quite how far it was and I would have got quite lost along the way.
Arriving in Patan I made the mistake of hiring a guide to take me around the Durbar Square, which in hindsight wasn’t necessary as he didn’t give me that much information and the town is easy to navigate. At least I didn’t pay to enter Patan’s Durbar squarem, the only one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu region which I managed to get in free.
The square has faired well in the earthquake and while a few buildings are propped up with wooden struts not many have significant damage. Of the various buildings only 2 were completely flattened and one statue destroyed.
We also headed to the golden temple which is tucked discreetly down a side street and at 50 rupees seemed like a bargain even if it’s only small. Covered in gold it is very beautiful with its Buddhist icons. The guide explained that the temple is run by a monk who is training a small boy to also be a monk- he certainly wasn’t camera shy!
Ditching my guide I visited Patan museum in the centre of the square. Patan Museum is one of the old royal palaces of the former Malla kings of the Kathmandu Valley and dates back to 1734. It focuses on the history and iconography of Buddhism and Hinduism, mostly from Nepal, but also Tibet and India. It was worth visiting this without my guide so I had the freedom to wandered as I wished through the exhibits and statues.
Back in Kathmandu I spent the afternoon in the Narayanhiti Palace Museum – it’s not especially old nor beautiful architecture, but worth a visit to learn about the recent history of Nepal and see where the King and Queen were assassinated. It’s an interesting glimpse into Royal life, though no photos were allowed beyond the gates. The existing building was built in 1934 after the earthquake destroyed the previous palace and improved in the 1960s. In 2001 the existing building was the scene of the royal massacre when the federal state of Nepal was formed.