Durbar Square Tour (Self Guided), Kathmandu

Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and the largest city in the country. It has a rich, nearly 2000 years old, history. Durbar Square translates into English as "Court Square". The Durbar Square of Kathmandu is located in the old city and is home to over 50 temples. Check out some of the most popular temples of Kathmandu on this self-guided tour.
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Durbar Square Tour Map

Guide Name: Durbar Square Tour
Guide Location: Nepal » Kathmandu (See other walking tours in Kathmandu)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.5 Km or 0.3 Miles
Author: helenp
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Kumari Ghar (Kumari Bahal)
  • Kasthamandap Temple
  • Mahadev Parvati Temple
  • Jagganath Temple
  • Hanumandhoka Palace
  • Kakeshwar Temple
  • Degu Taleju Temple
  • Tana Deval Temple
Kumari Ghar (Kumari Bahal)

1) Kumari Ghar (Kumari Bahal) (must see)

Kumari Ghar is a palace in the center of the Kathmandu city, next to the Durbar square where a Royal Kumari is selected from among several Kumaris. Kumari, or Kumari Devi, is the tradition of worshiping young pre-pubescent girls as manifestations of the divine female energy or devi in South Asian countries. In Nepal the selection process for her is very rigorous. Kumari is believed to be the bodily incarnation of the goddess Taleju (the Nepalese name for Durga) until she menstruates, after which it is believed that the goddess vacates her body. Serious illness or a major loss of blood from an injury are also causes for her to revert to common status. The current Royal Kumari, Matina Shakya, aged four, was installed in October 2008 by the Maoist government that replaced the monarchy.
Kumari Ghar (Bahal) was built in the year 1757 by the King Jaya Prakash Malla. It was named after Kumari goddess that is well known as an incarnation of Taleju goddess. The Kumari Bahal is a three-storied quadrangle lavishly decorated with fine woodcarving. It is the place where throngs of people make a beeline to get the glimpse of Kumari and get her divine blessings.
Kasthamandap Temple

2) Kasthamandap Temple (must see)

Kasthamandap is a three storied temple enshrining the deity of Goraknath - (Sanskrit for Gau+Raksha+Nath: Cow+Protect+Lord, ie, The Lord who protects cows) - a form of the god Shiva. It was built in the 16th century in a Pagoda style. It is said to be one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world. The name of Kathmandu is a derivative of the Kasthamandap. It was built under the reign of King Laxmi Narsingha Malla and an interesting legend is attached to its wooden construction. The story narrated is about Gorakhnath, a disciple of Machindranath (Nepal Bhasa: Janamaadya). Gorakhnath was spotted by a tantrik in human form, during the chariot procession of his guru Machhindranath (Nepal Bhasa: Janamaadya). The tantrik held him under a spell and sought his help. Once the boon was bestowed, a huge tree started growing at the location where the present temple exists. With the wood of this single tree, the tantrik built the Kasthamandap temple.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Mahadev Parvati Temple

3) Mahadev Parvati Temple

Shiva-Parvati Temple is situated in the outer quadrangle of the Durbar square in Kathmandu, along with Kasthamandap and Kumari Ghar. This is one of the many Hindu temples in Kathmandu dedicated to Shiva and Parvati. Shiva, the god of destruction and rejuvenation, is a major Hindu deity. Parvati, the second consort of Shiva, is considered to be the supreme Goddess. When this couple is depicted together they both have benevolent forms.
Jagganath Temple

4) Jagganath Temple

Jagannath Temple is the oldest building in this part of the Durbar Square, in Kathmandu. Jagannath Temple is widely known for the erotic embellishments carved on the roof struts. King Pratap Malla is declared to have built this temple during his reign, but the temple could also have been built by king Mahendra in 1563. The temple has two floors, a three-tiered platform and three doors, but just one of them opens.
Hanumandhoka Palace

5) Hanumandhoka Palace (must see)

Hanuman Dhoka is a complex of structures with the Royal Palace of the Malla kings and also of the Shah dynasty in the Durbar Square of central Kathmandu, Nepal. It is spread over five acres. The eastern wing with ten courtyards is the oldest part dated to the mid 16th century. It was expanded by King Pratap Malla in the 17th century with many temples. Sundari Chowk and Mohan Chowk in the north part of the palace are both closed. In 1768, in the southeast part of the palace, four lookout towers were added by Prithvi Narayan Shah. The royal family lived in this palace till 1886, where after they shifted to Narayanhiti Palace. The stone inscription outside is in fifteen languages and legend states that if all the 15 are read milk would spring from the middle of stone tablet.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Kakeshwar Temple

6) Kakeshwar Temple

Kakeshwar Temple was built in 1681. However, after the 1934 earthquake, the temple was seriously damaged and had to be reconstructed. The pitch of this temple is the unusual mix of architectural styles - Newari style for the foundation, Indian shikhara style for the upper floors , kalasa(water vase) like spire on top of the temple. Unfortunately, after the reconstruction, the building was partially altered.
Degu Taleju Temple

7) Degu Taleju Temple (must see)

Degu Taleju Temple is another triple roofed temple built by Shiva Singh Malla that is also dedicated to Taleju. Mul Chowk, dedicated to Taleju Bhawani, is a courtyard with two-storied buildings all round that are exclusive places for religious rites. Taleju Bhawani is the tutelary goddess of the Malla family. Taleju Temple with a golden torana (ceremonial door) is located to the south side of the courtyard. During the Dasain festival, the idol of Taleju is shifted to this temple. The entrance to the temple is flanked with images of the river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Tana Deval Temple

8) Tana Deval Temple

Tana Deval Temple is situated in front of the popular Taleju Temple. It is surrounded by a wall that separates the Tana Deval Temple from the Durbar Square. In the courtyard, past large rows of stalls, you can see the sacred building. It has multiple doorways and struts on which the Mother Goddesses - Ashta Matrikas – are carved. Also, in the court you have the possibility to purchase brightly-colored Tibetan thangkas.

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