Patan is one of the greatest and beautiful tourist attractions of Nepal with many historical sites, monuments and stupas. It is also known as the Lalitpur both names deriving from the Sanskrit word Lalitpattan. Patan also boasts a Durbar Square full of temples, statues and palaces and in addition, has the must see attraction of Patan Museum. As a traditional centre of handicrafts, Patan is a great place to purchase jewellery, Buddha statues, traditional dolls and masks. It is the third largest city of Nepal after Kathmandu and Pokhara. The city is best known for its rich cultural heritage, particularly its tradition of arts and crafts. It is called the city of festival and feast, fine ancient art, making of metallic and stone carving statues.
Patan is on the elevated tract of land in Kathmandu valley on the south side of the Bagmati River, which separates it from the city of Kathmandu on the northern and western side. One of the most used and typical Newar names of Lalitpur is Yala. It is said that King Yalamber or Yelling Hang named this city after himself, and ever since this ancient city was known as Yala. The visitors can visit many historical and traditional places here which have carried great religious and cultural value. You can also enjoy many hiking routes and local delicacies around here. The food stalls around the Patan area serve many local delicious dishes and snacks.
Kumbeshwar Temple is one of the oldest Hindu pilgrimage sites of the country. It is situated 200m from the northern part of Patan Durbar Square. The temple was built in the 14th century by the king Jayasthiti Malla making it the oldest temple of the Patan area. It is the five storied temple built in the pagoda style with the pinnacle on the top. The main shrine of the temple is dedicated to the powerful Lord Shiva. It is noted for its graceful proportions and fine wood carvings.
The temple lies in a complex that includes many other important and religious monuments such as Bagalamukhi Temple, Ulmanta Bhairava and two hiti ponds. It is a popular belief that the water spring that fills the pond originates all the way from the Gosaikunda. So taking a dip in this pond on the special occasion of the Janai Purnima is equivalent to doing the same in Gosaikunda. There is a bull named Nandi kneeling in front of the main temple of Kumbheshwar. The temple is packed with the devotees during the auspicious day of Janai Purnima. On this day the big fare is arranged in the temple in which the pilgrims from all round the country as well as India visit this temple. The main festivals celebrated in this Temple are Janai Purnima, Shivaratri, Teej and Bala Chaturdasi.
Bagalamukhi Temple is among the most famous of the many temples of Patan and it is especially popular as it is believed that Goddess has the power of fulfilling her devotees wishes. In particular, the goddess is seen as granting victory in battle or in court. Bagalamukhi is a goddess from Dasamahavidhya of Kathmandu Valley, and, according to legend, she is believed to have appeared after the people of the locality prayed to her to save them from the suffering inflicted upon them by a demon. After this people erected a temple in her honor and began to worship here.
There is also another legend and folktales surrounding this temple, that Lord Shiva annoyed Goddess Parvati to go for a walk in spite of her protestations. She took ten different forms at once and said that the form of Bagalamukhi was the most appealing one, which led to the establishment of the temple. The various other rituals like “Lakh batti”,”Bhoj”,”Bhajan” “Baratabanda”, “Marriage Ceremony”, “Gufa rakhni ceremony” etc. are periodically organized by local people at the temple complex. The temple complex also has an open space garden to cater rituals for private purpose which became one of the major financial sources of the temple.
Ashoka Stupas are the four ancient stupas making the boundaries of the Patan. The stupas were built by the great Buddhist emperor Ashoka when he visited the valley 2500 years ago. These stupas surround the four corners of the Patan; Northern stupa lies just beyond the Kumbeshwar temple on the way to the Sankhamul ghats. Lagan/ Southern stupa lies to the south of the Lagankhel bus station , crowning a hilltop and offering good views over southern Patan. Western stupa is covered in grass beside the main road at Pulchowk. A set of steps lead uphill to the Aksheshwar Mahavihar, a courtyard style Buddhist monastery on the hilltop. Eastern stupa is well to the east of the centre, across Kathmandu’s Ring Road.
Pim Bahal Pokhari is the large pond which is a hidden gem centered around a charming lakeshore pavilion. On the north side of the pond there is a three tiered Chandeswari temple built in 1663. Walk around the pond in clockwise manner and you will pass a 600 year old white washed stupa which was damaged by Muslim invaders in 1357 AD.
Batuki Bhairav is one of the religious and historical sites of Patan. The temple is dedicated to the tantric deity and is one of the Ashta Bhairavas of the Kathmandu valley. it is said that the temple was first built by the Lichchhavi King, Amsuvarma. The object of the worship is a simple rock, but idols of Kumar, Ganesh and Kumari are also present here. It was renovated in 1934 AD by Juddha Shamsher Rana and is a fine exhibit of craftsmanship and architecture. The Batuk Bhairav is considered to be the terrifying form of Lord Shiva. It is said that when the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwor argued among themselves as to who was greater, the latter took on the form of Bhairav so as to prove himself the greatest among the three.
This temple is one of the Shakti Peetha of the world. The temple is situated at the border of Jharuwarasi VDC. According to purana, Lord shiva lost his beloved wife Sati Devi. As he can’t tolerate the death of her and carry her dead body everywhere he goes, thinking it to be alive. By seeing the pathetic condition of Lord Shiva, the Gods of heaven have a serious discussion.
They finally come to the conclusion of decaying the dead body by sending the flies with their supernatural powers. As the body starts decaying, all her body parts start falling on earth. All the places where her body parts have fallen had become the famous holy places of Hindus. As it was believed that the breast parts have fallen on the top of the hill, where Santaneshwor Mahadev is located today. Thus the name of the temple was given the name Santaneshwor, which means a boon for having a baby. It is believed that the people who do not have their children, once they please Lord Shiva, Santaneshwor Mahadev Temple then their lap would not get barren.
Patan is one of the religious and historical places of Nepal with many cultures and traditions. It is the perfect gateway to enjoy the ancient handicrafts and arts.
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