Patan, also known as Lalitpur (The City of Artisans), is one of the three medieval cities in Kathmandu Valley. Dotted with Buddhist and Hindu sites, Patan’s pride is the medieval Patan Durbar Square. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the durbar square was the royal seat of Malla Kings and showcases the exquisite works of art and architecture crafted by Newari artisans of that period. Among the three medieval palace squares in the valley, Patan Durbar Square is the finest.
Walk through the palace square and discover a treasure trove of art in stone, wood, and metal. The Patan Palace Museum, Golden Temple, Krishna Temple, Kumbeshwar Mahadev Temple (one of the two five-tiered pagoda temples in the valley) are some of the ancient gems of this medieval city. Moreover, visits to some of the oldest Buddhist shrines in the valley on the periphery of Durbar square will enrich your experience. The Mahabouddha Temple, a terracotta replica of the temple at Bodh Gaya dating back to 1585, and Rudra Varna Vihara, established by the Lichhavi king Sivadeva in the sixth century, are two such shrines.
Discover more of the valley’s rich art and culture in the medieval villages of Khokana and Bungamati. Take a traditional village tour and stroll around these ancient Newari villages. Surrounded by green paddy fields, Khokana Village is famous for the production of mustard oil using traditional oil pressers. Nearby is another medieval village, Bungamati. Bungamati is home to the city’s rain god or Rato Macchhindranath. This is where the idol of the rain god comes to rest after the Machhindranath Jatra (chariot festival) held in Patan every year. This picturesque village lies next to the Bagmati River and is filled with Newari traditional homes. Wood and stone carving workshops line the village streets. The artists at work are descendants of the unnamed artists whose works are showcased at the city’s heritage sites. Take pictures and interact with the villagers before you are finally driven back to your hotel. If you are interested in visiting just the royal squares of the three medieval cities in the valley, you can choose our Kathmandu Ancient City Tour. If you have a long stay in Kathmandu and wish to visit all the popular tourist destinations then we recommend our Best of Nepal Tour. Book this tour and visit Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan, the three main tourist destinations in Nepal.
Departure Time: 9 am
Duration: 1 day (6 hours approx.)
Starting & Ending Point: hotel to hotel
Places covered: Patan Durbar Square, the heritage villages of Khokana & Bungamati
Activities: History and Cultural Tour
Patan Durbar Square
Located in the heart of old Patan city, the Patan Durbar Square is a quadrangle filled with several temples, palaces and courtyards. Most of the structures date back to the Malla era. Patan Palace, which now houses a museum, used to be the royal residence of the Malla kings ruling over Patan. Surrounding the royal palace are the octagonal Chyasin Dewal, Krishna Mandir, Bhimsen Temple, Hiranyavarna Mahavihar (Golden Temple), Kumbeshwar Temple etc. The temple of Kumbeshwar is one of the few surviving five-tiered pagoda roofed temples in Nepal. Inside the Patan Palace are courtyards (Keshav Narayan Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Mul Chowk) with gilded doorways and decorative stone baths and wells.
Just a couple of steps away from Patan Durbar Square lies the Mahabouddha Temple, with a terracotta replica of the Mahabouddha Temple in Bodh Gaya. The tiny temple has tiles engraved with the images of Buddha. The ancient Buddhist monastery of Rudra Varna Mahavihar also lies close to the palace square.
Traditional Village Khokana
Lying just a few minutes’ drive from central Kathmandu, Khokana is one of the most ancient Newari villages. This sleepy village was once a thriving economic hub. Surrounded by acres of paddy fields Khokana is filled with traditional Newari houses and Hindu and Buddhist shrines. The shrine of goddess Rudrayani (the patron goddess of Khokana) lies at the centre of the village. Dey Pukhu Jatra and Shekali Mai Jatra are two important Khokana festivals. The village is known for the production of mustard oil using traditional methods. Stroll around and visit an ancient oil mill which is still in use. You may want to purchase a bottle or two of this pure oil to take back home.
Bungamati is known as the home of the valley’s Rain God, Machhindranath. The temple dedicated to the deity lies at the centre of the village. Built in a shikara style the large temple is surrounded by traditional homes of the villagers. The village streets are lined with wood and stone carving workshops. Bungamati Culture Museum, De Punkha (sacred pond), Karya Binayak Temple and Bhairab temple are other places of interest.
Departures available every day, throughout the year, for private groups as well as independent travelers. The above itinerary is flexible and can be customized as per your needs. To book a ‘Private Tour’ please go to the top right-hand corner of this page.
Click this tab for a detailed Trip Note containing essential information about this trip, including gear and equipment lists and practical information.Essential Trip Information
Having returned from our Everest trek a day earlier we (my friends and I) decided to explore a bit of the city. Since we were interested in learning more about life in the Nepali villages we decided to explore two ancient villages in Kathmandu valley- Khokana and Bungamati. We booked our village tour with Third Rock Adventures (the same company which had organized our EBC Trek). The tour began after breakfast. Our guide, Deepa, was friendly and good natured. Her knowledge about the local history, people and places were exceptional. We visited the old royal square in Patan as well as Newari Buddhist monasteries known as ‘Viharas’. We were fascinated with the carvings on the wooden beam and pillars and Deepa was kind enough to take us to a nearby woodcarving worskshop where we got to witness craftsmen chipping on wooden slabs, carving exquisite figures on the plain wooden surfaces.
We then went to Bungamati and Khokana. These were pretty old villages and walking along the streets felt like going back to the past. Much of Kathmandu valley must have been like this in the days gone by. We thoroughly enjoyed the village walks. I would suggest this tour to everybody who wants to see the old side of Kathmandu and experience Newari culture.