The ancient city of Patan, lying 5km southeast of Kathmandu, is known as the city of fine arts. The city is full of Hindu temples and Buddhist monuments. The diversity of the medieval culture that allowed both Hinduism and Buddhism to flourish has left a rich legacy of impressive sightseeing in this city for today's visitors.
Patan Durbar Square, situated in the heart of the city, constitutes the focus of visitors' attraction. The Square is full of ancient palaces, temples and shrines, noted for their exquisite carvings. The Patan Durbar Square consists of three main chowks or courtyards, the Central Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Keshar Narayan Chowk. The Sundari Chowk holds in its center a masterpiece of stone architecture, the Royal Bath called Tushahity. It was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Monument List in 1979.
Patan Durbar Square is situated at the centre of Lalitpur city. It is one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of its attraction is The Ancient Royal Palace where the Malla Kings of Lalitpur resided.
The Durbar Square is a marvel of Newa architecture. The Square floor is tiled with red bricks. There are many temples and idols in the area. The main temples are aligned opposite of the western face of the palace. The entrance of the temples faces east, towards the palace. There is also a bell situated in the alignment beside the main temples. The Square also holds old Newari residential houses. There are various other temples and structures in and around Patan Durbar Square build by the Newa People.
Patan Museum: This museum inside the Durbar Square specializes in bronze statues and religious objects. Its is considered one of the best museums in Asia. Opens daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Entrance fee Rs. 120 for other foreign visitors and Rs. 30 for SAARC nationals. It is closed only for 3 days during Dashain and for 3 days during Tihar.
Krishna Mandir: Built in 1637 AD, the temple of Lord Krishna holds a commanding position in the palace complex of Patan. It is supposed to be the first specimen of Shikhara style architecture in Nepal. It is the only temple in Nepal having 21 spires and is completely made of stone.
Mahabouddha: A little further east from Patan Durbar Square lies this Buddhist temple made of clay bricks in which thousands of images of Lord Buddha are engraved. The terra-cotta structure is one of the fourteenth century Nepalese architectural masterpieces.
Hiranya Varna Mahavihar: Located inside Kwabadehal, this three-story golden pagoda of Lokeshwor (Lord Buddha) was built in the twelfth century by King Bhaskar Verma. It is famous as the Golden Temple. Inside the upper story of the pagoda, are the golden images of Lord Buddha and a large prayer wheel.
Kumbheshwor: This five-tiered temple of Lord Shiva was built during the reign of King Jayasthiti Malla. On the Janai Poornima day in August, a fair is held in Kumbheshwor.
Jagatnarayan Temple: This tall, imposing temple of Lord Vishnu is situated at Sankhmul. The temple has many fine stone images and an artistic metal statue of Garuda on a stone pillar.
Rudra Varna Mahavihar: This unique Buddhist monastery contains an amazing collection of images and statues in metal, stone and wood. It is believed that the kings in the ancient times were crowned in this monastery. Many of the treasures offered by the devotees can be seen here even today.
The Ashokan Stupas: There are four ancient stupas popularly believed to have been built in 250 BC by Emperor Ashoka at the four cardinal directions of Patan. The four stupas are situated in Pulchok, Lagankhel, Ebahi and in Teta (way to Sano Gaon) respectively. These stupas are evidence of the city's ancient religious importance.
Achheswor Mahavihar: It was established towards the beginning of the 17th century by one Achheshwor who built a temple to house an idol of Lord Buddha. The Mahavihar has recently been reconstructed. Situated behind the Ashokan Stupa at Pulchok, the Mahavihar commands a beautiful view of the Kathmandu Valley.
Temple of Machchendranath and Minnath: The pagoda of Red Machchendranath built in 1408 AD is situated in Tabahal. For six months, the deity is taken to its other shrine in Bungmati. The temple of Minnath is situated in Tangal on the way to Tabahal.
The square was heavily damaged on 25 April 2015 by a major earthquake.