On Sunday 11th March 2018 we got the local bus from Kathmandu to Patan. The local bus was a minivan that was packed with so many people it was slightly uncomfortable and hard to move. It wasn’t the easiest bus to find as it’s not remotely aimed at tourists and so everyone speaks in Nepali and there are no signs in English. The ‘bus station’ is a lay-by on the side of a ring road where all of the minivans park up and each one has someone holding a wad of money shouting in Nepali where the bus is going (I’m assuming that’s what he’s shouting anyway, he could have been saying anything!) These men appear to be the ticket conductors for the buses and some of them are just young teenagers! By asking quite a few people we were eventually put onto a bus going to Patan and within five minutes the bus was completely full and on its way. We have no idea if everyone else was also going to Patan but we just had to hope that it would get us there, which it did, and it did only cost us less than £1 in total so we can’t complain really.
Patan is one of the largest cities in Nepal and is located just over the river from Kathmandu, around a half an hours drive away. There is a ring road that links the two cities to one another and there were an awful lot of buses making the journey between the two.
The bus station – our bus was smaller than those colourful ones, more the size of a people carrier.
Once we arrived at the bus station in Patan, we headed towards the Durbar Square which is the main thing to see in the area. Just like in Kathmandu this Durbar Square is full of temples, statues and palaces as well as a museum which has lots of models of deities and explains a bit more about the use of these statues and models in depicting the different gods. This was interesting to learn about as there are also exhibitions on the different religions allowing you to learn more about the Buddhist rituals and reincarnation for example.
(Pictures in the museum)
To get into the square you’re required to pay 1000 Nepali rupees (unless you’re from a SAARC such as India country when it’s 100 rupees instead). This is said to be used to help development in the area as this Durbar Square appears to have been one of the worst hit by the earthquake with pretty much every building having some damage done to it and the majority of buildings still covered in scaffolding or surrounded by rubble.
The square isn’t as big as expected and we saw a picture of what it used to look like which was quite spectacular with lots of temples and small palaces all in a small area towering over you from the street. Now, the scaffolding and building work is the main focus and so I’m not sure I’d actually recommend going to see it until more of the construction work is complete although with the pace that the current work is being done, who knows when that would be.
(Pictures of old and new panorama)
(More pictures of the Durbar Square)
Whilst in Patan we also visited Hiranyabarna Mahavihar, also referred to locally as the Golden Temple. This is a Buddhist monastery which is apparently famous for feeding rats but we didn’t see any whilst we were there (thankfully!) The temple is three stories high and has gold lion statues around the centre shrine. This was a nice little temple and had a small string of visitors whilst we were there so I think it’s quite a popular place to worship for the locals. I liked it for it’s gold and small detailing throughout the temple square and for the peace and quiet of it inside.
(Pictures of the golden temple)
On our return we got the public bus back to Kathmandu and then just made it back to the hostel before a torrential downpour that lasted the rest of the afternoon until after it got dark. Luckily we didn’t get wet but it did mean that we couldn’t leave the hostel and do any more sightseeing for the rest of the day. Patan had been a disappointment with the earthquake damage making there not being much to see in our opinion. We struggled to see past the scaffolding and construction work but maybe we were just worn down by our disappointment. It’s heartbreaking what happened in the earthquake and it’s obviously still playing a big part in the lives of those in the area today. I wonder when all of the reconstruction work will be complete as I think Patan’s Durbar Square would be very impressive once that happens.
Sending Love x