The country of Nepal is known to house a number of mystical complexes that make for intriguing tourist attractions. Once you get to this landlocked South Asian country, you will discover many amazing locations, many of which are listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. One of the stunning ancient complexes that will surely grab your attention is Durbar Square, composed of several complexes hosting important structures including the old Royal Palace of past Malla and Shah kings. Hanuman Dhoka or Hanuman Gate is the main entrance to the palace.
Covering a total land area of five acres, the complex has ten courtyards and several temples, which are all just part of the palace. You will be surprised at the grandeur of the place and could only imagine how majestic it might have been during its heyday. The oldest portion of the palace is its eastern wing, which was constructed in the mid-16th century. Also very old are the Sundari Chowk and Mohan Chowk in the northern side of the palace. In the 17th century, King Pratap Malla enlarged the original structure, and that was when the temples surrounding the palace were built.
Sundari Chowk is an ancient public square that has an intricately carved sunken water tank called the Tusha Hiti, and located nearby are the beautiful Royal Garden and another water tank called Kamal Pokhari. At one side near Hanuman Dhoka are stone guard statues of Hanuman, Ganesh and Vishnu, who is in the form of a man-lion called Narsingha. There are also gilded metal windows and ivory carvings. This beautiful square is scheduled for renovation, thanks to UNESCO. As of this moment, both Sundari Chowk and Mohan Chowk are closed from the public.
In 1768, new additions were constructed by King Prithvi Narayan Shah, and these were the four lookout towers in the southeast side of the palace. In 1886, the Royal Family occupied the palace for the last time before they moved to the new palace, the Narayan Hitti Palace, which is located in the northern part of Kathmandu. Some rituals and royal ceremonies continued to be held in the old palace, however, including the important coronation ceremonies. Outside the palace is a stone inscription that was written in 15 languages. It was put up by Pratap Malla and legends say that if anyone can read all 15 languages, milk will gush out from the stone inscription.
Kathmandu, home of Durbar Square, is the largest and capital city of Nepal. It is located in Kathmandu Valley and occupied by about a million residents. It is often visited by European and Asian tourists. Most Asian visitors are Buddhist devotees from India and Thailand on a religious pilgrimage. While Durbar Square is a leading tourist attraction, it is also a very sacred complex for the faithful for its many temples and shrines. Thousands of local and foreign tourists pass through Hanuman Dhoka every day. It is on the northern part of the square and flanked by the 17th-century statue of Hanuman. Hanuman, an Hindu god and devotee of lord Rama, was an important character in the Indian epic Ramayana. His statue here is coveted with red cloth and an umbrella. The palace in Durbar Square is open every day except on Tuesdays, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.