Narayanhiti Palace or Narayanhiti Durbar (Nepali: नारायणहिटी दरवार) is a palace in Kathmandu, which long served as the residence and principal workplace of the reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Nepal. Located in the capital city of Kathmandu, the palace was the center of state occasions and royal hospitality. The palace complex is located towards the east of the Kaiser Mahal next to Thamel and is incorporated in an impressive and vast array of courtyards, gardens, and buildings. The current Narayanhiti Durbar was built by King Mahendra in 1963.
The name, ”Narayanhiti” is made up of two words ‘Narayana’ and ‘Hiti’. Narayan is the Hindu god Vishnu, whose temple is located opposite the palace. ‘Hiti’ means “water spout” in Newar Language, which is also located to the east of the main entrance in the precincts of the palace, a landmark that features prominently in local legends.
Inside Narayanhiti Palace Museum
The Narayanhiti palace building has a pagoda-style construction. It is divided into three wings: The Private wing, The Guest wing, and The State wing. There are altogether 52 rooms in the palace. The rooms have names of districts of Nepal. The rooms and halls of the Narayanhiti museum are decorated with valuable items and artifacts.
The Reception Hall, known as Kaski Sadan, is a massive room decorated with tiger skin, King’s portrait in sequence, and many sculptures of deities. The Makeup room for the Queen is named Sindhuli. The waiting room for guests before they meet the King is called Jhapa.
The room for special guests to hold meetings is Ilam. The room Sunsari was used to perform rituals of Janai Purnima. The Saptari room was used to celebrate birthdays. The Dhanusha Baithak was used to celebrate Dashain by offering tika to ministers and officials. The room was also used to conduct award ceremonies.
The throne room, known as Gorkha Baithak, has a height of 60 feet. It has a pagoda-style architecture with a huge chandelier surrounded by huge paintings of Hindu Deities. Underneath the extravagant chandelier is the throne of the King made up of gold and silver.
The room where the King was killed is left as it is. So, the room walls have bullet scars and bloodstains. People are more interested in observing those unsolved pieces of evidence of the royal massacre inside the Narayanhiti palace museum.
Rooms in Narayanhiti Palace
There are a total of 52 meeting rooms in Narayanhiti Durbar. Among all of them, only 19 rooms were opened to the public by 2068 BS.
Major Attraction of Narayanhiti Palace
After entering through a very high entrance named Gaurishankar located at the main facade of the palace, one reaches the Kaski meeting place. The Kaski meeting included important ceremonies such as welcoming foreign heads of state on a state visit to Nepal, swearing in ceremonies of prime ministers, heads of constitutional organs, and conferring certificates of office by ambassadors to the former king.
Right in front of the Kaski meeting, after climbing a curved ladder with a dark red carpet, you reach the Tanahu meeting. There is a huge glass window just above the ladder.
In the Gorkha meeting room, it was announced that Yuvaraj had reached old age. King Birendra had proclaimed the constitution of 2047 BS sitting on the throne in the same chamber.
The heads of the constitutional organs and ambassadors were given refreshments in the Myagdi Room and
Various signing ceremonies were held in the Parbat Room.
The Rukum Room was used as a waiting room by dignitaries visiting foreign heads of state.
The Rolpa Room was used as a meeting place. In the corridor from Rolpa Room to Baitadi Room, pictures taken by the then King Virendra and Queen Aishwarya with foreign heads of state who have spent the night at the palace are hung.
Dailekh, Baitadi, and Achham Rooms
The foreign president used to sleep on a grand bed in the Dailekh room, while his wife used to sleep in the Baitadi room and close relatives in the Achham room.
Bajura & Jumla Rooms
The Bajura Room was arranged for the foreign chiefs to dine, and they rested after eating in the Jumla Room.
The Dolpa Room was used as a secret room for other members of the royal family to visit during special events at the Gorkha meeting.
The materials used by King Tribhuvan are kept in the Mugu Room.
Lamjung & Gulmi Rooms
Dinner was held in the Lamjung Room, while the Gulmi Room was the former king’s private office.
Dhading & Dhankuta Rooms
The Dhading chamber was the king’s resting room, while the Dhankuta chamber was used as the king’s bed.
The Dhanusha room was used as a place to receive the tika on the day of Vijayadashami. There is a group photo of the members of the royal family in that room on 4 Bhadra, 2055 and 10 Magh, 2059. All members had signed under the photo.
The Tribhuvan House is another attraction that is currently open. The palace was the residence of King Tribhuvan where the Durbar massacre took place on Jestha 19, 2058. In that incident, King Birendra and his entire family, including Prince Dhirendra Shah, were killed. In 2061, the building was demolished. The foundation of the building is now paved with bricks. The exact spots are mentioned where Virendra, Aishwarya, and Dipendra fell for the bullet.
The fountain garden just behind the Narayanhiti palace is another attraction. That garden was made by Tribhuvan. A small water tank has been built in the middle of the garden. There are revolving and round houses. At the first South Asian Conference in Nepal, a banquet was organized in the same garden in honor of foreign heads of state. Gyanendra Shah used to organize an afternoon party in the garden on a special festival
Massacre of Royal Family of Nepal
The infamous Royal massacre took place in Narayanhiti Palace on 1st June 2001. It is considered a dark event in the history of Nepal that will always bring grief to people’s hearts when brought up even after two decades.
In this royal massacre, the whole family of King Birendra was murdered. The mass shooting killed 10 members of the Royal family including King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, Queen Aishwarya Rajya Laxmi Devi Shah, Princess Shruti, Crown Prince Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, and Prince Nirajan Bir Bikram Shah Dev.
First houses on the site
During the early Shah period, the site of the future Narayanhiti Palace was occupied by the family of shreepali basnet Kaji Dhokal Singh Basnet house. Ownership of the site changed hands many times; after Dhokal Singh Basnyat the site was occupied by Chautariya Fateh Jung Shah (6th Prime Minister of Nepal), his father courtier Choutaria Pran Shah and family. During the Kot massacre of 19 September 1846 both Prime Minister Chautariya, Fateh Jang Shah along with his father Choutaria Pran Shah and brothers were killed or send in exile out of Kathmandu. After this massacre, Narayanhiti Palace was taken over by Jung Bahadur Rana’s brother future Prime Minister then colonel Ranodip Singh Kunwar.
Colonel Ranodip Singh ordered the minor renovation of the old palace of Choutaria Pran Shah and used it as his private residence. After ascending the throne of Prime Minister Maharaja in 1877, Narayanhit Durbar was again renovated, but this time much lavish and was extended into a multi-wing palace On 22 November 1885 during a coup d’état Prime Minister Maharaja Ranodip Singh Kunwar was assassinated by his nephews, the Sumsher brothers(Khadga Shumsher, Chandra Shumsher, and Dumber Shumsher) somewhere in the southern wing of this palace.
Home of the monarch
Old Narayanhiti Palace ca. 1920, demolished in 1958.
After the death of Prime Minister Maharaja Ranodip Singh Kunwar, on 22 November 1885, Bir Shumsher JBR assessed the throne of Prime Ministership and took over the Narayanhiti palace of Ranodip Singh. In 1886 Bir Shumsher uprooted the whole Narayanhiti palace and build a new palace under the master Nepalese architect Jogbir Sthapit for his son-in-law Maharajadhiraj King Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah. Thus moving the royal residence of the reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Nepal from Hanuman Dhoka Durbar to Narayanhiti Durbar
Narayanhiti Palace in Earthquake of 1934
During the 1934 Nepal–Bihar earthquake Narayanhity Palace was partially damaged killing two infant Princess, daughters Princess of King Tribhuvan. Repair and renovation work was done under Colonel Engineer Surya Jung Thapa and a new Portico and Grand Staircase were built.
Current Narayanhiti Palace museum
In 1963, King Mahendra ordered the demolition of the old palace and the construction of the new palace. The new palace was built in Nepalese architecture style under the design of Californian architect Benjamin Polk, who operated out of India at the time. The decade-long construction of the palace ended in 1969. The Griha Prabes in the new palace was done on the occasion of the Hindu wedding ceremony of Prince Birendra the then-heir apparent to the throne on 27 February 1970.
Opening Hours of Narayanhiti Palace
Wednesday – Monday – 11.00am – 4.00pm
Tuesday – Closed (It remains closed on public holidays too.)
Narayanhiti Palace Museum Ticket Fee
The entrance fee for Nepali Students is NPR 20, where students need to carry an identity card, NPR 100 for all other Nepali Citizens. Moreover, the entry fee for SAARC and Chinese Nationals is NPR 250 and NPR 500 for all other foreigners.
|Nepali Students||NPR 20|
|Nepali Citizens||NPR 100|
|SAARC & Chinese Nationals||NPR 250|
|All other Foreigners||NPR 500|
Know about Heritage Site Entry fee
Narayanhiti Palace Museum in google Map
Note: Taking pictures and videos inside the Narayanhiti Museum is strictly prohibited. You can take photos and videos from outside the palace building from the garden and parking space but not inside the building.