Patan is 5 km away from the capital city, Kathmandu, and is reached by crossing the Bagmati River. Despite its proximity to Kathmandu, it still retains its old-world charm and traditional professions such as woodcarving and especially metal crafts. As you walk through the city you still hear the tapping of tiny hammers as a craftsman works on a statuette or ornament. Patan is full of temples and monasteries which look similar in their pagoda-style architecture and wood-carved windows. The district is known as Lalitpur which covers a vast area that includes the hills nearby.
Patan is a city of 55 major temples, 136 Buddhist monasteries and its artisans are known for their fine metal works. The city celebrates countless festivals both Hindu and Buddhist, many of which like the Rato Machhendranath Jatra and the display of Dipanker Buddhas are spectacular. Patan takes pride in producing great thangka and pauba painters whose works are exported to many countries. Such paintings can be seen in the little alleys of the city. Art still flourishes in this city of Newar craftsmen who have traditionally been supplying metal crafts to Buddhist monasteries around the country. The population is predominantly Newar whose castes generally determine whether they are Hindu or Buddhist.
Patan Durbar Square (Durbar means palace), a UNESCO World Heritage Site is the major attraction with the old royal palace and a host of artistically designed temples all within the square. The Patan Museum within the palace has a fine collection of metal craft, wood carvings and a precious Malla era throne. In the Durbar Square is the beautiful Krishna temple built entirely of stone which is the most important Krishna shrine of the valley. Just beyond the square are many restaurants and cafes, some with rooftop views. A remarkable terracotta temple worth a visit is the Mahaboudha, a shikhara style temple with a thousand images of the Buddha. Visitors enjoy the peaceful ambiance of Patan and the predominance of art.
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