Kathmandu Durbar Square


Kathmandu Durbar Square

Durbar square in general means a place of palaces. In the Kathmandu Valley there are three preserved Durbar Squares and one unpreserved in Kritipur. The Durbar Square of Kathmandu is located in the old city and has heritage buildings representing the four kingdoms Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and Kritipur, which was built over centuries, the earliest one dating back to the Licchavi dynasty. There were further additions and refurbishments during the reign of Mallas and then the Ranas. The complex has 50 temples and is distributed in two quadrangles of the durbar square. The outer quadrangle has the Kasthamandap, Kumari Ghar and Shiva-Parvati Temple while the inner quadrangle has the Hanuman dhoka and the main palace.


Kasthamandap - Kathmandu

Kasthamandap was built in the 16th century in a Pagoda style; it is a three storied temple enshrining the deity of Gorakhnath. Gorakhnath is the lord who protects cows, and a form of the god Shiva. Kasthamandap is said to be one of the oldest wooden buildings in the world. Even the name Kathmandu was derived from Kasthamandap. This temple was built under the reign of King Laxmi Narsingha Malla, and there is a story that a tantrik cursed a spell on one of the disciples of Machindranath, and as a punishment the disciple had to help him build a temple in Kathmandu by providing the required materials. After the boon was bestowed, a huge tree started growing at the location where the present temple exists, and with the wood of this single tree, the tantrik built the temle. There is also a huge ceremony that is performed every year in this temple, on this day people gather around the temple, and they stay up all night. This temple is one of the main attractions for tourists, and there are no restrictions to enter the temple.


Kaal Bhairava - Hanumandhoka Durbar Square

Spread over five acres, the Hanuman Dhoka is a complex of structures. It also served as the Royal Palace of the Malla kings and the Shah dynasty, until the royal family shifted from this palace to the Narayanhiti Palace in 1886. The eastern wing with ten courtyards is the oldest part dated to the mid-16th century. It was expanded by King Pratap Malla in the 17th century with many temples. Sundari Chowk and Mohan Chowk in the north part of the palace are both closed. In 1768, in the southeast part of the palace, four lookout towers were added by king Prithivi Narayan Shah. The stone inscription outside the palace is written in fifteen languages and legend states that if all the 15 are read milk would spring from the middle of the stone tablet.


Kumari Ghar - Kathmandu Durbar Square

Kumari is said to be a living goddess, who is selected from several kumaris from several places from the Shakya clan of the Nepalese Newari community. And this selection process is said to be very rigorous. Kumari or Kumari Devi is the tradition of worshiping young pre-pubescent girls as manifestation of the divine female energy or Devi in South Asian countries. Kumari is also believed to be the bodily incarnation of the goddess Taleju until she menstruates. After she menstruates, it is believed that the goddess vacates her body and a new hunt for a successor begins again. Serious illness or a major loss of blood from an injury is also the causes for her to revert to common status. In October 2008 the current Royal Kumari, Matina Shakya, aged four, was installed by the Maoist government that replaced the monarchy.

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