The three sister cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur & Lalitpur are collectively called Kathmandu Valley, Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal. The valley has remained Nepal’s cultural hub well for the past millennia, with a high concentration of temples & monuments, hundreds of festivals, distinct ethnic groups and communities and a vibrant lifestyle. The most notable of all cultural destinations in Kathmandu valley are the 3 three durbar squares of the valley, also among the 10 UNESCO world heritage sites in Nepal.
Lalitpur, also know as Patan is the third largest city of Nepal after Kathmandu and Pokhara. It is one of the three districts that make up Kathmandu valley. Lalitpur is rich in traditional arts and crafts. Because of its rich cultural heritage, it receives a large number of domestic as well as international tourist. Lalitpur or mostly Patan area is heavily populated with the Newar community. In typical Newar term, Lalitpur is known as Yala, named after the first king of Kathmandu ya lamer. It has been rich in culture and art due to the skilled Newar community have been settled in Patan since ancient time. The city was initially formed in the shape of a buddhist wheel of righteousness and there are four stupas in four corner of Patan called Asoka stupa.
Lalitpur is the prime example for showing harmony in the religion of both Buddhist and Hindu community. Not only it is rich with cultural and religious resources but Lalitpur is filled with natural beauty. The amazing culture in Lalitpur has allowed the people to get more involved in art and craft. As the most population in Patan are engaged in trades and handicrafts, Patan has produced the highest number of famous artist in the history of Nepali art. Lalitpur has maintained the authentic values and craftsmanship even in the rapid modernization influence in the valley. Lalitpur is less urbanized than Kathmandu and people still value the authentic culture passed down from generations.
Lalitpur has a large number of handicraftsman and metal workers. The wood carving around the temples and the traditional houses stands for the skill of the Newari craftsman. The doors and windows of the traditional houses have beautifully carved patterns and idols of god and goddess. Some of the carvings also show the mythical creatures or represents the folklore of Nepal. The stonework in Patan is also astonishing to see. Most of them can be seen in front of religious buildings at the entrance as some mythical creature. Metal shop owners are engaged in making the dishes and religious instruments from metal like copper and bronze.the handicrafts can be interesting souveniers of travel to Nepal.
When visiting the city one should look out for some of the local delicacies offered in Lalitpur. Bing a newarii community, most eateries is filled with flavourful Newari dishes. You can enter any rooftop resturants and enjoy the local dishes while enjoying the people passing by the Patan Durbar square. In religious occasion you can also see people engage in different rituals and activities.
The most notable land mark in Lalitpur is patan durbar square. It is listed in the UNESCO world heritage site list and it is the center for the religious and trade of the city.the square is tiled with red bricks and full of narrow streets all around the area. There are 19 monuments in patan durbar area. Majority of the temple and monuments are construceted in the traditional pagoda style.the palace for malla kings has been converted into meauseum which has preserved the the history and culture of Lalitpur and the whole Kathmandu valley.
Krishna mandir is the most unique monument in patan durbar square.it is built in sikhara style and fully constructed from stones. All the details are constructed with stone carvings from pi;;ars to roof. It is a 3 stories temple and holds the idol of hindu god lord Krishna. The next attraction of patan durbar square is Bhimsen Temple. It is renowned because of the interconnected golden windows. It is named after character from Mahabharata Bhimsen. He worshipped as the god of business and trade. Vishwanath temple attracts lot of attention of tourist because of the carving in the beam supporting the roof. The supporting wood are decorated with the erotic carving. The temple is dedicated to lord shiva and is guarded by the two stone elephant statues at the entrance.
Patan area used to be dotted all over with the water ponds. Mmany of them have the religious signnifican but they are reduce to few numbers. But those which are still existing are beautiful to look at and carry cultural significance. Some of them have epic myth connected to them. Pim bahal pokhari is ancient among them which was built in 14 th century. Like it most of the ponds are going under repair and renovation in order to protedt the ancient history conned with those ponds.
The only zoo in Nepal is in Lalitpur city. It holds more than 850 animals of more than 100 species. It was originally constructed as a private zoo but was opened to public in 1956 A.D. the central pond in the zoo was originally constructed as the major source of water for patan.you can enjoy paddle boating in the pond. This zoo holds the 15 of the 38 endangered species found in Nepal. The most popular animals among all other are the one horned rhinosceros and royal Bengal tigers. It is home to different mammels, birds, reptiles and as well as fishs.the zoo also provides the elephant ride and fishing facilities to the visitors according to seasons. There is a library, children park and picnic spot inside the zoo.
Godawari is a famous botanical garden because of its collection of birds,plants and trees.godawari is around 15 km from patan durbar square. It hols the large number of plants and medicinal plants. With rushing streams and shady meadows it has become a popular picnic spot for people around the valley. The picnic spots and housing are separated from the protected areas so you will be able to enjoy the nature fully. Because of its scenic beauty it has been popular day off place to visit the young as well as adults. Many video and movie shooting happens in godawari through out the year. The godawari botanical garden covers around 200 acres of natural forest with rushing springs. The garden has 256 varities of birds and 300 varities of butterflires.the main speciality of the garden is it has more than 500 specimen of flowering and non-flowering plants.