Hanuman Dhoka – Kathmandu Durbar Square
Entrance fee of Rs. 250 for foreign visitors. Ticket to the Square entitles you to visit all the museums.
Hanuman Dhoka (Hanuman Gate) is the social, religious and urban focal point of Kathmandu. The square is the complex of palaces, courtyards and temples that were built between the 12th and the 18th centuries by the ancient Malla Kings of Nepal and is famous for coronations of Nepalese kings.
The following sites offer a glimpse of the culture, religion and history of the Nepal Kingdom.
- Taleju Temple
- Kal Bhairab (God of Destruction) Statue
- Nautalle Durbar
- Nasal Chowk
- The Gaddi Baithak
- The Statue of King Pratap Malla
- The Big Bell
- Big Drum
- The Jagnnath Temple
- Te Kumari Ghar
The Palace Entrance
We start from the entrance of the square. On entering the palace or Durbar square, there lies 17th century statue of Hanuman, covered in red clothes and holding an umbrella. This is a highly revered statue by the believers of Hinduism. On the left is an interesting sculpture of Lord Narasimha, the half-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu, tearing apart the demon Hiranyakasipu. The statues and sculptures are indeed overwhelming.
Next to the Hanuman Temple near the entrance lies the Nasal Chowk. The Nasal Chowk courtyard got its name from the beautiful image of Dancing Shiva, on east side of the Chowk. The Chowk has historical importance considering it was the place where King Birendra was crowned in 1975.
The Chowk also has the magnificent nine storey Basantpur Tower, with intricately carved doorways, windows and struts. The golden image of Maha- Vishnu in the open veranda on the eastern wall of the Nasal Chowk will leave you spell boumd.
Panch Mukhi Hanuman Temple
Next we reach the Panch Mukhi Hanuman temple. This venerable temple dedicated to Hanuman is in the northeast corner of the Nasal Chowk courtyard. It has five circular roofs.
This nine storey tower offers a great view of the palace and the city. On a clear day, the awe inspiring Himalayas can also be glanced at from the top of this tower. The struts on the facade of the tower have erotic carvings on them. Apart from the Basantpur tower, there are three other towers constructed by King Prithivi Narayan. The names being Kirtipur tower, the Bhaktpur tower or Lakshmi Bilas and the Patan or Laitpur tower.
Dedicated to Taleju Bhawani, the goddess of the royal Malla family, Mul Chowk courtyard was dedicated to religious activities. There is a small Taleju Temple with a golden torana in the south side of the courtyard. The deity of Taleju is moved to this temple during the Dasain festival. There are images of the river goddesses Ganga and Yamanu on either side of the entrance.
Next we reach the Mohan Chowk . This site is only for seeing from a distance. The residential courtyard of the Malla Kings was built in 1649. It is a protected site and cannot be therefore entered.
The golden waterspout called Sun Dhara is in the center of the courtyard. It is the place where the Malla Kings would bathe each morning.
This museum is a must visit for lovers of history. Tribhuvan Museum lies on the west side of Nassal Chowk. It contains an exhibit of items of the past Kings of Nepal. It has excellent stone carvings, several spectacular thrones, jewel-studded ornaments used for coronations, weapons, furniture, wooden temple carvings, and a coin collection.
There is a recreation of the king’s bedroom and study, which contains the king’s personal belongings. This part of the palace, next to Durbar Square, was built by the Ranas in the mid to late 19th century. This site is only for seeing from a distance. It exhibits the thrones and other valuables of King Mahendra.
We have finally completed our shot and sweet visit to Hanuman Dhoka.
Good to know
There is a 17th century stone inscription in the Hanuman Dhoka that is set on the wall of the palace with writings in 15 languages. It is believed that if anybody deciphers this entire inscription, the milk would flow from the spout, which lies just below the inscripted stone wall. Some people say that the inscription contains coded directions to a treasure King Pratap Malla has buried beneath Mohan Chowk of Durbar Square.
Hanuman Dhoka means ‘Gate of Hanuman’, the monkey god of Ramayana fame. Today, dozens of monkeys call this square their home. Hanuman performed herculean tasks on behalf of the other gods. The Malla dynasty’s kings used Hanuman’s image on their battle flags, and in 1672 placed his statue outside the Royal Palace to ward off evil spirits and diseases. The Hanuman Dhoka, therefore, has great historical and religious importance.