Durbar Square is the place where the Kings of Kathmandu ruled and were legimitized and crownded. “Durbar” means “palace”, as such the square remains the traditional heart of the old town. As well it is Kathmandu’s most spectacular endowment of traditional architecture.
It’s very common to spend hours wandering around the square and watching the world elapse from the terraced platforms of the towering Maju Deval; it’s a wonderful way to get a feel for the city. Although most of the square dates from the 17th and 18th centuries, many damages were caused by the great earthquake of 1934. Hence, every monument had to be rebuilt. Following the disaster, the entire square was designated as a Unesco World Heritage site in 1979.
The Durbar square area comprises roughly three associated squares. To the south is the open Basantapur Square, where there is a former royal elephant stables that is now used as a souvenir shop. To the west, the main Durbar square area, with its popular watch-the-world-go-by temples. Moving north east is a second part of Darbar Square, which contains the entrance to the Hanuman Dhoka and a mixture of temples. A good place to begin an exploration of the square is with the oldest building in the valley, the unprepossessing Kathamandap.
Maju Deval Temple
There are several temples to see at Durbar Square, the most popular one is Maju Deval. From the top of it you can watch the constant activity of fruit and vegetable hawkers, and the comings and goings of taxis and rickshaws. The large, triple-roofed temple has suggestive carvings and offers great views onto the square and across the roof tops of the city. The temple dates from 1690 and was built by the mother of Bhaktapur’s king Bhupatindra Malla. Also it has a Shiva lingam (phallic symbol) inside.
To visit Durbar square you need an admission ticket which costs 750 NPR. Note that the admission ticket is only valid for the date stamped.
From our guesthouse, Durbar square is ~15 minute drive away by taxi. You usually find a taxi along our main street, Lazimpat Road. Before stepping in a taxi, first ask where you need to go and how much you must pay.
Normally driving to Durbar Square should cost you ~250NPR. Therefore you must bargain when dealing with a taxi driver to settle the price as such. When returning from Durbar Square, the price normally is ~300NPR, with the exception in the evening where it’s ~350NPR. The price to return is slightly different because our street is very quiet and it will be difficult for taxi driver to find another client.