Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nepal - Patan

Not being able to view the Himalayan ranges was one disappointment. We even booked mountain flights which tour you through the ranges for one hour and get as close as 200 meters to Mt. Everest, for 2 days. The flights were canceled after waiting for 3 hours both the days due to bad weather.

We need to respect the laws of nature; another disappointment was I could not go para gliding. Though people were para gliding in Pokhara, the local tour guide warned me that the winds were gusty and not safe. So I just had to make do with a boat ride through Lake Phewa. But on our way back to Kathmandu, we did river rafting in Trishuli river.

The experience was adventurous, the river was full and the currents strong. Gorgeous scenery, amazing river; 30 kms of rafting. We had a professional instructor who gave us tips and instructions; the rowing was tiring - go with the current. Team work - consistent and in sync made it all. I even got out of the raft and hung on the edges and waded through the water for 2 kms. It was scary; the depth and the strong current. All it required was let your hand go of the rope tied on the sides of the raft and you go with the water. Though life jacket was worn; it still was scary when the current was strong and the water swelled; I had to be pulled into the raft :-D

Another observation that struck us - maybe only because we are from southern part of India. English is used as any other local language and we actually find it odd if English is not used. Got to see pure Hindi script everywhere - few words which we long forgot after wrapping up our school period. Like 'yatayat' for 'transport', 'prahari' for 'police', 'pul' for 'bridge'. These words brought that lingering memory of having come across these words in school when learning Hindi.

Getting ready for rafting on Trishuli.

A team already on their way

On our way back; just after the rains, the rainbow appeared. As the landscape was rolling hills one after the other; one could see the rainbow in different angles - sometimes across one mountain to another as if its a sky bridge; sometimes just touching the ground as if its nailed to the green bed of grass; sometimes as its hanging from nowhere. It was the first time ever that I could see the rainbow lingering for more than an hour!!! That was a bonus. It didnt end there. It was not one but two rainbows!! What more to ask for :) 

I clicked 100s of picture to capture it in all angles and landscapes.


 Patan - also called Lalitpur is a major city in Nepal. Its a city of rich heritage - fine ancient arts, metallic and stone carvings. Patan, like Kathmandu has a Durbar Square. Here is the Durbar Square of Patan; a UNESCO world heritage site. The temples with intricately carved wooden doors and windows, beautiful courtyards, exquisite icons made of terracotta, stone, metal and wood  exhibit artistic excellence of the craftsmen and the  fine taste of the people. The whole city looks like an open museum; you are treated with amazing art works whichever side you turn.

A slab proclaiming the UNESCO site 


The Mul chowk; bustling with shops selling crafts and arts

Statues at the entrance of the chowk. Hanuman covered as usual with an orange silk cloak, Narasimha; the other side was a Ganesh statue. 

 A central 'stumbh' or pillar overlooking the King's palace. The King built this as a symbol of arrival of his death. He constructed this pillar and believed that if the bird on the hood of the snake protecting the king flew away; only then the king would die. How could a stone bird fly away? But it seems the King died the very next year at a young age.

A closer view of the top of the pillar. 

Jagannarayan temple; built in 1565; its the oldest temple in Patan. Every durbar square has a kamasutra temple which served as a center for young people to learn about sex; as it was a taboo to discuss sex among people. These temples served as self learning centers.  Each pillar has erotic carvings in wood. Enlarge the picture to notice the details :) 

The King's palace - residence of the Malla rulers of the Patan state. It was under renovation. Those little things hanging from the eaves of the palace are the bells. 

Circumventing the Hindu temples at the Durbar square are Buddhisht vihars and temples. This is the entrace to Hiranya Varna Mahavihar also known as Golden temple. The three story pagoda of Lokeshwar(Lord Buddha) was built in 12th century by King Bhaskar Verma.

Detailed wooden carving at the entrance. 

 On the extreme right is the figurine of Sakyamuni - the primary figure in Buddhism said to have born from the armpit.

The statue of King Bhaskar Verma and his Queen who constructed the temple. 

The Dorje, the prayer wheels and the Buddha 

The temple roof looks like any Hindu temple except for the presence of the Dorje and the Prayer wheel. 

On one of the door was a carved dragon about 1 feet in length 

Tangka paintings were sold everywhere. 

This bell is huge and very very old. Its rung only once in a year 

Centuries old aqueduct called Manga Hiti.  It has 3 carved stone Makaras(crocodile deities) spouting water from their mouths. It seems the water temperature changes according to the weather.

The Harishankar temple. The three story temple of Harishankar - half vishnu and half shiva built in 1704. It has an arcade beautifully decorated with wood carvings depicting the torture of the damned. In the front is a stone carvings of elephant on each side.

This beautiful shikara style Krishna temple is different from others which are all built in Pagoda style. It was built in 1637; consists of central tower encircled by three arcades. Its the first temple to be of Shikara style and all made of stone. Its the only temple having 21 golden pinnacles. There are beautiful carvings and a statue of man bird Garuda - the vehicle of Krishna is facing the mandir. This temple was the most beautiful in my opinion. As usual, leather was not allowed inside the temple. It was my birthday and was feeling incomplete without a temple visit; and the Krishna temple was a perfect place to seek my blessings.

The narrow by-lanes of Patan. 


  1. Beautiful and informative Insi.Ha,it's really historical,with the architecture and craft.And of course the

    And the clicks have a certain amount of depth bringing additional oomph to the city I think !

    Thank you.

  2. B, the temple architecture , I mean the carvings look wonderful,. I wonder when I will be on a river rafting odyssey?

    Pity you missed the flight over the Himalayas. It happens more than often that when we go places the one we want to see or be at, the most will elude us . Laws of Nature , as you said are there and inviolable.

  3. Nepal is a beauty. We couldn't take the plane ride either as it was overbooked at that point and our trip was a last minute decision. Pokhara has some amazing sites. The travel from Katmandu to Pokhara was one of the most picturesque one till date. :)

    The traffic congestion prevented us from visiting the Durbar Squares. Glad to see it here. :)

  4. Right you have convinced me 100% that i have to make sure my next holiday is there ..
    it is beautiful


  5. Hindi - you know I converse most of the time in this language. and my hindi is more mumbaiya :)

    at many places in mumbai you come across hindi. marathi is a bit similar to hindi again. a few terms are common.

    Himalayans - next time and double rainbow - amazing. I loved all the clicks of the rainbow btw :)

  6. rainbow looks delightful!!!!!
    wow there's so much to see in Nepal... a beautiful photo jouney.

  7. Loved the rainbow shot. The attention to details, be it facts or pictures, are noteworthy. The kind of little nuggets of information are invaluable to those with the travel bug.

  8. Of all places that i visited in Nepal ,Patan was the most clicked spot .I used two film -rolls there .We met a local lady who took us to another temple which is partially built in Gold.And that was amazing.
    Great to see your river rafting pictures .We missed trying .Loved your captures specially rainbow and the sunset .Thanks for beautiful narration.

  9. Beautiful pics , loved the double rainbow and the Patan square shot.
    A bit busy with my work, conducting an exhibition next week of my jewel Art.You can inform your friends in Chennai ,the details I have given in my pilgrimage blog..on the right margin.

  10. Nice travelouge once again! :)

    Nice pictures.The sunset picture made me go awe! ;)
    I hope to visit such places soon. :)

  11. Read it. Reread. Reread. Excellent pictures. Seems like I am there. Great description. Have a great weekend

  12. wow...lovely post..
    first time here...very interesting space you have..
    nice presentation..
    Am your happy follower now..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..

    Tasty Appetite

  13. Melange,

    It was overwhelming Melange. One needs to spend a day here; at the same time I wonder what would spending an entire day give you? Lots of information which is going to tire you!!!

    Its so much. Thanks, glad you liked the clicks; maybe the absence of sunlight makes mysterious.


    Oh anil, its never too late. You should experience rafting sometime

    Yeah, it was more than disappointment as losing 3 hours meant missing on other sightseeing. But what to do, nature has its way


    Yes, the drive from Kathmandu is Pokhara is gorgeous; I can visualize them on a clear sunny day :)

    I still make it to the other Durbar square - the Bhaktapur one. But its fine; we visited two durbar squares.


    What more are you waiting for? :)


    I went berserk seeing the rainbow and for a long long time - i kept clicking!


    Thanks, yes lots and lots.


    Welcome to B Log.

    Thanks, glad you liked; I always end up seeing rainbows on my travel :)


    Patan is a treasure; you find temples in every nook and corner; its difficult to visit all. Glad you liked the pictures kavita


    Thanks much. Sure chitra, will take a look.


    Thanks so much. Glad you liked :)


    :-) Thanks a lot.


    Welcome to B Log. Glad you liked this space :)

    Sure will visit you :)

  14. Very very informative post. Even though I have been to Nepal, honestly, I didn't know until now as to how much more could I have seen.

  15. Excellent pics, B! Wow to your river rafting!

  16. Lucky you! I am amazed you went rafting for 30 kms and managed 2 kms outside the raft.Bravo! :) Tangka paintings caught my eye when I saw them in Kashmir but I didn't buy them. I now wish I had :)

  17. Chowla sir,

    Oh! there is always something that we miss isnt it Sir?


    Thanks Balan :)


    Long time no see :)

    Oh yeah, it was such an adventure. 30 kms did take a toll on my body; 2 kms outside? That was so scary; dont know why I attempted that :)
    I didnt want to regret not doing it later though.

    Tangka can be got in Tibet as well. See if you can possess if you go that side again :)

  18. :) Beautiful Pics. Been there, but years ago. I loved the Rainbow and sunset is amazing! Nepal is a beautiful place :)

  19. Yet another wonderful chapter for this fantastic trip. I am so glad you were able to raft! Rafting near foothills!!? Wow! I can imagine how much fun you must have had! I really liked the way you have shown the character of the city. Truly superb! So many different kind of buildings and so old. So much character. The wooden door next to the statues of Narasimha and Hanuman adds so much beauty to the photo graph. Really like that one! The central stumbh near the King's palace! Wow! What a place and thanks for the zoom in shot! Fantastic! The detail and the work behind the wooden art in the photos that followed, wow! At first I did not zoom into the pictures, and I did not notice them, but when I saw each picture one by one, wow! magic! so how do you like your camera? :-)

  20. Overall, superb pictures! Thanks for sharing them.

  21. A wonderful travelogue, yet again! Never knew so much abt Nepal!! Yatayat, Prahari... wow, people use these words daily!! River rafting... damn cool and so very adventurous!!
    The rainbow pic and the sunset one is National Geographic kind of capture! Awesome!

  22. Shesha,

    Thank you :)

    Nepal is sure an exotic place.


    You bet! It was overwhelming; it was architectural overdose for me. Too much in too little time.

    Yes! I couldnt capture much picture; during rafting as I left the camera behind. Didnt want to take risk in the water. But the setting was picturesque.

    The wooden door? Only you could have observed it :-D Yup those are true works of art done with passion.

    My camera? I hope it likes me! because I have not given it much work that I ought to!


    Thanks. :-) Yup, they use those words - its very common. NGC? I am thinking of sending my pics to them. Lets see.

  23. Superb pictures. I loved the rainbow and sunset shots very much. All other temple carvings are extraordinary.

  24. Simply beautifully captured shots...lovely reading!

  25. Kalyan,

    Welcome to B Log :)

    Thanks, glad you liked them all


I'd love to know what you thought :-) Please shoot!