Things to do in Patan
-   2018-01-30 | nepaltraveller.com
The most alluring thing about Patan is its rich culture, embedded in every courtyard, every eatery and every monument that has been carefully preserved
If you think you can explore Patan in few hours, you are highly mistaken. You need at least two days set aside because Patan offers more than you think it does. Beyond the extraordinary religious shrines and beautiful temples, Patan is a haven for food, a web of intricate alleys with each having their own unique stories, an art gallery with exquisite artefacts that whispers all the century-old secrets. The most alluring thing about Patan is its rich culture, embedded in every courtyard, every eatery and every monument that has been carefully preserved by the locals, silently waiting for you to discover. We have noted down few things that you MUST do in Patan.
1. Take a detour in the Patan Museum
The highlight of Patan, this museum is the former residence of The Malla Kings and consists of the finest collection of religious art found in Asia. Built in the late 17th century, this old place will give you a glimpse of the rich architectural history of medieval Nepal and the beautiful artefacts anchored there narrates the glorious history of the Malla Kingdom. The museum hosts interesting and fascinating objects that have a unique story associated with it. The intricate wood carvings, the descriptive metal works and the rich history hidden in every item of the museum will make you want to explore it over and over again.
2. Visit the numerous shrines of Patan
Patan is known for its beautiful temples. It’s most likely that every alley will lead you to yet another gorgeous and historically significant temple waiting to be explored. Whether that is Krishna Mandir situated in the main square that beautifully depicts Lord Krishna’s life through elaborate stone carvings, or Mahaboudha also known the ‘Temple of a thousand Buddhas’, quite literally having a thousand small sculptures of Buddha, it is a sight not to be missed. Just a few metres from the main square will lead you to the Golden Temple, an important sight to witness the beautiful harmony of Buddhism and Tantrism.
3. Try the local Newari food at Honacha
The best way to experience Patan’s rich culture is through its scrumptious Newari Cuisine. Located next to Bhimsen Mandir, Honacha is an eatery that has been serving authentic Newari food for decades. What makes this stand out of all the restaurants in Patan is the true Newari experience provided by the locals of the community who have been involved in this eatery for generations. While at the eatery, don’t forget to try their famous Hakku Cholela. Made with hot spices and roasted buffalo meat, this dish will blow your taste buds. Aside from this, Honacha provides a range of authentic Newari dishes which are only served in a typical Newari household.
4. Don't forget the popular dessert of Patan: Patan Barfi
Right next to Honacha, you can find another eatery that serves exclusive Newari sweets, commonly known as Shree Ghanashyam Mithai Bhandar. Located at Maumoru Galli, this confectionery has been serving Newari desserts for approximately 100 years. Some of their most famous dishes are- Lakhamari, Jeri Swari, Fini and barfi also known as Patan Barfi. This Barfi is one of the few things that introduces Patan and sets it apart from the two adjacent cities of the valley. The soft creamy texture of the Barfi has hypnotized all the visitors and probably is the best barfi in the valley.
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5. Observe the local wood carving culture
Quite literally Patan means the ‘City of fine arts’ and was once home to the finest artists in Nepali history, Arniko, Abhay Raj and Siddhi Raj to name just a few. Even now the artistry of the local craftsmen, namely the Shilapakars has not been diminished throughout the ages and is much alive in their culture. They can be seen working on their craft behind the Patan Museum. If you do happen to happen to visit this historical site, don’t miss the sight of woodcarvers with their carving tools practising something which has been passed down through the generations.
6. Admire the Bahals of Patan
Bahal is a courtyard found in the Newari community. The main The city of Patan consist of one of the oldest and the most beautiful bahals of the valley. Filled with intricate wood carvings and interesting legends, the bahals of Patan are a place of religious bliss. Some of the must-visit Bahals of Patan are Mahaboudha Bahal, Uku bahal, Kwa Bahal. With its beautiful pond and vibrant pavilion, Pim Bahal will serve as a perfect rejuvenation point after a long day of travel.
7. Shop at Mangal Bazar
Mangal Bazar is a bustling marketplace where you can find almost every essential. However, it is especially famous for the local handicrafts that can serve as a perfect souvenir for your loved ones. From colourful ethnic wears to exquisite art pieces, you won run out of options to splurge on.
8. Get a glimpse of the traditional Newari culture
Patan is home to the ancestral Newars who have been residing in the same area for generations. Their culture is very much alive even in the modern times. You can witness their culture in the first light of the morning when they go to the local stone water taps (Dhungedhara) to withdraw just in front of the Bhimsen temple, (which now sadly is undergoing construction due to the earthquake) or even their rich Newari tone in the way they speak. Just dine at any of the Newari restaurants where narrow wooden staircases, straw woven mats (sukul) and Haku Patasi clad women as servers is a common sight.