Kathmandu Durbar Square, which covers a total area of 5 acres, has a number of temples, palaces, courtyards, ponds and quadrangles on display. Kathmandu Durbar Square is also referred to as Hanuman Dhoka. This is because a large statue of Hanuman, the Monkey God and a devotee of Lord Ram, is placed in front of the Royal Palace. The Royal Palace is believed to have been constructed by King Shankaradev. King Pratap Malla is said to have erected the statue of Lord Hanuman in front of the Royal Palace, in the belief that Hanuman would protect the Palace. The Royal Palace was home to the royalties of Nepal until the 19th century. Though Narayanhity Royal Palace is the present home of the royalties, important occasions like the coronation of the King still take place in the Nasal Chowk of the Kathmandu Durbar Square.
At present, the Royal Palace houses the King Tribhuwan Memorial Museum and the Mahendra Museum. You can also visit the State Rooms inside the palace.
Some of the oldest temples of the Kathmandu Durbar Square are those built by Mahendra Malla (1560 to 1574). These include the temples of Jagannath, Kotilingeswara Mahadev, Mahendreswara and the Taleju Temple. Some of the other popular temples are that of Maru Ganesh, Indrapura, Trailokya Mohan, Maju Deval, Kageswara Mahadev and Shiva Parvati. Degutale and Indrapura temples were built by King Pratap Malla during his reign. Kasthamandap temple, also known as Maru Sattal, is believed to have been built from the timber of a single sal tree.
Towards the south of the Kathmandu Durbar Square lies the Kumari Bahal. The Kumari Bahal is the house of the Living Goddess, Kumari. Goddess Kumari, who is a young girl who has not yet reached puberty, is believed to be the living incarnation of Goddess Taleju Bhawani. Goddess Kumari is worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists.
The Gaddi Durbar is a large palace complex covered in white plaster and with Greek columns. During festivals, members of the Royal family view the activities of the square below from the balcony of Gaddi Durbar. Another palace complex is the Basantapur Durbar, also known as Nautale. The Basantapur Durbar has four roofs and is situated at the end of Nasal Chowk.
Places to Buy Gifts
The area around Kathmandu Durbar Square is full of street vendors selling a variety of items from fruits, vegetables, shawls, blankets and sweaters to bedroom slippers. You will find more shops and shopping malls in Indra Chowk, which is nearby Kathmandu Durbar Square.