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After a rocky start with a cab driver who diverted us to his brothers apartment and demanded double our agreed price up front (we made him bring us back to our hotel where the front desk clerk scolded him and we got another cab) we made our way to Patan.
Patan was a separate city in medieval times; it is now a suburb of Kathmandu known as Laliputar, which might mean City of Beauty or City of Artists or something else altogether. It has the most magnificent of the 3 Durbar (palace) Squares in Kathmandu Valley and a very nice museum of Buddhist and Hindu Art, as well as 4 very ancient Stupas (attributed to Ashoka), thriving metalwork and wood carving trade, the only zoo in Nepal, and a large Tibetan Refugee Camp where the Tibetan Rug factory is.
This time we hired a guide. And he was very helpful in showing us inside the palace, explaining the temples (he had his own spin on the erotic art), and showing us the best places for pictures. He was quite passionate about the beauty and history and quite sad about what was crumbling (much damage still unrepaired from the 1934 earthquake).
What a WONDERFUL and magical place, so different from our experience of Kathmandu yesterday. It’s peaceful and inspiring.
This is an ENORMOUS stupa-120 feet in diameter and 43 meters high. The site “dates back beyond the recall of folk memory” and has been rebuilt many times. It is surrounded by shops selling Buddhist paintings, music and beads and many monasteries. Everything is very low key. And today with perfect weather (about 72 degrees, blue skies and just enough of a breeze to set the pray flags flapping), it was transcendent.
Here is a model of Boudhnath from the Patan Museum.