For the remainder of my trip in Nepal, I stayed in Patan – also known as Lalitpur. The Yatachhen house is a conservation building designed with Newari architecture. It didn’t state how old the building is but it has a cozy ambience built with wood and bricks. I stayed in a nice private room up on the attic booked via Airbnb. It is very conveniently located – just a few minutes walk from the Patan Durbar Square.
If you’re an architecture buff, Patan is the place for you. This place is steeped in history and architecture. The Patan Durbar Square (a UNESCO World Heritage site) is listed by UNESCO as one of the seven Monument Zones of the Kathmandu Valley. The Patan Durbar Square was formerly built as a royal palace and the temples were dedicated to Gods and in honour of deceased family members. It is a monumental display of the Newars’ cultural tradition, boasting outstanding craftsmanship of brick, stone, timber and bronze. I was blown away by the amazing buildings and intricate carvings on columns and beams. Their designs reflect a unique coexistence of Hinduism and Buddhism. Some of the buildings date as far back as the 17th century. Some parts of the Durbar Square were damaged by the 2015 earthquake and had to undergo restoration. While walking along the streets, you can still see the damaged roads under construction.
My Nepalese friends were my tour guides for the next few days. I am truly grateful to them for their warm hospitality and for taking the time to bring me around. My time in Nepal wouldn’t be the same without them. I would not have been able to experience Nepal from a local perspective if they hadn’t introduced their food, culture and places to visit. I simply went with the flow and enjoyed the company as well as the experience.
The first stop was to get a snack in one of the shops in Durbar Square. There’s no English name for this shop but my friend said it’s popular amongst the locals. It’s just beside the DSquare Cafe. We had something like an egg pancake and chickpeas. If you’re adventurous enough to try, the lady was also frying some intestines (the black stuffs beside the egg pancakes).
Then we tried some sweets from this popular shop along a small alley.
Thereafter, we visited the Patan museum. The entrance fee for foreign visitors is Rs 1,000 (USD 7.50 or SGD 10). SAARC visitors (from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri-Lanka) costs Rs 250 (USD 1.90 or SGD 2.50). Since this was a royal palace, there were outdoor baths for their Kings and Queens. The last photo below is an elaborately decorated outdoor bath with an intricately designed tap fit for the Queen.
After we exited the museum, my friend brought us for a tour around Patan. We went to the Mahabuddha temple, which is a temple of a thousand buddhas.
While following my friend weaving in and out of alleys, I discovered many surprises. There are hidden secrets in each alleyway. You can be entering a seemingly narrow alleyway and viola! you’re in an open courtyard with a temple. Unfortunately because I was just following my friends, I have no idea where they are located and I don’t think I’d be able to retrace the steps to find these courtyards. But there are lots of such hidden courtyards in Patan, even in the Durbar Square.
Back at Patan Durbar Square, we sat in front of this mini mart and had a cup of Nepalese styled yoghurt. They call it “Juju Dhau”. It’s one of my favourite! I like that their yoghurt is contained in a pottery cup, which you can recycle or reuse as a plant pot. I brought some of these cups back home as souvenirs. This is more eco-friendly compared with disposable plastic cups. Pottery is available locally and most of them are from Bhaktapur.
Then we sat in front of a lake and ate potato chips with a mix of flavours.
Then my friend brought me to this place called Kwaycha Newari Khaja Ghar to try some Newari food. We had some stir fried buffalo with “baji” (a type of flattened rice), and fried liver on skewers. Newari food is very spicy so I had to wash it down with some rice wine. I was pleasantly surprised that they have rice wine and it tastes a lot like the Korean “makgeoli”.
That’s all for today’s activities!