A city of fine arts

Located just across the Bagmati river from Kathmandu, Patan is a one of the largest cities in Nepal and was once the capital of a powerful, independent kingdo. Confusingly, it is also known as Lalitpur, both names deriving from the Sanskrit "Lalitapattan". As a traditional center of handicrafts, Patan is a great place to purchase jewellery, Buddha statues and masks. Durbar Square Like its counterpart in Kathmandu, it is an interesting mix of palace buildings, artistic courtyards and pagoda temples. The Palace was built on the site of a fort that stood until 1734 and served as the residence of the Malla rulers of the then Patan state. The former royal palace complex is now the centre of Patan’s religious and social life, and houses a museum containing an array of bronze statues and religious objects. One remarkable monument here is a 17th century temple dedicated to the Hindu God Krishna – Krishna Mandir built entirely of stone with rare stone carvings on its walls depicting the epic wars from Ramayana and Mahabharata. Iba Bahi Situated about a two-minute walk south of Durbar Square, it is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Kathmandu Valley. Kumari-Ghar Built in 1757 it is the home of the Kumari Devi - or living goddess - who is considered to be the incarnation of the goddess Taleju. The Kumari is worshipped on all religious occasions. The Kumari is a perfect pre-puberty young girl with no scars or sign of bleeding. When she reaches puberty or appears to be unlucky by bleeding from a scratch, then a new Kumari is selected. From the third floor windows the Kumari will often come, in the company of her guardian priestess to see and be seen by her admirers.