Sunday, May 4th
After arranging a late checkout, we left for Patan at 10:00 am. We took a taxi from the Hyatt for the 45 minute drive through Kathmandu Sunday morning traffic. Patan is located just south of Kathmandu on the other side of the Bagmati River. The city is also known by its official name: Lalitpur, and it is believed to have been founded as early as the 3rd century BC. Patan’s is the third Durbar Square we visited, which is also part of the Kathmandu Valley Unesco World Heritage site. It is just as - if not more - spectacular as those of Kathmandu and Bhaktapur. It is made up of many temples and pagodas of different sizes seemingly arranged randomly over the large rectangular square.

The erotic scenes appear to be particularly kinky here.

We also visited two sites a bit north from the Durbar Square. The first was the Kumbheshwar Temple, which has a very elegant five-story pagoda (one of only two five story pagodas in the Kathmandu Valley). There seemed to be some religious festival going on, with lots of activities in the temple, lots of smoke and food in the courtyard, and a few holy men sitting around.

The second site was the Golden Temple, which is a Buddhist Temple. True to its name it is entirely covered in gold plating (probably not real gold though):

Afterwards we walked back to Durbar Square. One side of the square is bounded by the large Royal Palace, which was built in the 17th and 18th century and it now houses the Palace Museum. It is a large complex with many interior courtyards. Inside the museum we climbed up to the bell tower, from which we had a beautiful view over the whole square.

We took a taxi back to the hotel for a late lunch and check out. We still had the rest of the afternoon and evening, because our flight did not leave until 11:00 pm. It rained rather heavily most of the afternoon, so we spent a bit more time in the hotel. Only when it started to clear up later in the afternoon, we walked over to the nearby Boudhanath stupa:

The Great Stupa of Boudhanath (often just called Boudha Stupa) is one of the largest stupas in the world, and it can be seen from far away. There are many legends surrounding the construction of the stupa. The current structure was probably built in the 14th century, but it is believed that the first stupa was built here as early as the 7th century. This is one of the most sacred sites in Tibetan Buddhism. There are also many Tibetan Buddhist monasteries surrounding it, since a large population of Tibetan refugees have settled in this area over the centuries.

Notice that everyone is facing the same way, because you are supposed to walk around a stupa only in clockwise direction.

We got a taxi from the hotel to the airport, for our 6 hour flight back to Hong Kong (including the brief stop-over in Dhaka), which completed a short but fascinating trip to Nepal. Kathmandu was certainly worth a long weekend visit, even without a trekking trip into the Himalayas. It is not a beautiful, but it is a very interesting city with a rich culture and fascinating history and lots of amazing temples and monuments to see.


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