Monday, April 25, 2016

Patan Durbar Square: A memorable gift from our ancestors

By: Kristina Shrestha

The life comprises of moments which are ephemeral or the ones which last forever. While looking back into my memories, I stumbled upon one of the beautiful days in my life. I remembered the days we spent at “Patan Durbar Square”, one of the world heritage sites in Nepal. Within 20 miles radius, three world heritage sites are located including “Bhaktapur Durbar Square” and “Kathmandu Durbar Square”. Patan Durbar Square is near the center of Kathmandu and is also within 3 miles of radius from my campus where I earned my undergraduate degree in Architecture. Being an Architect student makes me special for getting an opportunity to visit Patan Durbar Square daily and feel proud what our ancestors have left for us.    
Today, I am going to cite my memories related to Patan Durbar Square. It is a public square which is designed in an axial pattern. The street which is elongated in North and South divides the square also known as “Chowk” in our native terms. The eastern side consists of palaces whereas western side consists of temples. The temples have square floor plan while the palaces have rectangular floor plan. According to Vastu shastra, the house of god should have a perfect shape like a square where as houses should have different forms derived from temples.
The temples which are present in Patan Durbar Squares are:
1.      Bhimsen Temple
2.      Vishwonath Temple
3.      Garud Statue
4.      Krishna Temple
5.      Jagannarayan Temple
6.      Yogendra Malla Statue
7.      Vishnu Temple
8.      Hari Shankar Temple
9.      Big Bell
10.  Radha Krishna Temple
11.  Bhal Dega Temple
The palaces which are in Patan Durbar Squares are:
1.      Mani Keshar Chowk
2.      Taleju Mandir
3.      Degutale Temple
4.      Mul Chowk
5.      Sundari Chowk

The buildings are constructed with stones, adobe brick and timber. Adobe brick is the predominant materials for the construction of building. As I previously mentioned that this square is listed in WHO World Heritage Site. It is the place which serve as a playground for the children, tourist site, gathering space for youths, hang out space for the elderly, recreational area, space for the people to pray and a space to learn about the history, art and architecture. For me, this place is a space for hanging out with friends, a space to learn the history, art and architecture, and this is the place which reminds me of my adulthood.

It taught me Nepalese (especially Newari) architectural style via temples and palaces. It is an outstanding example of intermingling of arts and culture with many buildings which have magnificent handcrafted decorated windows, beams, columns and door.
I still remember those days where I used to go to this place with my loved ones, sit in the plinth of temples, feel the soft cold breeze, listen to the music composed by the wind and the traditional wind chimes and enjoy the beautiful architecture. The place is vibrant and lively not only because of the art, history and architecture it holds, but also because of the diversity of people that visit the place. There are different types of people including those who wants to enjoy the nature, one who wants to learn, one who wants to spend time, and the ones who come there to feed pigeons and sparrows. The temples serve as are their homes and we humans serve as their food suppliers. No doubt, they are living with us maintaining a harmonious relationship between humans and nature. That is one of the reasons why I appreciate this place as a gift from our ancestors and always will be in my good memories.


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