Food / Hinduism / Nepal / Travel

Patan is awesome. (And ps: I love Momos)

Before sharing with you a little bit of the wonders of Patan that I am lucky to have witnessed yesterday, let me speak about FOOD. Yes, I am a foodie (in case you consider that a legitimate category). One of my favourite things about travelling is trying every possible local dish. And very often I become a fan. For example, yesterday we had Momos for breakfast, lunch AND dinner (and I would have it again today). Momos are Nepalese delicious dumplings that can be served steamed or fried, with fillings of vegetables, chicken or buffalo meat (vegetables are my favourites!).

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Delicious steamed vegetarian Momos before breakfast at the Farmer’s Market on an awesome biodegradable plate made out of dried leaves.

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Fried Momos with dip sauces just before lunch.

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A favourite drink around here: Hot water, lemon, ginger and honey. Amazing for cold days and nights and super tasty.

They were a wonderful option of warm snack at strategic stops while we ventured into the cold and narrow streets of Patan, admiring colourful little doors and wooden carved pillars and windows. By the way, Patan, I discovered only now, is actually a whole separate city from Kathmandu (and not a neighbourhood of Kathmandu, as I thought before… But they are really close). A gate (and visibly narrower streets) marks one of the entrances to its historical centre.

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The entrance portal to historic Patan: Patan Dhoka.

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Colourful (and very low) doors and windows in Patan.

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Small colourful doors around Patan. (we looked giant in comparison to them!)

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Streets of Patan, tilted colourful houses and a narrow street where cars, motorbikes, dogs and pedestrians pass by.

The goal of yesterday’s adventure through historic Patan by foot was to arrive at Durbar Square. We happily ventured into Patan’s crowded streets, which felt like a labyrinth filled with art studios, tea houses, souvenir and art shops (floors and walls packed with statues of gods and goddesses), many Hindu offering sites and Buddhist stupas (places of meditation).

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A small Buddhist Stupa on the streets of Patan.

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Entrance to a Hindu temple just besides a Buddhist Stupa.

Durbar Square is in what seems to be the middle of the historic centre of Patan. Durbar Square literally means the ‘square of palaces’ and it is where kings would be crowned and legitimized back in the 1600’s. Nowadays, it is generally busy with people chatting and walking, selling and photographing, admiring and learning… and lots pigeons (with whom tourists and little kids really seemed to enjoy taking pictures).

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Temples of Durbar Square, in Patan.

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Durbar Square temples and main ‘avenue’ in between temples.

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Durbar Square, Patan.

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Baby boy plays with the pigeons in Durbar Square.

One of the highlights of Durbar Square was the beautiful Museum of Patan (‘The Museum Behind The Golden Door’). There, I discovered that I have a thing for doors, and fell in love with the low, small, tilted and highly decorated doors of the museum, streets and temples. Every part of the constructions seems to be important enough to earn some seriously intricate decoration. Walls, windows, doors, pillars, stairs.. Everywhere I looked I saw patterns, carving, sculpting, gods and goddesses, religious symbols and just plain beautiful incredible art. I am fascinated by how meaningful and telling of their religious beliefs and history every place seems to be. As I continue to be overwhelmed with such a rich, visually vivid culture and interesting history (and yummy food), I will say no more and simply share some glimpses of what I’ve seen so far that describe better than I could have put in words how fascinating this place is:

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Just a regular busy street in Patan, filled with colours.

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Ganesha offering sites spread around almost every street I have seen. (curiosity: a local woman told me that Tuesdays are special days for Ganesha).

 

 

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A beautiful entrance to a temple in Patan that was destroyed in last year’s earthquake. Quite a few piles of bricks where buildings would have stood are visible around this area.

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Beautiful monument in Patan.

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Rock sculpted details in a plaza of Patan.

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Amazed at the details of windows and doors, all sculpted on wood.

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Wooden sculptures and beautiful sari dressed women around Patan.

 

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Small doorways and interesting corners at the Museum of Durbar Square.

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Museum and houses are decorated by natural light that forms patterns through the sculpted windows.

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Beautiful window from inside the Museum of Durbar Square.

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Looking out into Durbar Square from inside the Museum.

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Beautiful tiny doors inside the Museum.

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Beautifully sculpted door with the theme of Hindu deities. The one on the very top, in the middle, is the Goddess Kali. Sometimes depicted as a skeleton, she is the feared destroyer of demons.

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Golden door with incredibly detailed figures.

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Tilted sculpted wooden door.

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(I am fascinated with small decorated doors).

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Doors, pillars, windows… Everything is worth a look.

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Prayer wheels at the Buddhist Golden Temple, just outside Durbar Square.

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A bell at the Buddhist Golden Temple filled with yellow and red, colours of wax and powder used to adorn deities during prayer and worship.

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Buddhist prayer wheels at the Golden Temple. They have mantras written in Devanagari script on their cylindrical surface, and one is supposed to spin them clockwise while saying a prayer.

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Details of the entrance way to the Buddhist Golden Temple.

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Entrance to the Buddhist Golden Temple. The actual name of the temple is: Bhaskerdev Samskarita Hiranyabarna Mahavihara.

 

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