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!).
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.
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).
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).
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: