Patan, you stole my heart

3 Jan

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(ALL photos by BHG / Facebook )

After a truly exhausting morning acclimating to the frenetic pace of life in Kathmandu, we packed our bags (well, actually our backpacks) and headed to our second stop, the city of Patan. Located in the Kathmandu Valley, on the southern side of the Bagmati River, Patan is one of the three royal cities in the valley, the others being Kathmandu and Bhaktapur. Patan, also known by its Sanskrit name, Lalitpur (City of Beauty), is quieter and far less touristy compared to Kathmandu. It’s filled with rich history, ornate architecture, dozens of Buddhist and Hindu temples and over 1200 monuments. It is a truly breathtaking city and became our home for the next four nights. You could say we fell in love.

After a sweat inducing drive across the foul-smelling Bagmati River (let’s not sugarcoat it- it was smelly) the rickety, exhaust spewing taxi dropped us off at the gates of Patan’s Durbar square. The friendly driver told us we would have to walk to our hotel from there because cars are not permitted through the square (Side note- it’s incredibly easy to get around Nepal because so many Nepali people speak English) We piled out of the car slowly, weighed down by our giant backpacks; Brian even had one strapped to his chest. He looked like a mule. We paid the driver the agreed upon rate in rupees (no matter how friendly the driver is always work out your rate before getting in the taxi!) and began our walk to the hotel. Before we could get far, we were stopped and asked to pay an entrance fee of seven US dollars to enter Patan, a fee paid only by tourists and used to maintain the city.

With our Lonely Planet book and map in hand, we navigated our way through the bustling Durbar Square and to The Swotha House, a restored Newari home that now acts as a six-room luxury hotel. We were warmly greeted by a gorgeous French woman named Camille. I immediately liked her energy. She had long messy hair, big brown eyes and a hippie sensibility. After we chatted for a bit, she led us up four flights of very very very steep stairs and to our room, the attic room. It was on the top floor, the size of a small apartment and came equipped with its own private patio overlooking the city below. Then minute we walked in we both looked at each other with big smiles and agreed we would be canceling our other night in Kathmandu and staying here until the trek began.

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Over the next few days we walked the city, explored the Hindu and Buddhist temples, laughed, had romantic dinners in our hotel, bought treasures, visited the Patan museum, drank turborg beer by candlelight, ate an exorbitant amount of momo’s and were asleep every night by 9pm. It was heaven. Here are some of my favorite moments and places captured on film by my talented photographer fiance

The Golden Temple– Finding the Golden Temple proved to be very hard for the two of us. I’d like to think we’re pretty savvy but when it came to navigating the Lonely Planet walking tour maps, we were dead in the water. For being a huge golden temple it was incredibly hard to find. It was hidden among the buildings. After passing it a thousand times we finally gave up on finding it and went in search of something else. Of course we ended up finding it that way. I’m so happy that we did because it was insanely gorgeous. It’s a Buddhist monastery, adorned with a golden facade. The Golden temple was built-in the 12th century by King Bhaskar Verma. It’s so incredibly ornate and fabulous and breathtaking that I felt moved by standing in its presence.

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Patan Museum- Formerly the residence of the Malla kings, it now houses one of the finest collections of religious art in Asia. Partly funded by the Austrian government, the Patan Museum is considered a national treasure. As beautiful as the art was, the view of Durbar Square from its windows took the cake.

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We climbed to the very top of a hotel and found this view of Patan. I couldn’t get over how jam-packed the buildings were and how polluted the sky was. You could barely make out the mountains in the horizon!

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This gorgeous photo taken of a sun drenched rooftop taken from our hotel balcony…

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we happened to be in Nepal during harvest season so the below photo was a common site. A local Nepali woman turning her rice to help dry it…

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everywhere we turned there were stunning whitewashed temples adorned with the all-seeing eyes….

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intricate stone carvings with Buddha…

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these little meat or veggie filled dumplings called momo’s became a fast favorite for us…

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Durbar square in the quiet of the night…

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Brian looking handsome by a Patan reservoir…

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and me by the same reservoir…noticing what was living in it…

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Patan, despite what lived in your waters, you stole my heart.

*

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9 Responses to “Patan, you stole my heart”

  1. Erin Haslag (@WELLinLA) January 3, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Love the photos and story… you two are inspiring me to go on a big adventure this year! And I wish that “no matter how friendly the driver is always work out your rate before getting in the taxi!” applied here in the U.S. 😉

  2. rachel January 3, 2013 at 10:19 am #

    I love that photo of you looking out from the balcony to down below. What a beautiful place to people watch! Also, can Momos be the first thing we make in your new glorious kitchen? They look so freakin good!

  3. Wendell A. Brown January 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    I love all the photos…I know you had a wonderful time…you never cease to amaze me!

  4. questionsonfaith January 3, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    I’m super curious now. What was living in the water?

    • katemcclafferty January 3, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

      Hahaha. I still don’t know! it was very polluted:(

  5. righteousbruin9 January 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    That looks like a fascinating city. One has to expect “exotic” smells, but the sights seem to have more than compensated.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Bhaktapur, Nepal « - February 11, 2013

    […] a day trip to Bhaktapur. It is the third royal city in the valley- the others being Kathmandu and Patan. It is definitely the best preserved of the three- it was like being dropped in medieval […]

  2. favorite things about trekking in Nepal : the group « - February 19, 2013

    […] spending five days exploring Patan, Kathmandu and Bhaktapur, it was finally time for Brian and I to meet up with our Earthbound […]

  3. check-in | - March 7, 2013

    […] travel doctor / the toe  / Hong Kong 1 / Hong Kong 2 / Arriving in Nepal / Kathmandu / Patan / the monkey temple / Bhaktapur / trekking: the group / trekking: the water […]

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