Durbar Square, Kathmandu - Stein Travel
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Durbar Square

Protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Durbar Square is the religious and social heart of Kathmandu's old city and is a complex of palaces, temples, shrines, statues and courtyards built between the 12th and 18th centuries by the ancient kings of Nepal. The square is a queer assortment of the old and the new - elaborately carved architectural features and curving roofs provide shelter for cows, beggars and weary tourists; Brahman priests and painted Sadhus perform rituals and pose for photos, while souvenir sellers and rickshaw drivers compete for attention among the crowds. Stone lions guard the gates to the Old Royal Palace that contains a number of courtyards and the Narayanhity Durbar Museum. Set into the palace wall is a 17th-century stone inscription written in 15 languages; it is believed that milk will flow from the spout below if anyone deciphers the entire inscription. On the other side of the square, the Kasthamandap Temple is an open pavilion topped by a pyramidal tower, said to be created from the wood of a single tree. It is purportedly the Valley's oldest building, and the city of Kathmandu derives its name from this ancient temple.

Information & Facts

Admission

Durbar Square: NPR 1000. Old Royal Palace and museums: NPR 300

Language

Nepali is the official language. English is spoken in all major tourist areas.

Money

The official currency is the Nepali Rupee (NPR), which is divided into 100 paisa. As change can be a problem it is recommended that visitors have a supply of small notes handy. Tourist activities are often quoted in US Dollars and it is advisable to carry new dollar bills in varied denominations. Both Euro and US dollar travellers cheques are widely accepted in tourist areas and can be cashed easily in most banks and major hotels throughout the country. There are ATMs in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards are accepted in many tourist hotels, shops, restaurants and travel agencies. Banks and moneychangers are present in all tourist places and in the major cities; all receipts from foreign exchange transactions should be kept so rupees can be exchanged back into foreign currencies on departure. Cash is needed when trekking.

Opening Times

Durbar Square: daily 8am-5pm. Old Royal Palace: Tuesday to Saturday 9:30am-4pm.

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