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Caroline Letrange

Caroline Letrange Bring your bag to travel on the summit of the Himalayas and Kilimanjaro ! Nepal, Tibet, India, Bouthan, Mustang, Kilimanjaro... Travel to regions among the most beautiful. Discover photos and advice before booking your trip.

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NEPAL: Patan, Ancient City

Par Caroline Letrange :: 18/06/2007 à 1:49 :: Cultural Adventure

Patan, the royal city !



In the south of kathmandou, about 6 km from inner kathmandu, you can discover Patan, the old royal city built in the south side of the Bagmati river. The old city  has the name Lalitpur, the City of the Beauty or, the city with the gilded roofs and for its inhabitants, Lalita Patan, the splendid city.



But i am not telling you about patan itself. you may find excellent descriptions of Patan in all the good books of history or tourist guides.

Then what am I talking about ? I'm gonna try make you discover Patan through anecdotes. Might give you more pleasant thing to read without beeing bored ?

Nevertheless, let me give you some infos about the city itself. Patan is an expansion of Buddhist temples and stupas set up around the royal palate. The various numbers of ancient Buddhist stupas makes Patan the oldest Buddhist city in the world. The city was very famous between the 16th and the 18th century and becomes an important artistic center, highlighting the Newari craft industry. The main palace, partly destroyed during an earthquake in 1934, has been rebuilt. This royal palace is divided into 3 huge yards and the massive gilded door, leading you to the yards, is kept by 2 imposing stone lions.



And then, here are the expected anecdotes :

In the main yard of the royal palace, called Mulk Chowk and built in 1868 a weird sacrifice accurs. Every year, during Dashain, the sacrifice of 108 animals takes place there ; actually, 108 animals per day during approximately 10 days ! but the number of sacrifices is less and less observed.

Why such a sacrifice ? and why 108 animals ? This sacrifice is carried out in honor of Kali. This god is supposed to have 108 incarnations, therefore they are 108 animals, incarnations of Kali, that will be sacrificed.

Animals are decapitated with an axe in one shot only. If the torturer misses his strike does not cut the head, he  is supposed not to be able to reach the nirvana. Then it is hightly recomanded to cut the head with a nice blow done with an incisive sabre or a big axe. The blood of the animals is then sprinkled on the walls around the temple dedicated to the god. two representations of gods are keeping the door of the temple : Ganga, resting on a tortoise and Yamuna, a crowned crocodile at her feet. Ganga represente the river Gange, the crowned river and Yamuna is the sister of the God of hells.



Facing with the Royal Palace, a column stone has the represenation of king Yoganerendra Malla on its top. His body is protected by a cobra raising up itself on its body with, on its head, a small bird. The legend says that the king is stil alive and as soon as the bird will take-off the cobra's head and fly towards the palate, the king will then be considered as dead. At this very moment, the end of the world will begin.



Then the colossal elephants which keep the entry of the temple of Vishwanath, finishing a whole line of temples of various styles, will leave their stone gangues to get towards the water of the Manga Hiti  fountain located opposite to the temple. At the elephant will start moving the world will disapear forever !



The
Manga Hiti fountain


The fountain has three spouts hones representing crocodile heads. The fountain receives its water directly of the Himalayas without passing through the urban system of water distribution is supposed to provide pure and holy water. It is said that you can drink this water without getting ill ; i did not expereinced the legend and did not test the veracity of this alleged purity !



The temple of Tank Narayan, easily recognizable thanks to Geruda, the vehicle of Vishnu * which faces him, is astonishing because it was built of only one holding in the stone.


*Each god has a vehicle, his means of transportation, to travel. As you can identify the mean of transportation, then you can put a name on the god venerated. Geruda is a half-man, half-bird vehicle of Vishnu.

The temple of Krishna Mandir is decorated with sexual representations. During the old days, the couples used to celebrate their wedding still they were very young. Then, they were tought about sexuality through the sexual decorative representations on these temples. The representions always start with an animal posture: a lion with a woman, in order to remain the young couple that we only imitate nature in the representation of sexuality. Other postures being carried out are between men and women.

Krishna is regarded as the god of love. It is a god whom I is supposed to be very lucky or very powerful (strong ?) because it has 108 women and approximativly 16 000 girlfriends!!

In old tradition, this god is venerated as the god of work... because it is very occupied with its numerus wifes  !!



Discover the Kathmandou valley and discover the magic of Nepal


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