Dhoka (Hanuman Gate), with several complexes spread over an area of about
five acres, is the social, religious and urban focal point of Kathmandu. The
square is the complex of palaces, courtyards and temples that were built
between the 12th and the 18th centuries by the ancient Malla Kings of Nepal.
Sites to See
||Durbar Square, Kathmandu
||Former Royal Palace of the Malla Kings
||Nasal Chowk and Basantpur Temple
||The place is home to dozens of monkeys
||Coronation of Nepalese Kings
The following sites offer a glimpse of the culture, religion and history of
the Nepal Kingdom.
Major Tourist Attractions
- Taleju Temple
- Kal Bhairab (God of Destruction) Statue
- Nautalle Durbar
- Nasal Chowk
- The Gaddi Baithak
- The Statue of King Pratap Malla
- The Big Bell
- Big Drum
- The Jagnnath Temple
Let us visit Hanuman Dhoka to find out what lies in store for us.
The Palace Entrance
We start from the entrance of the square. On entering the palace or Durbar
square, there lies 17th century statue of Hanuman, covered in red clothes
and holding an umbrella. This is a highly revered statue by the believers of
Hinduism. On the left is an interesting sculpture of Lord Narasimha, the
half-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu, tearing apart the demon Hiranyakasipu.
The statues and sculptures are indeed overwhelming.
Next to the Hanuman Temple near the entrance lies the Nasal Chowk. The
Nasal Chowk courtyard got its name from the beautiful image of Dancing
Shiva, on east side of the Chowk. The Chowk has historical importance
considering it was the place where King Birendra was crowned in 1975.
The Chowk also has the magnificent nine storey Basantpur Tower, with
intricately carved doorways, windows and struts. The golden image of Maha-
Vishnu in the open veranda on the eastern wall of the Nasal Chowk will leave
you spell boumd.
Panch Mukhi Hanuman Temple
Next we reach the Panch Mukhi Hanuman temple. This venerable temple
dedicated to Hanuman is in the northeast corner of the Nasal Chowk
courtyard. It has five circular roofs.
This nine storey tower offers a great view of the palace and the city. On a
clear day, the awe inspiring Himalayas can also be glanced at from the top
of this tower. The struts on the facade of the tower have erotic carvings on
them. Apart from the Basantpur tower, there are three other towers
constructed by King Prithivi Narayan. The names being Kirtipur tower, the
Bhaktpur tower or Lakshmi Bilas and the Patan or Laitpur tower.
Dedicated to Taleju Bhawani, the goddess of the royal Malla family, Mul
Chowk courtyard was dedicated to religious activities. There is a small
Taleju Temple with a golden torana in the south side of the courtyard. The
deity of Taleju is moved to this temple during the Dasain festival. There
are images of the river goddesses Ganga and Yamanu on either side of the
Next we reach the Mohan Chowk . This site is only for seeing from a
distance. The residential courtyard of the Malla Kings was built in 1649. It
is a protected site and cannot be therefore entered.
The golden waterspout called Sun Dhara is in the center of the courtyard.
It is the place where the Malla Kings would bathe each morning.
This museum is a must visit for lovers of history. Tribhuvan Museum lies on
the west side of Nassal Chowk. It contains an exhibit of items of the past
Kings of Nepal. It has excellent stone carvings, several spectacular
thrones, jewel-studded ornaments used for coronations, weapons, furniture,
wooden temple carvings, and a coin collection.
There is a recreation of the king's bedroom and study, which contains the
king's personal belongings. This part of the palace, next to Durbar Square,
was built by the Ranas in the mid to late 19th century. This site is only
for seeing from a distance. It exhibits the thrones and other valuables of
We have finally completed our shot and sweet visit to Hanuman Dhoka.
Good to know
There is a 17th century stone inscription in the Hanuman Dhoka that is set
on the wall of the palace with writings in 15 languages. It is believed that
if anybody deciphers this entire inscription, the milk would flow from the
spout, which lies just below the inscripted stone wall. Some people say that
the inscription contains coded directions to a treasure King Pratap Malla
has buried beneath Mohan Chowk of Durbar Square.
Hanuman Dhoka means 'Gate of Hanuman', the monkey god of Ramayana fame.
Today, dozens of monkeys call this square their home. Hanuman performed
herculean tasks on behalf of the other gods. The Malla dynasty's kings used
Hanuman's image on their battle flags, and in 1672 placed his statue outside
the Royal Palace to ward off evil spirits and diseases. The Hanuman Dhoka,
therefore, has great historical and religious importance.