A Center of Living History
The Hanuman Dhoka Palace also called Kathmandu Durbar Square, situated in the historical core of Kathmandu, was the residence and administrative center of kings from ancient times. The present structures not only symbolize the height of perfection reached by medieval arts and architecture, but also represent the peak of power, prosperity, and piety of the golden period of Nepal’s history, the Malla era (12th to 18th century). The Palace became popular as the Hanuman Dhoka Royal Palace after illustrious king Pratap Malla installed a statue of Hanuman, in the forms of Rudra-avatar Shiva, to destroy the enemy and to protect the palace, in the main entrance in 1672 CE. King Mahendra Malla and King Prithvi Narayan Shah deserve special credit for adding various attractive structures to the complex.
Tribhuvan Memorial Gallery
Housed in a neo-classical style building towards the west of Nasal Chowk, the Tribhuvan Memorial Gallery is reached after climbing an ornate spiral wooden staircase over which royalties
used to ride their horses when attending functions on the second floor. It is thought there is only one other staircase in Asia that supports horseback riding. The Tribhuvan Memorial Gallery boasts of a precious collection of photos highlighting the political changes of 1950 CE that restored power back to the Shah kings, as well as items used by King Tribhuvan, such as his wedding dress and personal belongings
Until the abolition of monarchy in Nepal in 2008 CE., one of the thrones exhibited here. Thrones were used during the crown prince’s ascension to kinghood upon the death of the monarch, and the other one during the coronation ceremony.
Special attractions of Weapons Gallery include personal weapons used by King Prithvi Narayan Shah during the unification campaign of Nepal, the cannon confiscated during the Nepal-Tibet war and weapons used by various army generals. The gallery also displays guns built by
Nepal’s pioneer scientist Gehendra Shumsher.
One of the best examples of typical Nepali Palace architecture, King Prithvi Narayan Shah had the magnificent Nine-storied Palace built, upon the conquest of Kathmandu valley
Mahendra Memorial Gallery
The second floor of the building adjacent to Lohan Chowk houses an exhibit of items used by King Mahendra, such as the dresses he wore during his naming and rice-feeding ceremonies military costumes, replace his office, gifts bestowed upon him by foreign dignitaries and photographs of development models.
Birendra Memorial Gallery
Personal items used by King Birendra, such as the dresses he wore during his wedding and coronation, military attire, certificates, and medals are displayed in the Birendra Memorial Gallery
located on the floor below the Mahendra Memorial Gallery. Other exhibits include gifts received by King Birendra, currency notes and postage stamps issued during his reign and photos.
Named after a big stone slab in the middle of the courtyard, the Lohan Chowk is surrounded by four towering structures-Bilas Temple, Basantapur Kailash (Nine Storied Palace), Bangla and Laxmi Bilas Temple – all displaying intricate woodwork that exemplify Nepali workmanship. King Prithvi Narayan Shah built the Nine Storied Palace and the Bilas Temple, while the remaining two structures were built by his son King Pratap Singh Shah.
The Shah Throne, in which ceremonies for the Shah kings’ ascension to sovereignty and coronation were held, is one of the major attractions of the museum. This throne also seated the royal couple during the Indra Jatra festival in the Gaddi Baithak.
The Royal Palanquin was used during the wedding of King Birendra with Queen Aishwarya, as well as during the wedding of their daughter Princess Shruti.
The dead body of King Tribhuvan (who died in Zurich while undergoing treatment) was carried in the Royal Stretcher from the airport to Tundikhel. Similarly, this stretcher was also used to carry the dead body of Queen Aishwarya to the cremation site in Pashupati Aryaghat.
Statue of Maha Vishnu
The great earthquake of 1934 destroyed the three-storied temple of Maha Vishnu located in the north-western part of Kathmandu durbar square Palace complex. For security reasons, this gold-gilded bronze statue, the main image of the temple, is now exhibited in the corridor of the Nasal Chowk.
The Royal Seat
The ornate wooden Royal Seat – with a square cotton seat and two cushions on both sides and around white cushion for back support – is closely associated with the Newar culture of Kathmandu valley. Even today, a section of the Newar community offers betel nuts to this royal seat as a symbol of invitation to the king’s twelve-yearly ritual of exchanging swords with Pachali Bhairav. Also, the Newar Buddhist community still offers their respect to this royal seat by playing traditional music and making an offering of betel nuts during their Bare Chhuegu (initiation) ritual.
The Statue of Narsingha
The statue of Narasingha, fourth of the ten incarnations of Hindu god Vishnu, was installed by King Pratap Malla in 1673 CE, according to an inscription on the pedestal of this icon.
Nasal Chowk, the biggest courtyard in the Kathmandu Durbar Square, derives its name from the small shrine of Natyeshwor (also known as Nasa Dyo), the Hindu deity of music and dance. Not only were religious dances performed in this courtyard during the Malla era, meetings between kings and the people also took place here during happy and sad times. This courtyard has gained greater significance in Nepalese history when kings were crowned on a raised platform in the middle of this courtyard during the Shah era.
Built by King Pratap Malla in 1649 CE, Mohankali Chowk, the main residential quadrangle Mohankali Chowk of successive Malla kings is a treasure trove of medieval art and architecture. This courtyard is home to an exquisite display of art form at its best – in wood, stone, and metal of art. Important meetings and signing of treaties with kings of other countries also took place here,
The Sundari Chowk courtyard boasts the finest of artworks in the entire Hanuman Dhoka Palace complex/ Kathmandu Dhoka Durbar Square, housing the icon of Kaliya Daman (suppression of demon Kaliya by Lord Krishna) skillfully carved out from a single piece of rock. Equally important is the gilded metal waterspout situated in front of Kaliya Daman that serves as a glorifying example of Nepali artistic excellence. This is the main Courtyards of the Malla Royal Residence.
How to get to Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square
It is just 10 min walking distance from Ratna Park and is in the center of Kathmandu. You can get there by walking from Ratna park through ‘ New Road ‘ or through ‘ Assan ‘. This map may guide you to get to the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square.