Did you know that Lalitpur is called Yala:(यल:) in its native language?
Lalitpur is a city of gallis, food, and culture - as you would expect from one of the native areas of Newari people. And we all know that Newari is all about festivals and cultures. Good thing is that because it is the next-door neighbor of the capital, Kathmandu, all of these are widely exposed to just about everyone. If you want to access Lalitpur, all you need to do is take a 20 min ride from Tribhuvan International airport or take 30 minutes to walk towards the Southern direction of Kathmandu.
With such an easy way to access this place, it is rather easy to reach. But in order for anyone to visit a place, there need to be some attractions. So are things to do in Lalitpur that will make your visit worthwhile? Definitely yes. As we mentioned, it is one of the native lands of the Newari people- the people of festivals. If you find nothing to do in such a place, then you are at the wrong location. Now let's talk about the things you can do in Lalitpur.
1) Enjoy the Ambiance at Patan Durbar Square center
Patan Durbar Square is undoubtedly one of the most popular places in Lalitpur. It is one of the world heritage sites after all. And one of the best things you can do in Lalitpur is to sit and take in the ambiance at Patan Durbar square. The area is paved with bricks, filled with temples, tea stalls and you are guaranteed to encounter interesting people. Want to know about a person who lost his everything to fire, you will him here. Or how about a singer who made it big and is now living a satisfying life? You will find him here as well. How about a model who has just made it big and is now on way to her success? She will be hanging around Patan Durbar square with her friends blending in with the rest of the crowd.
As the evening gets, the ambiance of this palace gets upgraded as street lights turn on and people crowd the tea stalls. And let's not forget the weekly rally by Krishna worshippers every Friday evening. If you are new to Lalitpur, enjoying the Ambience of Patan Durbar Square is something you must not miss out on. best of all, it's free.
2) Visit Patan museum
After you take in the ambiance of Patan Durbar Square, why not visit the museum right next to it? After all, it would be a huge waste if you don't make use of this opportunity. And besides, the entrance fee is cheap as well. It just costs around Npr 20 for Indians and Npr 400 for the rest of the world. If you are a Nepali student, you can get in with as little as NPR 10. This is cheaper than some of the candies out there.
Patan museum is like a book that has kept a physical record of everything that happens in this city. While you are feasting your eyes on all of these, you will be constantly walking on the "Chika a:paa (चिकं अ:पा)" a type of square smooth brick that is arguably unique to this culture.
Visiting Patan Museum is without a doubt one of those things to do in Lalitpur that you cannot skip out on.
3) Feast on Local Cuisine around Mangalbazar
Once you are done with taking in the ambiance and the museum, then you might get hungry. How about filling in that hunger with some local cuisine? There are plenty of food houses that offer delicious Newari cuisine all around Bangal Bazar. For those who are confused about what a "Mangalbazar" is, it is the name of the general area where Patan Durbar square is located.
To eat the local cuisine, just walk behind the Krishna Mandir, also located within Patan Durbar Square and you will come across one of the famous Newari food houses - Honachha. After that, why not take a 5-minute walk in the southern direction to Nandani Food Court? If you are looking for some alcohol, Bhauju ko Bhatti is just a 5-minute walk in the northwestern direction. There, you can drink the local rice beer also called Chhyang (छ्यांग) in Nepali and Thwon (थ्वों) in Newari language, along with some khen baji (खें बजी) aka anda chiura (अन्दा चिउरा).
If you are done with the local foods and want something a bit more international, you can just walk behind Mangal Bazar and get into any one of the continental cafes out there and grab some classic pizza. This is one of those things to do in Lalitpur that you just cannot skip, especially if you are a foodie.
4) Visit Art Galleries
After taking in the food, it's time to feast your eyes with art. Lalitpur is home to some of the best artists out there. It is also home to some unique art styles as well, among which Thangka is quite popular. You can find tons of these paintings in art galleries around Patan Duar Square or near Patandhoka. These unique paintings depict Lord Buddha and other Buddhist deities and are painted on cotton or silk. If you are looking for more "normal" forms of art, you can find plenty of them as well.
Besides Thangka, you can also find some awesome landscapes and portraits in these art galleries as well. The most eye-catching ones are those that depict the everyday life of Newari people in high contrasting colors. Once you can around a bit after looking at them, you will pleasantly find that virtually every piece of art in these galleries has its own style and charm, be it portraits, landscapes, or abstract. The best thing is that if you are willing to pay the right price, they can be yours. And if you are someone with a keen eye for art, visiting art galleries is one of those important ticks on your bucket list of things to do in Lalitpur.
5) Kumbeshwor Temple
As you walk along the southern road of Mangal Bazar, past the art galleries and Nandani food court, the next stop for you is Kumbeshowr Temple. Also known as Banglamukhi, it is one of the most important temples for the people of Patan. This is temple is home to two small ponds along with Bagalamukhi (बगलामुखी मन्दिर), Ulmanta Bhairava (उल्मान्त भैरव). Besides this, you can also find a small garden at the back as well.
There is old hearsay that states that the water in the two ponds of this temple comes directly from Gosaikunda. Due to this, it is believed that taking a dip in this pond during the festival of Janai Purnima is the same as taking a dip in the Gosaikunda Temple. Although no one can prove this to be true or false, it is interesting. But besides this, the people of Patan also use this temple as a central place to celebrate Bratabanda and other important rituals as well. If you are interested in the rituals, then the best time to visit this temple is on Thursday evenings. There is a weekly puja held there on Thursday. After visiting this temple, you can always take a sip of tea in the nearby tea stalls. Or just stare at the handicrafts nearby.
6) Relax at Pimbahal Pokahri
If you are tired of all the crowds and want to relax alone for a while, why not go to the famous Pimbahan Pokhari? Despite being just a 10-minute walk from both Mangal Bazar and Kumbeshowor Temple you will be able to get plenty of quiet time here. This place is just a pond surrounded by a few tea stalls and a few food houses. But this is the exact reason why this place is special. Because there is virtually nothing special about this place besides the pond with some fishes and occasional geese, it is practically empty during the day. As the evening comes, however, you might want to either walk towards Patan Dhoka as the tea stalls can get quite crowded.
But if you don't want to, you should probably stay inside the pond complex as it will remain quiet despite the crowd just a few feet away. A small Paati built in Newari Architectural style will greet you. This when coupled with the sound of flowing water from the mini hitis and fishes bobbing up creates a peaceful abience that is hard to explain with words. So in short, if you want some peace and quiet within the middle of the Patan Durbar Area, going to Pimbahal Pokhari is one of those to do in Lalitpur that you should add to your checklist.
7) Shopping Spree at Labim Mall
Done with peace and quiet and want to go on a shopping spree now? Then head to the Labim mall at Pulchowk. While it is at the outskirts of the "Patan" Area, it is still within the central part of Lalitpur. In fact, it is within 5 minutes of walking distance from the Pimbahal Pokhari we mentioned earlier. Labim Mall is the biggest Shopping Mall in Lalitpur with over three floors of the shopping area, its own cafe, and QFX cinema hall on the top. You can get everything from diamonds to diapers in this shopping complex.
So don't be afraid to spend and go on a shopping spree. If you are tired, of shopping, grab some waffles and coffee on the ground floor. Or how about some classy lunch at its rooftop restaurant? Regardless of what you want to buy or eat, Labim Mall has got your back. At the same time, if you really want to taste local tea in a classic way, Matka Cafe is nearby as well. It is a tea shop that serves local milk tea in clay classes. Definitely one of those things to do in Lalitpur that you must do.
8) Central Zoo
Some of you may be wondering "What about things to do in Lalitpur that has to do with animals?" well if you are not thinking of animals as food, then you must be seeking a zoo. Yes, there is a zoo in Lalitpur and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions as well. Within it, you will find various creatures, both rare and common, living peacefully. In fact, it is the only place to see a one-horned rhino in Lalitpur or any form of wildlife for that matter. Sure you can always see and interact with the hundreds of pigeons and street dogs all over Lalitpur and maybe even come across occasional snakes, lizards, and macaque monkeys. But besides this, if you want to see genuine wildlife like crocodiles, deers, and vultures, then Lalitpur Central Zoo is the place for you.
You can enter this zoo at the cost of NPR 750 if you are a foreigner, NPR 500 if you are a member of SAARC countries, NPR 150 for General Nepali people, and NPR 90 if you are a student or a senior citizen. For those who are wondering about the location of this place, it's at Jawlakhel which is around a 30-minute walk in the north-western direction of Mangal Bazar or 15 minutes walk in the northern direction of Labim Mall.
9) Visit Sikali
If you are done with city life and just want to relax in the countryside, Lalitpur has got you covered here as well. In this list of things to do in Lalitpur, visiting Sikali is something that you must not miss. It is one of those few places where you can get the pleasure of total solitude - as long as you don't visit it during festivals. This area is located on the outskirts of Khokana and Bhainsipati. It is nothing but an empty hill with a small temple in the middle. Besides a small patio (पाटि) nearby, and a single cafe at another that is. But because there is nothing here, this is a favorite spot for solitude seekers.
But if you want to eat and get into civilization, the local food house is just 10 about 15-minute walk. You can even reach Khokana and get a taste of local cuisine if you walk 20 minutes in the North-eastern direction. All in all, this place is heaven for those who want a break from the city while staying in the city.
As an honorary mention, we would like to introduce you to Guita Domar. It is a small hill located smack dab in the middle of Lalitpur. This is a small mound that has trees all around its edge and a grassy area at its center. Similar to Sikali, this is one of those places that is a favorite of solitude lovers. While not as isolated as Sikali, because it is surrounded by trees, it blocks the view of the city. Along with this, due to the presence of monkeys, it has somewhat of a wild ambiance to it as well.
Just be careful of the monkeys as there have been cases of attack in this place.
In the end,
Lalitpur is not a big city by any means. Despite being a moderate city, it still has quite a few interesting things to do. Here we covered 9 of the interesting things to do in Lalitpur. While the ones we mentioned here are indeed interesting, they are just a general overall view. You can do the things we mentioned here virtually every day of the year.
If you are looking for more specific things to do in Lalitpur, then you should check your timing and arrive during festivals. Or you can just stay here for a few months and you will get plenty of opportunities to participate in said activities. Hope you found this helpful. If you did, then why not check out some of our other articles below?
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