Patan prepares to welcome more tourists
Tourism in Patan has begun reviving with the post-quake reconstruction gaining momentum.
The Patan Durbar Square is a major tourist spot in the Kathmandu Valley. The Patan Museum is also another tourist attraction.
A lot of tourists interested in the traditional Newari culture and lifestyle, and age-old historical and cultural monuments visit Patan.
Over the last two years, Patan has witnessed a significant growth in tourist arrivals. The heritage site was badly damaged in the 2015 earthquakes.
A total of 244,213 tourists, including domestic travellers, visited the Patan Durbar Square in the fiscal year 2018/19, said Sandeep Khanal, chief at monument conservation and palace maintenance section of the Patan Durbar Square.
The number of tourists visiting Patan had dropped to 46,583 in the fiscal year 2015/16. It was because of the damage caused by the earthquake.
The inflow of domestic tourists into Patan has been on the rise in recent times. Altogether 62,009 domestic tourists and 31,419 Nepali students visited the Durbar Square during the last fiscal year.
Patan welcomed 176,906 tourists in the fiscal year 2016/17 while the number of travellers visiting the tourist spot stood at 232,594 in the fiscal year 2017/18.
Tourism has been an important source of income for the Durbar Square. During the last fiscal year, it earned Rs. 142.81 million from tourist entrance fee. Of the total income, around Rs. 132.49 million was collected from foreign tourists alone.
The Patan Museum Development Committee charges Rs. 250 from each of the tourists coming from the countries belonging to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Each of Chinese tourists has also to pay the same amount as an entrance fee while third-country tourists need to pay Rs. 1,000.
The museum charges Rs. 30 from Nepali visitors and Rs. 15 from Nepali students.
The pace of reconstruction of the monuments at Patan has been faster than other heritage sites like the Bhaktapur Durbar Square and the Kathmandu Durbar Square.
“This could be one of the reasons for the rapid revival of tourism at Patan,” said Khanal.
“Nepal has continued to receive more tourists after the dissemination of information through different media that the country is safe for visit following the mega earthquake. Many tourists come here to know about the situation after the earthquake,” he said.
The Krishan Temple, Bhimsen Temple, Vishwanath Temple, Narayan Temple and Taleju Bhawani Temple, among others, are the major tourist attractions at Patan.
The Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Keshav Narayan Chowk are the three main courtyards. There are beautiful temples and historical places with the amazing art and architectures. They are famous for their exquisite carvings and stunning display of ancient Newari architecture.
Patan is famous for its rich cultural heritage along with the traditional arts and crafts. The city hosts numerous festivals and feasts. It is also home to fine ancient art and stone carvings.
The stunning golden gate and golden windows of the old palaces, famous Krishna Temple with 21 golden pinnacles and many stone carvings Sundari Chowk are the major tourist draw.
According to him, renovation of the monuments inside the Patan Durbar Square has been going on smoothly, thanks to good coordination among the National Reconstruction Authority, the Department of Archaeology, Patan Museum Development Committee, local communities and organisations.
Almost 85 per cent renovation of the damaged monuments has been completed so far.
“The renovation process has been obstructed lately as the locals sought to renovate the remaining monuments through the local community rather than the tender process.
The reconstruction of Degu Taleju Temple and Narsingh Temple has yet to begin due to locals’ obstruction.
The construction of few monuments like Vaidega Temple has reached its final stage. The Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust (KVPT) has been involved in the reconstruction drive.
At Patan alone, altogether 30 temples were damaged by the earthquake. Out of them, eight monuments were destroyed, five suffered a minor loss and 16 were practically broken.
Nine monuments- Manakamana Temple, Rudrayani Temple, Ganesh Temple located at Pilanche, Katub Bhairav Sattal, Garudhanarayan Temple at Patukotol, the western part of Keshabnarayan Chowk and Prathampur Vihara have already been renovated.
KVPT is carrying out the renovation of many monuments at this heritage site. The reconstruction of Charnarayan Temple and Harishankar Temple carried by KVPT is moving ahead in full swing.
Reconstruction of all the monuments at the Patan Durbar Square and the Patan Museum is expected to be completed within the next two years.
Due to lack of skilled manpower and wood required for the reconstruction of temples and other monuments, the reconstruction campaign could not be intensified in the initial year. “But the reconstruction drive has moved ahead as all the authorities concerned accorded top priority,” he said.
He conceded the fact that there has been a tendency among constrictors to delay the reconstruction work.
Keeping the Visit Nepal Year 2020 in view, the Patan Durbar Square is in the process of developing the Sattal located in the Bhandarkhal Garden in a traditional style to attract tourists and provide space to organise programmes as per their interest.
Khanal said that they were developing a master plan to attract more tourists to the museum. A draft of the plan has already been sent to the Department of Archaeology for its approval.
Under the plan, we have proposed to manage sound and light systems at Patan. This will support to open the museum by 8:00pm. At present, the museum opens till 7:00pm daily.
In coordination with the Lalitpur Metropolitan City, guided tours are going to be managed for sharing the factual information about the historical place with tourists. This service will be free of cost.
The northern part of Keshabnarayan Chowk has been under renovation. The museum is not in operation in a full-fledged manner at present because of this.
“We will coordinate with the Lalitpur Metropolitan City for the promotion of monuments located at Patan during the upcoming Visit Nepal Year 2020,” he said.
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