Golden Temple, Patan

Golden Temple

Attraction in Patan

Also known as the Hiranya Varna or Suwarna Mahavihara, this unique Buddhist monastery is just north of Durbar Sq. Legends relate that the monastery was founded in the 12th century, although the earliest record of its existence is 1409. The doorway, flanked by gaudy painted guardian lions, gives no hint of the magnificent structure within. The inner courtyard has a railed walkway around three sides and the entry is flanked by two stone elephants. Shoes and other leather articles must be removed if you leave the walkway and enter the inner courtyard. Look for the sacred tortoises pottering around in the courtyard - they are temple guardians. The main priest of the temple is a young boy under the age of twelve, who serves for 30 days before handing the job over to another boy. The large rectangular building has three roofs and a copper-gilded façade. Inside the main shrine is a beautiful statue of Sakyamuni. In the far right of the courtyard is a statue of Vajrasattva wearing an impressive silver-and-gold cape. In the centre of the courtyard is a small, richly decorated temple with a golden roof that has an extremely ornate gajur. Inside in the oldest part of the temple is a 'self-arisen' chaitya. The four corners of the courtyard have statues of four Lokeshvaras and four monkeys, which hold out jackfruits as an offering. On the south side is Tara. A stairway leads up to a upper-floor chapel lined with Tibetan-style frescoes. Finally, as you leave the temple, look up to see a Kalachakra mandala carved into the ceiling.