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Lalitpur is one of the major cities of Nepal.It is one of the sub-metropolitan cities of Nepal located in the south-western part of Kathmandu valley.Lalitpur is also known as Manigal.It is best known for its rich cultural heritage, particularly its tradition of arts and crafts.It is also called as city of festival and feast, fine ancient art, making of metallic and stone carving statue.At the time of the 2001 Nepal census it had a population of 162,991 in 68,922 individual households.Lalitpur is situated on the elevated tract of land in Kathmandu Valley on the south side of the Bagmati River, which separates it from the City of Kathmandu on the northern side.It was developed on relatively thin layers of deposited clay and gravel in the central part of a dried ancient lake known as the Nagdaha.It is among the largest cities in the country, along with Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Biratnagar.The city spreads over 16 sq. kilometres and is divided into 22 Municipal wards.Lalitpur is believed to have been founded in the third century B.C. by the Kirat dynasty and later expanded by Licchavis in the sixth century.It was further expanded by the Mallas during the medieval period.There are many legends after its name.The most popular one is the legend of the God Rato Machhindranath, who was brought to the valley from Kamaru Kamachhya, located in Assam, India, by a group of three people representing three kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley.One of them was called Lalit, a farmer who carried God Rato Machhindranath to the valley all the way from Assam, India.The purpose of bringing the God Rato Machhindranath to the valley was to overcome the worst drought in the valley. There was a strong belief that the God Rato Machhindranath will make rain in the valley.It was due to Lalit's effort that the God Rato Machhindranath was settled in Lalitpur.Many believe that the name of the town is kept after his name Lalit and pur meaning township.

Lalitpur said to have been founded by King Veer Deva in 299 A.D. but, there is unanimity among scholars that Lalitpur was a well established and developed town since ancient times. Several historical records including many other legends also indicate that Lalitpur is the oldest of all the cities of Kathmandu Valley.According to a very old Kirat chronicle, Lalitpur was founded by Kirat rulers long before the Licchavi rulers came into the political scene in Kathmandu Valley. According to that chronicle, the earliest known capital of Kirat rulers was Thankot.Kathmandu, the present capital was most possibly removed from Thankot to Lalitpur after the Kirati King Yalamber came into power sometimes around second century A.D.One of the most used and typical Newar names of Lalitpur is Yala.It is said that King Yalamber or Yellung Hang named this city after himself and ever since this ancient city was known as Yala.A substantial portion of the population is engaged in various trades, notably in traditional handicrafts and small scale cottage industries and some residents work in agriculture.Lalitpur is the city in Nepal that has produced the highest number of renowned artists and finest craftsmen ever recorded in the history of Nepali art.Lalitpur has maintained a culture of craft work even in the face of rapid urbanization and many social and political upheavals.The city is less urbanized than Kathmandu, north of the Bagmati river, but is home to many workshops, stores, restaurants, hotels, schools, embassies and other important sectors of the Kathmandu Valley economy.Buddha Air has its headquarters in Jawalakhel,near Lalitpur.

How to Reach

By Air

The closest airport to Lalitpur is Tribhuvan International Airport (IATA: KTM, ICAO: VNKT) is an international airport situated in Kathmandu, Nepal is around 5 km from Lalitpur.The first jet aircraft to land at Tribhuvan was a Lufthansa Boeing 707 which touched down on the 6,600 feet (2,000 m) runway in 1967.Royal Nepal Airlines commenced Jet operations at the airport in 1972 with Boeing 727 aircraft.

By Bus

Catch a blue or green bus on Kathmandu's Ring Road (loops around Kathmandu Valley)for 15 to 20 rps.Tell the cashier/attendent that you want to go to Lalitpur.He'll let you know when you get there.It's only a 15 min walk to Lalitpur Dubar Square from Ring Road.Micro Bus from Ratnapark in Kathmandu (12 rps, 8 rps for students/volunteers with a Nepalese ID card).

Key places to visit
Durbar Square, Mahaboudha Temple, Machchhendranath temple, Hiranayavarna Makavikar, Kumbheshwar Temple, Ashok Stupa


Places to Visit

Durbar Square

is the Palace Square of Lalitpur.Approaching the square from the south end you have the palace on your right and a series of temples on your left.(Admission to the area for tourists is R200. You are trusted to pay this at a booth at the south end of Durbar Square or at another entrance to the area further to the north as there is no formal ticket control).The Palace was built on the site of a fort that stood until 1734 and served as the residence of the Malla rulers of the then Lalitpur state.It is divided up into a succession of courtyards (or “chowks”).Unfortunately only the last of these on the right (which houses the museum) is open on a regular basis, due to problems with theft of artifacts.Try peering through cracks in the doors to see what you are missing! The first palace building is Sundari Chowk which was constructed in 1647.The three-storey temple on the palace side is the Degutale temple, constructed in 1661 after an earlier one burned down.Mul Chowk was the central part of the old palace and in recent times has suffered much theft of ornamental woodwork.

Mahaboudha Temple

This is a a stone temple covered with terracotta tiles, which include 1008 Budha images.It was modelled on a larger temple in Bodhgaya, India and took one family four generations to complete.It's 5-10 minutes walking distance from Durbar Square.

Machchhendranath temple

This is a good illustration of the problems now faced with theft of artifacts.The temple is now surrounded by a strong fence and each statue has its own individual fence.Statues are missing from two stands, suggesting that the temple has already fallen victim.Machchhendranath also gives his name to an annual festival when a 25 meter tall "chariot" is paraded through Lalitpur. If you note all the wires and cables across the streets at levels much lower than 25m. you can realise what a complicated exercise this is.The parade takes place between April and June, with the chariot staying the night at different locations.The end of the parade is supposed to coincide with the onset of the monsoon rains.The wheels of the chariot are over 2m in diameter.

Hiranayavarna Makavikar

An enormous number of gold- and silver-covered decorations and some excellent bronze statues make this well worth being the only temple in Lalitpur you have to pay to enter. Construction goes back to the early 1400s, although some pieces pre-date construction. Admission Rs 50.

Kumbheshwar Temple

One of the two five-story pagoda temples of the Valley. The sunken basin is usually empty but around August is filled for the Kumbheshwar Mela full moon day festival. At this time the temple becomes packed. Sheep roaming the temple are those that have been spared sacrifice.

Ashok Stupa

Old Lalitpur can be reached by turning left off the main road from Kathmandu after the Himalaya hotel or by continuing on the main road to Pulchowk and then turning left.Immediately after the pedestrian bridge at Pulchowk is the old Buddhist stupa of Ashok. Next to that is the building where the structure of the Machchhendranath chariot is kept when not being used.

Right Time to Visit

February - May
August - October


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