Crammed with amazing architecture, a colorful history, and some great local eateries, Mangal Bazaar is full of surprises.
Mangal Bazaar, in close proximity to Patan Durbar Square, is not an overly tourist oriented place. This vibrant local market offers everything from traditional medicine, handicrafts, and jewelry to clothing, food, and more. Ancient buildings surround the market and spread into the back alleys—temples and houses that boast of architecture from the Malla period of Nepal. Though the durbar square, the most popular attraction in the area, is famous for its beautiful Hindu temples, you will find monuments of equal measure in the heart of Patan’s Buddhist community. Walking through the Mangal Bazaar area is also the perfect opportunity to experience Nepali culture, and a great place to simply sit down among the temples and enjoy the sights and sounds of an ancient bazaar. Here are a few of Mangal Bazaar’s less obvious attractions to make sure you have the best experience possible.
Pure Land Thanka Centre
Pure Land Thanka Centre is one of the many stores displaying this style of art in the Mangal Bazar area. Intricate and vivid, thanka art is an art form that takes years to master. A piece can take up to two months to complete, and they usually depict mandalas, Buddha, gods and goddesses, and other subjects of traditional mythology. Having originated in Tibet and Nepal, thanka art has a very distinct look specific to the area of origin. This new corner in the world of art is definitely worth discovering.
Mitho Dahi is a local establishment, a sweet shop that has been situated across from the durbar square for over ten years. Barfi, ladoo, ras malai, and an assortment of other sweets are on offer here. They are all made on-site, by hand, and are delicious. Also, they make lassi, a sweet drink with dahi (yogurt) that has a deliciously distinctive taste, and is especially popular in the summer. Enjoy the many snacks at Mitho Dahiand discover new tastes, while enjoying Patan Durbar Square.
Cafe du Temple
Overlooking the square, Cafe du Temple is a perfect lunch spot if you’re looking to enjoy a magnificent view. Built to mirror traditional Newari architecture, and with its offer of a rooftop view across Patan Durbar Square, the cafe is almost a tourist attraction in itself. Experience a variety of dishes, from your traditional curries and Newari cuisine to refreshing salads and incredible chowmein. The drinks are just as fulfilling, with fresh lassi and more. An ideal place to relax and enjoy the view,along with some nice company.
Almost hidden in the streets radiating out of the durbar square, Hiranyvarna Mahavihar shines golden, thus its popular name, Golden Temple. Its regal beauty is guarded by ancient stone doors in which the carvings are works of art in themselves. Built by the locals of the area, the Golden Temple is a community temple, one of many such temples in Patan, though it is more popular than most. The ancient temple was built by the ancestors of those that still live in the area, and carries a rich history that is almost tangible today. There are many temples and stupas just like it sprawled across the old Patan area, cared for by the locals whose ancestors built them. Though lesser known, and perhaps smaller, these monuments carry great significance and beauty,which makes wandering the streets of Patan a journey of discovery.
Patan Fair Trade Centre
Perfect for souvenir shopping, the Patan Fair Trade Centre offers all natural, local products. These include notebooks, shawls, rings, and other trinkets, all made by hand. Crafted in Nepal, some of the products come with information about their origins, such as notebooks made of lokta paper, which is an artisan paper native to Nepal, and has a very distinctive look. The Fair Trade Centre is a great place to learn about such curiosities, and the ideal place to obtain a memorable souvenir.
There are many small local shops in Mangal Bazar, some of which do not have names. One of these happens to be a bright little bead shop tucked behind Krishna Mandir. Red and yellow burn like fire amid the cooler greens in a vivid display of color in the strings of beads. The shop has been standing for about fifty years as a family business, and supplies their products for use as decoration and to make jewelry. Used to make traditional malas, the beads are the main attraction, however, the shop also sells chura and traditional tassels that women wear braided into their hair when in traditional attire. The sight is undeniably eye-catching, and not to be missed.