Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – Nepal chapter on Kathmandu has to say about Kathmandu’s Durbar Square:
“Kathmandu’s Durbar Square was where the city’s kings were once crowned and legitimised, and from where they ruled (durbar means ‘palace’). As such, the square remains the traditional heart of the old town and Kathmandu’s most spectacular legacy of traditional architecture, even though the king no longer lives in the Hanuman Dhoka – the palace was moved north about a century ago.
It’s easy to spend hours wandering around the square and watching the world go by from the terraced platforms of the towering Maju Deval; it’s a wonderful way to get a feel for the city. Although most of the square dates from the 17th and 18th centuries (many of the original buildings are much older), a great deal of damage was caused by the great earthquake of 1934 and many were rebuilt, not always in their original form. The entire square was designated a Unesco World Heritage site in 1979.
The Durbar Square area is actually made up of three loosely linked squares. To the south is the open Basantapur Sq area, a former royal elephant stables that now houses souvenir stalls and off which runs Freak St. The main Durbar Sq area, with its popular watch-the-world-go-by temples, is to the west. Running northeast is a second part of Durbar Sq, which contains the entrance to the Hanuman Dhoka and an assortment of temples. From this open area Makhan Tole, at one time the main road in Kathmandu and still the most interesting street to walk down, continues northeast.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD