H.H. Maharaja Deb Sham Sheer's State Visit to Pattan 4305219
Photographer: Herzog and Higgins
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph from an album of 30 prints credited to Herzog and Higgins, taken in ca. 1901 and part of the Curzon Collection. View of a crowded street in Patan, Nepal, with an escort in the foreground and the royal party beyond riding on their ceremonial elephants. The ancient town of Patan with its strong links with Buddhism is now largely absorbed into greater Kathmandu. It is still a cultural centre and source of thriving arts and crafts in Nepal. One of the earliest towns of Nepal, legend claims that Patan was founded by the great Buddhist emperor Ashoka of India in the 3rd century BC. Inscriptions reveal that it was a major city of the Lichchavi dynasty (300-800 AD). Most of its monuments date from the Malla dynasty (1200-1769 AD). In the 15th century it became one of the three Malla city-states of the Kathmandu Valley, the other two being Bhaktapur and Kathmandu, and was endowed with spectacular architecture, particularly around its central Durbar Square. In the middle of the 19th century, after Jung Bahadur took control of power in Nepal and assumed the title of Rana, the Prime Minister's post became hereditary and successive Ranas ruled Nepal, with the kings being nominal figureheads. The Rana ruler Dev Shamsher had a very brief reign of three months in 1901. He was forced to resign by a coalition of his brothers opposed to his radical policies, and retired to India.