Kathmandu; Hanuman Dhoka Darbar palace: Suvarnadwar entrance with Hanuman statue on L.
Photographer: Bourne and Shepherd
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of Hanuman Dhoka, Kathmandu, Nepal, taken by Bourne and Shepherd in the 1870s, from the Bellew Collection of Architectural Views. Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal and its largest town, is situated on the Bagmati river. The town grew around the Himalayan trade route connecting India and Tibet and China, developing in the Lichchavi period (300-800 AD) of which little trace remains, but reaching its golden age in the period of the Malla dynasty between the 13th and 18th centuries. In mediaeval times the city was known as Kantipur, 'beautiful city' or 'city of light'. It derived the name 'Kathmandu' from a twelfth century wooden building at its heart called the Kasthamandap or Hall of Wood .
In the Malla period Kathmandu prospered with the taxes collected from the trade route and much of its grandest architecture dates from this time. The Malla kings appeared in the 13th century and subdued the various feuding chiefs of the Kathmandu Valley and unified it. Their kingdom was eventually divided into three separate parts ruled from the three cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur.
Competing with one another for cultural supremacy, the Malla rulers embellished their cities with palaces, temples, pagodas, sculpture and spacious quadrangles. The Darbar Square in Kathmandu is the quadrangle of the old royal palace, which is surrounded by temples and monuments. Entrance to the old royal palace is by the gateway called the Hanuman Dhoka or Hanuman Gate after the statue of the monkey-god Hanuman whose statue stands here.