Patan Museum

Formerly the residence of the Malla kings, the section of the palace surrounding Keshav Narayan Chowk now houses one of the finest collections of religious art in Asia. Initially funded by the Austrian government, the museum is a national treasure and an invaluable introduction to the art, symbolism and architecture of the valley.

The collection is displayed in a series of brick and timber rooms, linked by steep and narrow stairways. There are informative labels on each of the hundreds of statues, carvings and votive objects, allowing you to put a name to many of the deities depicted at temples around the valley.

There are also some interesting displays on the techniques used to create these wonderful objects, including the art of repoussé and the ‘lost-wax’ method of casting. Gallery H at the back of the complex, near the cafe, houses some fascinating photos of Patan at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.

You need at least an hour, and preferably two, to do this place justice, and it’s worth taking a break at the excellent Museum Café before diving in for another round. The museum also has a shop selling reproductions of some of the works displayed inside. For a sneak preview of the museum’s highlights and the story of its renovation, go to www.asianart.com/patan-museum. Photography is not allowed.

(source: Lonely Planet)