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Situated in the vibrant centre of Kathmandu, the Narayanhiti Palace Museum proudly represents Nepal’s illustrious history and royal traditions. This grand tower, which once served as the home of Nepal’s Shah Kings, has been repurposed into a museum. It now provides a rare and captivating insight into the lives and era of the Nepalese royal family.
The Historical Significance
The Narayanhiti Palace, established by King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev in 1963, was the royal residence until 2008. This year, Nepal transitioned to the Federal Democratic Republic, and the last King, Gyanendra, left the palace. Since then, the palace has been opened to the public as a museum, making its fascinating history accessible to all.
Inside the Palace
The palace is divided into three unique sections. They are the Private Wing, The Guest Wing, and The State Wing, each narrating a different aspect of royal life. With 52 rooms, each bearing the name of a different Nepalese district, the palace is a treasure trove of valuable artefacts and items. Key highlights among these rooms include:
- Kaski Sadan (Reception Hall): Decorated with tiger skin, a sequence of King’s portraits, and sculptures of deities.
- Sindhuli (Makeup Room for the Queen)
- Jhapa (Guest Waiting Room)
- Ilam (Meeting Room for Special Guests)
- Gorkha Baithak (Throne Room): Features pagoda-style architecture and a grand chandelier.
A poignant part of the palace is the room where the late King was assassinated, left unchanged with bullet scars and bloodstains, a stark reminder of Nepal’s turbulent history.
Visiting Hours and Tickets
The museum welcomes visitors from Thursday to Monday, operating between 10:30 AM and 3:30 PM and Tuesdays from 10:30 AM to 2:00 PM. It remains closed on Wednesdays and all public holidays.
Photography inside the museum is strictly prohibited, preserving the sanctity of this historical site. However, visitors can capture the beauty of the palace’s exterior from the garden and parking area.
Why Include It in Your Kathmandu Tour
Visiting the Narayanhiti Palace Museum provides an immersive experience of Nepal’s royal history. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in understanding this beautiful country’s cultural and historical context.
The museum’s crown jewel is a crown – the royal crown of Nepal, studded with diamonds, pearls, and precious gems. Alongside, visitors can view royal attire, swords, and ornaments, offering a tangible connection to Nepal’s regal past.
The Narayanhiti Palace Museum is not just a museum; it’s a journey through time, offering a window into a pivotal era in Nepal’s history. Whether you’re a history buff, a cultural enthusiast, or a curious traveller, the museum promises an enriching and enlightening experience.