Patan is also known as Lalitpur or the "city of fine arts" and is the oldest city in the valley. This Buddhist City is said to have been founded by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. Patan is the cradle of arts and architecture of the valley, a great center both of the Newari Buddhist
religion and of traditional arts & crafts with 136 bahals or courtyards and 55 major temples.
Patan Durbar Square complex, situated in the center of Patan city, also known as Lalitpur, houses the residence of the former Patan royal family. Patan Square and its surroundings is good specimen of ancient Newari architecture. There are three main courtyards in the palace: Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk and Keshab Narayan Chowk. Mul Chowk, the oldest one, is at the centre of Patan square. Several multi-sized and multi-styled temples occupy the western part of the complex. Main among these is Krishna Temple, Bhimsen Temple and the Golden Temple of Hiranya Varna. Patan is enclosed within 4 Buddhist stupas set on the four-corners of the outer boundaries of this ancient city. A tour of Patan would also include a visit to the Tibetan refugee village to witness the hand weaving of Tibetan carpets using age-old methods of dyeing and finishing. Three or four persons at each loom weaving traditional designs, chatting & singing can also be seen here.