All this has meant that despite the march of modernity and the non-traditional reconstruction after many of its monuments were brought down by the 2015 earthquake, Panauti still retains much of its quaint and bucolic charm. The town has a sacred location at the confluence of the Rosi Khola and the Punyamati, as well as a third mythological river, Lilawati. Panauti is also the seat of the famous Indreswar Temple – one of Nepal’s oldest standing pagoda shrines, built in 1294 to honour Lord Shiva. The temple grounds now house a museum as well.
Panauti also has intangible heritage: it is still a largely cohesive town, which has preserved its Newa culture that has similarities, but also differences, to Kathmandu Valley traditions. Piles of newly harvested paddy are still spread out to dry in golden circles along the brick-paved square of the old palace. Next month, on full moon day, the town will mark the three-day chariot festival and the exciting mass-crossing of the Punyamati by devotees.