Patan (pätˈən) [key] or Lalitpur ləlĭtˈpŏr, city (1991 pop. 115,865), central Nepal, in the Katmandu valley, c.4,000 ft (1,220 m) above sea level. Agriculture and grazing are important in the surrounding area. The city is the center of the Banra sect of goldsmiths and silversmiths. Founded in the 7th cent., Patan is the oldest of Nepal's chief cities. It was the capital of a Nepali kingdom from the 17th cent. until captured and plundered by the Gurkhas under Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1768. Its decline continued with the rise in importance of Katmandu. According to legend, the Indian Maurya emperor Asoka visited the area c.250 B.C. and built the four stupas that still stand on the four sides of Patan.
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