Once used to warn the city of impending danger, the Great Drums still stand in a restored pavilion to the north of Hanuman Dhoka. Traditionally, a goat and a buffalo must be sacrificed to the drums twice a year. Just behind is the closed-off Kot Sq, where Jung Bahadur Rana perpetrated the famous 1846 massacre that led to a hundred years of Rana rule. Kot means ‘armoury’ or ‘fort’.
During the Dasain festival each year, blood again flows in Kot Sq as hundreds of buffaloes and goats are sacrificed. Young soldiers are supposed to lop off each head with a single blow.