Untitled Document
Featured Articles:
Kali (The Benevolent Goddess)
Tourism in Nepal
Toerisme in Nepal
(In Dutch)
Book Reviews:
The Symbolism of the Stupa
The Eternal Kumari of Kathmandu Valley
Nepalese Architecture
The Himalayan Art
The learned author has missed many aspects of Nepalese culture. The so called Virupakshya is described by him as a nobel man. If the author had studied more carefully he would not have missed the third eye indicating that the figure is one of the manifestations of Shiva and not a nobel man.
Tourism in Nepal
Nepal is a tourist's paradise with an infinite variety of interesting things to see and do. Nepal has many things to offer the visitor the flourishing of art and architecture a demonstrated by the temples of Kathmandu Valley, the natural beauties of the soaring peaks of Himalayas including Mountain Everest and others.
It is almost difficult to assert when human being started building house to live in. however, it believed that even in the stone Age human lived in caves or under the trees to avoid wind, rain and shower. Later during the time of Neanderthals, at around 100000 to 35000 years age they started building shelters with the help of stone tools bones and skins of the animal, as proved by archeological findings.
As human beings cranial capacity advanced they found many ways to protect themselves against carnivorous and climate it must be during this time they learnt to build housed by seeing the nest of swallows and other different birds. They might have been inspired by the nature.
Scholar Percy Brown opines that "the Vedic Culture of India provides the materials for a study of the first effort at building construction, when man's efforts were made in response to a need and before any ideas of architecture effect were conceived. This culture, which produced the elementary type of forest dwelling referred to above, appeared probably towards the end of the second-Aryan migration from the north-west, and which in the course of time laid the foundations of the Vedic Age1." He also mentioned that huts were of the beehive pattern made of a circular wall of bamboo's held together with bands of withers and converted either with domicile roof of leaves or thatched with grass.
Vastu Shilpa Shaastra, the ancient mystic science and art of designing and constructing buildings finds it's origin in Sthapatya Vedaas which in turn is a part of Yaujur-Veda, one of thers four Vedas. Vedas are not new to the other parts of the world and there have been people of all levels who have appreciated the depth, inspirations and insight of Vedic thoughts for many years2 .
Under Sir John Marshall's direction the site of Indus valley were systematically excavated from 1924 until his retirement in 1931 . Sir John Marshall, the excavator, observes, the Indus Valley finds have enabled us, at to take "back our knowledge of Indian civilization, some 3000 years earlier. In the third millennium before Christ and even before that, the people of the Punjab and Sind were living in well-built cities and in possession of relatively mature culture with a high standard of art and craftsmanship, and a developed system of pictographic writing.4 "
The Rig Veda, the oldest scripture of the Aryans, does, no doubt, occasionally refer to some non-Aryan people living in fortified cities in those days with whom the Aryans had to wage long and bitter wars before they could take possession of the area. The discovery of Mohenjodaro in Sind and Harappa in the Punjab now help us to clarify some of the little-understood passages of the Rig Veda5.

A Percy Brown, a great scholar opines that the development of present structure of temples came form "Steeple" of a Toda "Church" Ootacamund, South India which also come form "Suggested Construction of Early Sikhara as Chanduwa (a canopy) hung over an alter during the performance of a ceremony derived from the Vedic time6 .


Deva Shipla (religious arty dealing with all aspects of temple and religious activities including idol, Yagna and Yagna Kunda, etc. Building a temple or Develaya is an act of pious conviction. The temple is a structure based on symmetry of design and correlated dimensions. There are some basic elements in a temple like the Sanctum or Garbhagriha where the presiding deity is enshrined. The praddakshina path is for worshippers to circumambulate in divine meditation. Vimaana also known as Shikara or Gopuram is the tower over the Garbhagriha and is symbolic of supreme majesty and universal sovereignty of the presiding deity. The Sanctum opens into a rectangular chamber called Antarala. The ardha mandapa or porch is the entrance to the mandapa, the pillared hall. According to Agamas there are three types of temple architecture called Nagara, Vesara, and Dravida style. According to Hindu tradition, the temple is like a human body which is conceived as a walking temple of God with soul in the center. The top of the temple is head, the garbharaha is the neck, the front mandapa is the stomach, the prakaram walls are the legs, the gopura is the feet and Lord is the Jiva in the body. Thus every part of the temple is conceived as the body of the Lord and should be considered as sacred7 .
Manava Shilpa (secular art) - dealing with houses, other residential buildings, etc. Buildings should not be designed only for the purpose of eating, sleeping, working, entertainment, etc., but also for other human activities considering one's life in a much wider perspective and it's totality. Architects should know all the ways in which the body expresses itself and the life styles of the concerned persons for an appropriate solution. Besides technical studies, architect should be proficient in the knowledge of religion and philosophy; science and technology; customs and traditions; music, dance and drama; and other arts and sports8 .
The Vedic literature mention of the palace of Varun with thousand strong pillars. The epic like Ramayan and Mahabharata do mention wonderful palaces that are enough to Puzzle people. The purans describe in detail so many different palaces with various shapes, design and elevation. Even there are stories about the reunity system of the places of Ravan. Hastinapur Palace, Dwarika Palace and the Wax Buildings are described in Mahabharata. Ramayana tells us about the seven or eight storied building, Mahabhaarata tells us about Mayasabha built by Maya and Indraprastha by Viswakarma, the celestial Architect who has also built Dwarka at the behest of Lord Krishna, and all those creations were unimaginable dreamlands of ancient India. Some of the ancient texts on the subject are Kashyapa Shilpa Shaasdtra, Brihat Samhita, Viswakarma Vaastu Shaastra, Samaraangana Suutradhaara, Vishnudharmoothara Puranna, Aparaajitha Priccha, Jaya Praccha, Pramaana Manjari, Vaastu Shaastra, Maya Vaastu, Bhrigu Samhita, etc., and some of the great sages and others who enriched the ancient knowledge on Vaastu Shilpa are Bhrigu, Brihaspathi, Shukra, Kashyapa, Vasistha, Atri, Viswakarma, Varahamihira, Bhoja and others. But it is only the Indo Moghul Architecture that is presently much known outside country9 .

Sages and saints who wrote down the texts on the subject had kept in mind the influence of sun, the would of this universe the Moon, the effect other plantes and their light and heat on the earth and it's living beings, earth's atmosphere, wind, it's directions, earth and it's living beings, earth's atmosphere, wind, it's directions, earth's magnetic field, gravitational force and various other factors. Astronomy is the foundation of Astrology (Jyothisha) and they together with Calendar (Panchanga_Almanac) paly an important role in different aspects of Vaastu Shilpa Shaastra, particularly in deciding the right time and day to commence the construction work10.

Gautam Buddha while lying at the deathbed was asked by his disciple (Ananda) to instruct him what to do after his death. In response to that he instructed Ananda to cremate him and raise a Stupa on the site. Buddha, further said, "The four periods personnel are worth having a Chaitya for them. You are raising stupa in memory of the royalties, saints, arhatas, ascetics, aristocrats likewise you make a stupa for me." As per the instruction of Buddha his body was cremated. When the cremation was over the king of Astha Maha Jana Pada (the kings of eitht great cities) namely 1) Madadh 2) Vaisali 3) Kapilbastu 4) Allakappa 5) Koiyanagram 6) Vathadipa 7) Pava 8) Kusinagar came there and divided the relic in equal share and they eracted the Stupas with relic kept in a golden casket. A Brahman (priest) named Drona has participated in the cremation and erected a stupa keeping Tumbo (A large dried gourd) inside it. The Maurayas of Pipalivana also erected stupa after collecting charcoal and ashes from cremation ground and observe the events11 .

In 3rd century B.C. when emperor Ashok, a devout Buddehist, propagated this faith, his efforts made Buddhism flourish. The literature little after him describe that he planned too consetruct 84 thousand stupas.

In buddhist Literarture there r setories of the palaces of king Suddhodhana; With the help of building materials that are found while excavating archaeological site, archeologists think then buildings were made of woods. Available, moat, watching towers help to reconstruct the condition of the them places. Still today people made nest like housed using bamboo's in the Terain region. In architecture people use always locally available materials. Nepalese archeologist Basant Bidari mentions "there are many literary and sculptural references that Lord Buddha was born, enlightened and passed away under the tree. There are more than sixty-one names of the forests mentioned in various Buddhist literatures. These names are mostly found in Tripitakas, Attakathas, Jatakas and geography of the Buddha peirod. 12"

Magesthenes the Greek ambassador wrote about the then India in a book from known as the Indika, the book is lost but many reference quoted by others we found a vivid description about the palace of king Chandra Gupta. He mentions the palace of Chandragupta Maurya, though very large and luxurious, was build of carved and grilled wood, and the earliest stone buildings to have survived were evidently modeled on wooden originals13 .
The Kautilya's Arthashastra mentions that the capital city of Mauryan Empire was Pataliputra. There were sixty-four main gates and hundreds of smaller ones. The houses were chiefly made of wood, and as there was danger of fire, elaborate precautions were taken to prevent it. The principal streets had thousands of vessels always kept filled with water. Each householder was also made to keep vessel of water ready for use in case of fire14.
Kautilya describes in his Arthashastra about the planning of town and places. It has been found from the excavation that there were large ponds and buildings during the Indus Valley civilization. Similarly in Egyptian Pyramids were raised to protect the dead bodied belonging to the Aristocrats and relating family. The then people who built large pyramids even for dead body, must have built housed for the living ones.
According to Vaasha Bansawali, Gopal came in Kathmandu via Thankot and settled here. They had certainly built palaces and buildings to live in. they must have constructed sheds for the cows they had brought. If we explore the right sites and excavates seriously, we might find ruins of the building remains and other archeological objects.

According to the Vanswali published by Daniel Wright Kirata had their palace at Gorkarna. King Patuk, 28th Kirata King shifted the Gokarna Palace to Shankhamula. Still there are large mounds at Gokarna as well as in patan even today known as Patuk Deon. If Proper excavations are carried out more and more evidences on Kirata can be found. Supporting this claim N.R. Banarjee writes mound to the south-west of Hiranaya Varna Mahavihara at Lalitpur called "Patukadon" is believed traditionally to the represent the ruins of palace of the Kirati King Patuk, though the authenticity of this remark has yet to be proved by the spade15 .

Epigraphist like Dhana Bajra Bajrachary reads the inscription found at Hanuman Dhoka, " A Places where birds and animals cry and play …… Kirat ………. Constructed by Lichchhavi Kings and has at dilapidated conditions due the negligence of the state employees. As the world Chirantan is used here, the palace must be very old16." 'Raj Bhawan Kirat17 is clearly written and deciphered. Though, damaged and with untraceable date the scholar dates it seventh century on paleographic ground. As the world 'Kiratvarshadhar' comes before the Lichchhavi in the inscription one can ask whether the Kirata had built their palace in front of Hanumandhoka or around or somewhere else? Where did the Kirats kings whose 32 generation ruled the Kathmandu live? And provided and organized good administration. The words 'Kuther, Ligwal, Mapchowk, Sulla, Khoptring-were popular during the Lichchhavi period. These are none Sanskrit names of the Lichhavi found in epigraphs. There has been a doubt for these words to be Kirat origin as they are not of Sanskrit origin but used by the Lichhavis. A study on this is the need of the time.

Kirat ruled in Nepal for nearly for 800 years. And where did they live? In (the Arthashatra of Kautilya- third century B.C.) Kautilya literature there is description of Nepalese yarn and other woollen products. Nepalese Blanket made by spinning eight parts which then used to be called radi, and ghum radi, a kind of waterproof blanket. This clearly indicates that there must have been houses or even cottages to make these blankets.

Yalamber, according to myth oral traditions and chronicles, was the first Kirat King. Therefore, the Newars still call Kathmanduties as Yen and Patan as Yala. Similarly for the people of Bhaktapur as Khope.

In eastern region of Nepal the Kirat still decorate their house and windows by painting with black color. In the past when there was adequate wood, the Kirat most have made wooden houses to liven in.

Had Ashok visited or Nepal (Kathmandu) or not? It needs a serious investigation. So far we have not found any inscription of Ashoka. We have the pillar at Lumbini, which Ashok himself had erected while visiting Nepalese Tarain. In India, an number of both small and large inscriptions of Asoka are found. There also stupa erected in the name of Ashok. The local tradition believes that Ashok visited Kathmandu with his daughter Charumati. She was married to Dev Pal, a Chhetriya king who built the city of Deo Patan. It is said that present Chahabil drives from Charumati Vihar. Scholar, on lack of proper scientific data have denied this and have forwarded many other hypothesis as Cha meaning soil or night. As Cha denotes clay in Newari and the monastery built of soil, was called Chabahala, whereas others view that it was the bahi as the traders spent one night one way to Tibet it was called Cha (Night) bahi a monastery.

The Gopal Raja Vamsavali, credits king Sapuspa for raising the temple of the Pasupati and offering golden roofing's18. It goes further on recording that king Haridatta Barma ruled Nepal for 46 years and set up four Narayans in the top of four hjills of the Kathmandu Valley in different compass19. The inscription of Bijayadev dated 320 Nepal Sambat (1200 A.D.) of Ichangu King Haridutta Burma is named as the raiser of the temple. The support to the writing of G.R.V.

The inscription of Amsuvarma located at Patan Sundhara dated Sambat 34 (7th Century AD) informs that brick wall, wooden doors and windows Mating Devkula (temple) damaged by rats, insects squirrels termites were repaired with difficulty20. From this inscription it is
obvious that the temple was made of bricks and wood.

The Lichhavi inscription speaks of 'Gum Vihara 21.' The world gum is of non-sanskrit origin, so it seems that this monastery was build in prelichchhavi eras. Even today around the famous Vajrayoginee temple, we find some monolithic rock cut caves that might have been use by the Buddhist for their meditation in pre-Christian eras or around the beginning of Christian era. A detail scientific archaeological exploration and study would reveal many facts of the ancient history of this area. This Stupas were made even during the lifetime of Buddha. The early Stupas were simple representing the Philosophy of Theravadins.
The pillar inscription of Changunarayan stars by saluting Hari of Doladri22 providing us enough ground to suspect whether the temple (Changu) was built by Mandeva or earlier? The 'Mangalacharana' starts saluting to Harid of Doladri is enough to draw a conclusion that the temple of Hari of Doladri was already there in time of Manadeva.

It is yet unclear from when the Lichchhavi period began. However, it is believed that Lichchhivi period began with the beginning of the Christian era. The inscription are available only from the second century.

The inscription of Bishnu Bikranta added an adjective to the Bhavan (Temple) Laxmivat23.

Dhanabajra Bajracharya interpreted that term meaning the temple was constructed by investing a huge amount of money whereas N.R. Banerjee opinions that the word Laxmibata indicates the plan of the temple with unbloomed lotus top design.

Kings and donors must have raised temples to place the statues/idols in the sanctum.

To conclude, the author of these lines is of the opinion that no matter whenever we have found scientific date or not but some kinds of architecture were Nepal developed in Nepal from the very beginning of Neolithic civilization. Now the time has come that the scholars to investigate further and to enhance our knowledge of the various forms on the architecture whether secular or religious. This is the prime need of the day.
1. Percy Brown, Indian Architecture, P. 3.
2. Derebail Muralidhar Rao,Hidden Treasure of Vastu Shilpa Shastra and Indian Traditions, p. XI.
3. A.L. Bashama, The Wonder that was India, P. 8.
4. B.G. Gokhle, Ph.D., Ancient India History and Cultural,p. 13.
5. Ibid.
6. Percy Brown, Indian Architecuture, Suggestion Plate V, Picture 5.
7. Derebail Muralidhar Rao, Hidden Treasure of Vastu Shipla Shastra and Indian Traditions, p. 27.
8. Ibid.
9. Ibid, p.p. XI-XII
10. Ibid, p.p. XII-XIII
11. Dunda Bahadru Bajracharya, Digha Nikaya, P. 288.
12. Basanta Bidari, Forest & Trees Associated with Lord Buddha, Ancient Nepal, P. 13
13. A.L. Basham, The Wounder That Was India, P. 148.
14. J.F. Horabin, Jawaharial Nehro, Glimpses of world History, pp. 51-52.
15. N.R. Banerjee, Nepalese Architecture, p.32.
16. D.B. Bajracharya, Lichchhavi kalin Abhilekh, p. 374.
17. Ibid. p. 46.
18. Dhanavajra Vajracharya/Kapam P. Malla The Gopal Raj Vansawali, p. 122.
19 0. Ibid, p. 123.
20. Hari Ram Joshi, Nepal ko Prachin Abhilekh, p. 303.
21. D.B. Bajracharya, Lichchhavi Kalin Abhlekh, p. 320.
22. Ibid. p. 18.
23. Ibid. p. 35.

Basham, A.L. (1997). The Wounder That Was India (Third Revised Edition). India: Rupa and Co.
Bajracharya, D.B. (1996). Lichchhavikalin Abhilekh, Kahtmandu: CNAS.
Bajracharya, Dunda Bahadur. (2000). Digha Nikaya. Kathmandu: Bir Purna Pustak Sangrahalaya.
Banerjee, N.R. (1980). Nepalese Architecture. Delhi: Agam Kala Prakashan.
Bidari, Basanta. (1996) Forest and Trees Associated with Lord Buddha Ancient Nepal, (Number 139) pp. 11-24. Kathmandu: Department of Archaeology.

Bidari, Basanta. (1999) The Nativity Tree of Prince Siddhartha. Ancient Nepal, (Number 142) pp. 13-23. Kathmandu: Department of Archaeology.

Brown, Percy. (1956). Indian Architecture (Buddhist and Hindu Period) Bombay: D.B. Taraporevala Sons & Co. Pvt. Ltd.
Gokhale, B.G. Ph .D. (1970). Ancient India History and Culture. Bombay: P.S. Jayasinghe, Asia Publishing House.
Joshi, Hari Ram. (B.S. 2030). Nepal ko Prachin Abhilekh. Kathmandu: Royal Nepal Academy.
Jawaharlal Nehru. (1992). The Discovery of India. New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund (Oxford University), Teen Murti House.
Horabin, J.F. (1989). Jawaharlal Nehru Glimpses of World History: New Delhi: Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund (Oxford University), Teen Murti House.
Poudyal, Naya Nath. (B.S. 2020). Vaasha Vansavali. Kahmandu, Department of Archeology, Nepal National Library.
Vajracharya, Dhanavajra & Malla Kamal P. (1985). Gopal Raja Vamsavali. Kirtipur: CNAS.

  Untitled Document

Nepalese Culture, Society and Tourism
By: Diwas Dhakal

This book is a collection
of essays devoted to the
Nepalese Culture,Society and Tourism. A special
stress on Natural and
cultural Heritage of Nepal has been very carefully emphasised.
Diwas Dhakal, 2000 ISBN 99933-570-0-6,
First Edition 2000
Published by:
Mukta Dhakl
Read more

Tourism in Nepal: A Critical Analysis

Ghandruk: A Socio-cultural Study

The Aqua Culture of Kathmandu

People, Nature and Wild Life in Makalu - Barun

Purnachandi Bhuja Jatra of Patan: A Protection from Lightening

Vajrayan Buddhism and Nepal

The Accumulate Stupa of Ramagrama

The Stupa of Boudhnath: A World Heritage Site

Pagoda Style Architecture and Nepal

Development of Architecture in Nepal

Diwas Dhakal : Photo Gallery : Articles : Media Coverages : Contact Information
Copyright © 2009 diwasdhakal.com. All Right Reserved.