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.
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
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
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
VASTU SHILPA IS DIVIDED INTO TWO PARTS:
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
6. Percy Brown, Indian Architecuture, Suggestion Plate V, Picture
7. Derebail Muralidhar Rao, Hidden Treasure of Vastu Shipla
Shastra and Indian Traditions, p. 27.
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,
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,
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.
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