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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.
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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.
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INSIGHT INTO Nepalese Architecture
 
 
BOOK REVIEW
Author : N R Banerjee
Title of the book :
Nepalese Architecture
Year of Publication : 1980
Published by :Agam Kala
Prakashan,Delhi with photos
And line drawing, forwards

N R Banerjee for many years was Director General of Archaeology Survey of India. He came to Nepal as an advisor to the Department of Archaeology in late 1960s.Under his able guidance supervision, the then Department of Archaeology explored many pre-historic sites and conducted many historical archeology excavations in around Kathmandu.This book even today is a guide line for the students of art, as well as for layperson.

This book being written by scholar of his reputation is very academic, as well as informative. This book is divided in nine chapter starting from introduction to Nepal, Chapter Second deals with the geographical and cultural background covering physical features, people and language and religious life of the land. Chapter third provides glimpses of the history of Nepal with small introduction of the Lichhavis, Dark and Malla period. Chapter four under the topics of Shahs writes about the Shahs of Gorkha, the illustrious rulers of Shah Dynasty, the unification of Nepal Valley by Prithivi Narayan Shah, the Ranas’ rise to power, establishment of democracy and the works of his Majesty the late King Mahendra. Thus the first four chapters simply form a rather long prelude to the book where the author wonders aimlessly before he picks up the real thread constituting the motive content of the book.

It is thus only from chapter five be comes to the point the architecture of Nepal. Starting from a small introduction of architecture, the learned scholar describes in brief the various architectural structures of Nepal like pati, powhas, stupa and chaityas, dhunge dharas, secular houses including the palaces and Buddhist monasteries of Nepal and the temples.

Chapters six given a detailed outline of the temple architecture of Nepal under various styles like Sikhara or Nagara, theDevala and is antiquity. Here the author has provided glimpses of the temple architecture of Nepal and compares them with archaeology evidences of India, Chinese examples. He also forwards hypothesis regarding the architecture of Nepal based upon inscription and other historic records.

The seventh chapter compares the Eduke style temples with that of Nepalese multi-roofed temple. By providing some example from the Kathiyabad, Kashmir Himanchal Pradesh and other parts of India he comes to the conclusion that the multiroofed temple is not indigenous. Because of close contact with Kushanas/Guptas, Nepal has started this architecture showing an influence of India. His interpretation that the Sikhare-Nagare-Granthakuta kind of temples was popular in ancient Nepal. To prove his hypothesis, he has provided a new explana2tion of the Tilaganga inscription inscribed as the pedestal image of Vishnu-Vikranta. The expression ‘Laxmeevat’ according to his view of architecture. The Sanskrit dictionary has many meanings but certainly not a style .His hypothesis has yet to be proved. No doubt that vat in Sanskrit is likeliness-similar as such some strong statement made by author on Nepalese architecture has yet to be examined by various other sources.

In the eight chapter entitled the ‘preservation of architecture traditions in Nepal’ the author provides many historical evidences of the renovation done to the temple of Pasupatinath.It is admirable but his saying that the first mention of the name Pashupati appears from the time of Amusuvarma is not correct. Only from the inscription point of view, we can not study the architecture of Nepal. Gopal Raj Vasavali mentions that King Suspuspa had built many storied gold roofed temple of Pashupati. The Jayadeva I of the inscription of Javadeva II now has been a historical fact the discovery of the statue of Jaya Verma with the pedestal inscription of the same having a date of 107 + 78 =185 A.D.Vijayavati, the daughter of Mandeva installed the Shiva Linga after the name of her Husband in and around Pashupati. The Lichhavi inscriptions found around the temple proves the fact that the temple was already there along before Amusuvarma. No doubt the Lichhavi rulers gave the title as “Parama Daivata” before Amsuvarma. It was only from the time of Amsuvarma, he took the title “Pashupati Bhattaraka Padanugrihita” meaning he was more devoted to Pashupati.

It is a tradition of Nepal to follow the same plan with an exception of one or two, whenever the style of the whole plan was changed it was properly recorded. The Granthakute style of Sankhu Vajra Jogini was changed into multiroofed style by Bhaskar malla. The Thyasaphu , a Newari literature ,has a completed record of this. He might have done so on certain geographical condition. The temple can be seen even today. So far we have only this example of the change of style from granthakut to multi-roofed style. No other examples have come to light so far.

His hypothesis that the temple of Pashupatinath under the present plan is after the beginning of Nepal Sambat.But he does not provide any solid evidence to prove his idea. At one point he shows his scepticism regarding the Matingdevakul of Patan being multiroofed .He agrees that the temple was made of bricks with wooden doors, windows. If it is wood and brick construction it must be Deval style, the terms used by the author . But he doubts the terms “so called Deval”.

No doubt the learned scholar provided a long list of the renovation activities of the temple of Pashupati Nath .But does not mention “Varsa Bandana Puja” and Tha Puja. The Varsa Banada Puja is to mention the temple by cleaning around and special Puja is offered. It was during this day that the temple trustees, priest used to take care of small damage. For this, they always had some money saved. While talking about the traditional easy of preserving the temple, we can not ignore “ Varsa Vardhana Puja” which besides the puja of the deity maintained the structure. The land grant was separated for this kind of activities to maintain the monuments. The author has failed to mention this wonderful tradition of Nepal which is still organized by Guthi. The Brahmayni temple of Panauti at the confluence of river Rosi and Punyamati even today is taken care by the people who every year after monsoon pick up the grasses grown on the file roof of the temples. This is just an example but if we seriously study we find that almost all the temples of Nepal have this tradition.

The Puja, derives from “Sthan Puja’s Many rulers of medieval Nepal when they completed a temple a special worship to Taleju eas offered. Even today we see the tradition of Tha puja which provides an idea when, on which day the particular temple was completed.Taleju of Bhaktpur receives even today the Tha pua of Nyatapola temple. These aspects of Nepalese culture continued long after the unification.

The final chapter deals in detail with Nepali culture relation with India and her influence in Nepalese architecture from the very beginning of the Lichhavi period. He in this lengthy chapter has tried to compare the Nepalese temples’ architecture with the North and South Indian architecture and has tried to show that the temple architecture, culture, calendar, social ,life, script, music, art, sculpture, have influenced the culture of Nepal. Certain culture aspects of Nepal are India in origin but it is certainly not so in the field of art and architecture as much as the author has tried to show.

SUNDAY POST DECEMBER 26,1999
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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
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Contents:

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

 
 
 
 
 
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