Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Standing tall with an audacity to challenge time and history, Dharahara is an iconic land marvel of time dating back to 1832 AD. Architecturally designed in a post modern style with huge influence of the Mughal and European style, the monument holds a pristine image of craftsmanship and culture.
Constructed by the then Prime Minster Bhimsen Thapa under the supervision of Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari, the tower was specifically constructed for strategic purpose of the Army where its use and operation were exclusively limited for disseminating information and practicing different Army operations. From then it has amortized its presences in history marking the tradition bugles u trumpeting in case of emergency and on special occasions.
The existing Dharahara stands 9 stories, in 50.2 Meters height with spiral stair case running up to the top counting 113 steps from top to bottom. Crowning on top a Shiva-Lingam resides in the 9th floor glorifying the religious and traditional believe. The 8th floor welcomes its visitor with scenic views of the valley where one could observe the modern encroachment of concrete jungle of the Kathmandu valley that amalgamating with the ancient city. The site itself is panoramic where on a clears day one can see the Lang Tang Mountain Range and observe the picturesque scenery to enjoy one’s appetite for natural beauty. Topping the monument, a bronze mast rules in highlighting its beauty, making it ready for a picture perfect shot. It is believed that the Dharahara was constructed using no ordinary construction material rather traditional materials like Vajra - Surki (Brick dust), Chuna (Lime), Mas (Black lentil) and Chaku (Caramel) wore used which holds its strength witness years of its survival and existence.
The current standing Dharahara is the replica of the original Bhimsen Stambha which was build in the name of Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari. The original Dharahara or Bhimsen Stambha was actually built in 1824 and was 11 stories high. After construction of the Bhimsen Stambha, the first Dharahara, the Queen ordered to construct another replica dedicated to her name. The two towers stood tall near a short distance glorifying the traditions and culture, but who knew what faith had stored in for them within the devastating earth quake of 1834, the name and fame of both the Dharahara changed forever. Though both the towers survived, but Bhimsen Stambha suffered severe damage and was in a deprived state due to lack of maintenance and renovation but the January 15, 1934 AD, earthquake completely destroyed the original Bhimsen Stambha bringing it down to just ruins.
Consequently, the replica had suffered less damage and only 2 stories of the 11 stories had survived. Witnessing a distorted image of the prestigious monument, the then Prime Minister Juddha Shumsher, renovated the second Dharahara to its previous form, while the original Bhimsen Stambha was obliterated, thus the queen Lalit Tripura Sundari's tower got its name, Bhimsen Stambha and is standing tall with the name and fame of Bhimsen Stambha.
Amidst a fighting spirit and witnessing chaotic changes in the country, Dharahara stands tall with an epic story to be told to its coming generation where it amortizes time in its beauty with grace and fame.
By Shreedeep Rayamajhi
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Literally meaning the virgin, the Kumari represents a strong symbol of power and culture enslaved in the rich colors of festivity which manifests a variation of tradition in the form of goddess as a KUMARI. Kumari is believed to be the bodily incarnation of the goddess Taleju Bhawani (Shakti) where the image highlights a great presence and acceptance among the scattered communities and people. The ideology of veneration of Kumari as the living goddess dates back to centauries which to this day glorify the rich tradition in fulfilling the centuries old practice of KUMARI.
Like such, the east manifests different traditions, which are abstract and enigmatic to its identity but defines the richness in the most profound way where people beliefs and values passes the normal limits. The rich cultural heritage and the profound beliefs, explores the different possibilities in playing with the colors of traditions and culture giving it the shapes of a montages in chanting the unique colors of life. These cultural aspects promulgate unity in the diversity standing as a focal point of beliefs.
Many stories and myths are surrounded with the origination of Kumari but the popular one goes back to the Malla Dynasty to King Jaya Prakash Malla.
According tot the saying, Telaju Bhanwan was the main deity of the Malla kings, so she was prized with honor and respect in the Malla kingdom, apart from that the one of the Malla kings had pleased the goddess and has granted him a wish to meet him every day. Every day the Malla king use to play Pasa (Dice Game) with the goddess Taleju Bhawani. Though the goddess audience the king every night but the goddess had shadowed her presence with in curtain where she restricted any human to see her and only her voice would stage her presence. One day, the Malla King with in the temptation of seeing the goddess crossed his limits and peeped into the curtain, the Goddess with anger of breaking the promise disappeared. The king called upon all his magicians and priests and consulted them and after hearing their suggestion he worshiped the goddess and made her happy. Then she returned and told the king that, if he wants to see her again or have her protect his country, he'd have to search her among the Newar (Shakya) community, as she would be incarnated as a little girl among them. Hoping to make amends with his patroness, the tradition of Kumari started giving it the form of tradition and festivity. After that, the search of the Kumar started one after the other where girls were selected with specific criteria to fulfill the cultural custom of KUMARI.
The criteria for selection of a Kumari are listed as below:
Ø The candidate must be born in the Buddhists from the Newar Shakya caste
Ø The girl must posses the 32 characters of women from physical to mental for e.g. Skin blemish free, Black hair and eyes, body need to be sturdy, hands and feet dainty, small and well-recessed sexual organs, a set of twenty teeth etc
Ø The candidate’s horoscope must have certain attributes of planets and starts
Ø The candidate must be strong and fearlessness, during the tests. The candidate must withstand an odiferous room of blood and demon-like masked dancers to test her willpower and strength, if the candidate cries or fear the situation she is immediately disqualified
Ø And a series of Tantric rituals and tests will be perform for determining the goddess in the form of a young girl
After the beginning selection process, the selected candidate has to go through many rigorous processes to prove being worth of a Kumari. Her greatest test comes during the Hindu festival of Vijaya Dashami (Dashain). On the eight night day of Dashain, Kalratri, (the night of darkness) 108 buffaloes and goats are sacrificed in honor of goddess Kali. On that day the preferred candidate is taken to the temple and is released into to the Mul Chowk (Courtward). Different tantric procession and tantric dances are performed by masked dancers where her physical and mental strength is tested to the level. As a final test the candidate has to spend a whole night alone in a room with the sacrificed animal heads. If the candidate possesses the qualities of Taleju, she shows no fear and faces the test with confidence but if the candidate shows fear then she is considered to be mortal and is backed out of the contest.
After overcoming these tests, she is announced as the Kumari where she is sent to the Kumari Ghar and resides inside till she evacuates the position. Declared as a Kumari, now she transforms into a goddess where she is considered as holy and each and every word and action that she displays counts. Her feet, like all of her, are now sacred; people will touch them, hoping to receive blessings of long life health and prosperity. She is allowed to do everything from normal activities to play but she is restricted with in the Kumari Ghar. The child will stay in the temple, and will be allowed to return to her family only at the onset of menstruation or if she wounds her self and bleeds. It’s believed that bleeding makes her invalid for worship where the new search begins. The presence and image of Kumari is considered auspicious where people flock in every day to get the glimpse her.
The Kumari Ghar is the palace of the Kumari where she resides in her glorious tradition. The abode in-houses magnificent intricate carvings and great architecture where at time she audiences her arrivals from a window. The Kumari Ghar is well equipped with care takers, priests and other necessary people who serve under the Kumari in assisting her with her daily chores and processions. Guthi Sansthan, a government trust fund bears her entire expenses including that of her caretakers.
Recorded Names of KUMARIof Nepal
Name: Hira Maiya Shakya
Date of service: 1922-1923
Name: Chandra Devi Shakya
Name: Dil Kumari Shakya
NameNani: Shova Shakya
NameKayo Mayju Shakya
Name: Nani Mayju Shakya
Name: Sunina Shakya
Name: Rashmila Shakya
Name: Amita Shakya
During the festival of Indra Jatra, in the month of September, the Kumari come out in public for the Kumari Jatra where she travel on her jeweled chariot through the older part of Kathmandu city in a three tiered chariot accompanied by Ganesh and Bhairab. Thousand of Kathmanduties throng to Basnatapur durbar square for the festivity which creates a gala of attraction.
Nevertheless, the tradition of the Living Goddess KUMARI is a mystery of religion and enigma which create its own attraction in the most prolific way of giving it the shape and size of cultural icon.
Abstract yet enigmatic in defining the tradition of the east, Kumari is a reality of 21st century that manifests the social ground upholding the holistic image adoring the sharp Red engulf in a strong presence. The Kumari portrays an aura of goddess where she stands as a symbol of power and culture uniting people of Nepal in the most appropriate form of culture.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
By Shreedeep Rayamajhi
Moving on from centuries, it has seen the rise and fall of many Kings from Mallas to the recent Shahs witnessing their glory of fame and pride. Registered to the world heritage site, this palace stands testament to the glorious tradition of Kingship in Nepal. With several complexes connected together spreading in about five acres explicates historical and traditional values; the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar square is a live example of the rich culture and tradition.
The durbar Square has ten courtyards flourishing with statues and artifacts enthrall the vision where one gets nostalgic towards this museum of time. The palace was once residence of the Shahs till the late seventies, when the royal residence shifted to the Narayanhiti Palace. The old palace still has its ritual and ceremonial importance where the King of Nepal were crowned and their coronation ceremonies would take place here.
Starting off from the east entrance, a big statue of Hanuman (Monkey god) welcomes you inside; it is believed that King Pratap Malla had set-up the statue there to scare away bad and evil spirits from his palace. It dates back to the 1672. Moving on to the lobby, a half-man, half-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Narasimha Avatar appears on the left side of the lobby. The statue is carved in a big black stone where the craftsmanship clearly highlights the prolific style of the Malla dynasty. The statue portrays the Narshimha Avatar killing the Herainyakasyapu the demon who threaded the world with his evil and outcaste the practice of the religion.
Similarly, with the pride of royalty, a big inscription lies just in front of the palace. The inscription is laid on a stone in 15 different languages by King Pratap Malla in the glory of his regime.
Literally meaning the Dancing courtyard, the Nasal Chowk or Courtyard is dedicated to lord Shiva where a big status of the Natraj is placed on the east side of the courtyard. The courtyard was build by the Malla kings where once it use to serve as their private residence of the then kings but in the transcending flow of time, it was further recaptured and portions were added to the current state by the powerful Ranas where the western influences can be widely seen. In the open veranda faming the pride, still lays the throne of the Malla kings which orchestrates the richness and power of the wide spectrum of their regime.
Highlighting the famous Basantapur Tower at its door step, the Nasal Chowk welcomes the arrivals with its glorious craftsmanship and tradition where the carved windows and doors simply wow in plethora of the craftsmanship. From the tower you can see the 360 view of the Kathmandu in the most profound way where the beautiful mountain range adds colors to the view. Apart from that, the stringent taste of exotic and erotic carvings with in the struts on the façade, one can feel the rich influence of the great Kama sutra. It is believed that the Malla kings use to see the city below from the towers where these towers served as a medium of observatory.
The courtyard has witnessed the rise and fall of many kings where the courtyard is live testimony to the coronation ceremony of the King s of Nepal. In this quest the Late King Birendra and the last king of Shah Dynasty King Gynandra were both crowed king here in this courtyard.
Dedicated to the Taleju Bhawani, the Mul Chowk or courtyard holds a special enigma to its presence. Located in isolation with minimal rituals happening in the courtyard is open only in specially occasion and festivals for ritual and tantric ceremonies. With in the periphery is located a two storey Pagoda style temple which holds mystery to its origin where history defines it as an enigma of Hinduism.
The goddess Taleju was the main deity of the royal Malla family where after centuries’ she still holds a strong presence among kathmanduties.
Especially in the ninth day of Dashain the Mul chowk gets lively where the priest sacrifice 108 animals in fulfill the century’s old tantric ritual. On that particular day the temple is opened for general public and it is believed that on that particular night the goddess, she comes down in the temple and endowed her presence. The temple is located at a height where it can be view from most parts of the Kathmandu.
Built in 1649 by the Malla Kings, the Mohan Chowk or courtyard has a significant role in the history of Malla dynasty. More or less it was related to royalty and was closely associated with the Malla kings. It is believe that to become a Malla king you needed to be born in the Mohan Chowk which testifies its glory during those days. In the middle of the Courtyard lies a golden waterspout which in the ancient days was used by the Malla kings for their daily dip. Beautiful artistic tower are located in the four corners of the courtyard. Currently the Mohan Chowk is out of display.
Example of the western architect, this portion of the durbar square was build by the Ranas in the 19th centuries. The Tribhuwan Museum is an explanatory example of the time and royalty that witnessed the various aspects of art, craft, technology, fashion and other amenities of the country that highlighted royalty and their lifestyle. It strongly exhibits items of stone carvings, several spectacular thrones, Jewel-studded ornaments used for coronations, weapons, furniture, wooden temple carvings, and coin collections.
With highlighting the glorious life style of the King’s of Nepal an exact replica of King Tibhuvan bedroom is also on display. Dedicated to the King Mahendra a small section on the southeast corner highlights the two thrones of the King.
The Hanuman Durbar Square is a exemplary audience that has witness the past in a glorious tradition showcasing and transcending the pride, honor and culture of the country where it stand tall with the pride of craftsmanship and culture in the most profound way of a time’s kaleidoscope.
By Shreedeep Rayamajhi
Thursday, June 11, 2009
By Shreedeep Rayamajhi
Prayer flag are draped from the top of the monument and fly in the breeze to spread the message of peace that flows with in the rooftops of the congested urban neighborhood.
Tourists are charged a modest fee to enter the front gate and to join the clockwise procession at the base of the Stupa.
The Stupa holds a special position in the culture and tradition of the valley while during the seasonal festivals it is lined with lamps and there are special parades and ceremonies performed by the devotees.
The Bouddhanath is architecturally built with greater efficacy which was not touched by the destructive earthquake of 1934 where now it holds a special position in the UNESCO world heritage sites.
By Shreedeep Rayamajhi
The lotus, was known as the impart enlightenment to the worshipers, many saints, pilgrims, divinities who traveled from far places. The lotus was converted into a hill and the Swayambhu temple lies on top of the hill. The light, which the flower radiated, became the Swayambhu Stupa.
The Swayambhu welcomes you with its 365 stairs leading up to the temple. With big colorful Buddha statues and large wheels of prayers highlights the richness of its tradition. Welcoming all, a statue of Lord Buddha, a vajra and two lion statues placed at the very front of the towering Stupa.
The Stupa has four sides and on each of the sides, a pair of eyes has been carved which symbolizes the eyes of Lord Buddha watching and evaluating the karmas of the people. In place of the nose, number 1 in Nepali language has been marked. Another popular name of the Swayambhu Stupa is Monkey Temple.
By Shreedeep Rayamajhi
Apart from the cultural heritage, the Pashupatinath temple also orchestrates the cremation process of the death bodies of deceased Hindus in a rich cultural and traditional way. The scene itself attracts foreigners and tourists who early wait and watch the process of the abstract Hindu culture.
More or less the temple is flocked by people during the Shivaratri when Hindus all over the world gather here to celebrate the birth day of lord Shiva.
By Shreedeep Rayamajhi
It is renowned for its sunrise view of the Himalayan range including Mount Everest especially where people flock here during the celebration of New Year.
With hotel, lodges and resorts mushrooming-in, Naragkot has simply adapted itself to the preference of its arrivals.
By Shreedeep Rayamajhi
Adorning the prestige of royalty and cultural heritage, the Hanuman Dhoka Palace is the symbol of past glory of the Malla kings, passed on for centauries. The pristine palace has seen the rise and fall of many kings from Mallas to the recent Shahs.
With several complexes connected together spreading in about five acres explicates the rich art and craft of that time. It has ten courtyards flourishing with the statues and artifacts of the time. King Pratap Malla enlarged the original building in the 17th century, adding many of the temples. The oldest part of the palace is Sundari Chowk and Mohan Chowk in the north part of the palace, which are both closed. In 1768, after Prithvi Narayan Shah took over the valley he built four lookout towers in the southeast part of the palace.
The palace was residence of the Shah dynasty until 1886, when the royal residence was moved to the Narayanhiti Palace. The old palace still has its ritual and ceremonial importance where the King of Nepal were crowned and their ceremonies would take place here.
The entrance is on the west side of the palace. Open daily except Tuesday, 10.30 am to 3 pm, 4 pm in the summer; Friday 10.30 am to 2 pm. Admission Rs 250.
The Durbar square holds places like Nasal Chowk, Panch Mukhi Hanuman Temple, Basantapur Tower, Mul Chowk, Taleju Temple etc which are very famous among tourist and arrivals
By Shreedeep Rayamajhi
Monday, May 11, 2009
Kathmandu, Nepal 9 May 2009: Buddha “The light of Asia” and “The symbol of peace” became 2553 years old where his birth day was celebrated with different program in and around the valley by Buddhists and his followers.The celebration program included various march up programs, concerts dedicated to peace etc where millions of Buddhists and his followers participated the programs.It is believed that Siddhartha Gautam (Buddha) was born in Kapilvastu (Lumbini), then a Shakya Kingdom which now falls in Nepal from King Suddhodana and Queen Maya Devi. The boy at his early age had an aura and charismatic personality. At an early age of 29, after the birth of his son Rahula, he encountered the reality of hunger, sickness, ageness, suffering and death etc which made him flee away from his lavish life of royalty in search of wisdom and enlightenment.Later, he was enlightened in Bodhi Gaya, India where he became Buddha. Every year according to the Bikram Sambath Sukla Pachhya Baishakh Purnima Buddha birth day is celebrated in and around the world highlighting the message of Peace. The Day is also recognized by United Nations in presence of his contribution to mankind.Gautam Buddha was born on a full moon day and he died on full moon day.Hari Man Shakya a Buddhist in a rally said, “We celebrate his birth day to highlight his achievements and to adapt that every year we spread out in the streets of Kathmandu to spread the message of peace. He was a human and later he became a god by his strong will and determination, that courage and strength is what we need to understand and adapt in our life. Today people are more busy in fighting and violence creating a menace and we want to spread this message that thousand of years ago a man was born who accepted the challenge of finding the truth or reality of life and later he enlightened the world with his message of peace.”(Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddha)
By Shreedeep Rayamajhi
Monday, May 4, 2009
Located in the laps of Himalayas with the mist and glory of Buddha and Everest, Nepal stand still traversed among the vibrant Terrain where life seek an enchanting experience of adventure and exhilaration. As said by a writer “the earth is full of beauty but it makes the place more beautiful with the appreciating people”. Similarly, with in its periphery, the land enchants a peace and spirituality among the diverse community playing with the colors of feeling and emoting where life is abide by the tradition and custom so vivid that orchestrates to mesmerizes one's memory with distinct color of imagination and motivates oneself in exploring one's identity. The contract of serene and secluded environment showcases the past glory evoking the humble people in welcome its arrival with open arms.Just feel free to be yourself and the country will adapt you in the most profound way. And that’s the beauty of Nepal !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By Shreedeep Rayamajhi
Saturday, March 28, 2009
In my Nepal everything is beautiful from the lust forest to high pristine hills to Virgin Mountain to unexplored valleys, its beyond once experience where words defy their limitation. It's an enchanting experience of nature that drives your enthusiasm to see the real taste of nature in its every bliss.
From its one corner to another, Nepal is blessed with the best bio diversity and houses some of the rarest animals and plants in its vicinity.
Mostly, with the evolving adventure sport like Bunjey Jumping, Paragliding, Canyoning, White Water River Rafting, Rock climbing, Mountain Biking, Para Jumping, Mountaineering etc Nepal offers its best to its arrivals with what nature has to offer.
We Nepalese are very civilized people who believe in Tradition of hospitality. Our ancestors have set the pride of making this nation under the regime of no other country. Our KHUKARIS and our Madal are the live testimonials of what we are and what we can do at times of need.
Whether it’s Yeti or Gautam Buddha all have added shine to the prestige of Nepal’s Image where every Nepali feels proud to hold the Pride of Nepal and its Image.