Nepali Architecture | 10 Wonders of Architecture in Nepal

Nepali Architecture | 10 Wonders of Architecture in Nepal

The significance of Nepali architecture has made it a significant component of the nation’s cultural legacy. Architecture is the name for the art of planning a home (Bastukala). The historic architecture of Nepal is regarded as great even from a scientific standpoint, much like the arts of painting and sculpture. Among the arts that make up Nepal’s cultural legacy, Nepalese architecture is likewise regarded as being of utmost importance. The magnificent craftsmanship and chiseling abilities displayed in ancient structures are astounding. The heritage sites and built structures still provide witness to the efforts made during the Middle Ages.

The ancient history and distinctive way of life of the people are reflected in the architecture and art of Nepal. The identities of the traditions and cultures of ethnicities and a diverse group of individuals are reflected in the arts and architecture. The architectural principles and artistic traditions that the region traces can be used to infer human civilization.

Nepal has long been appreciated for its exquisite cultural artifacts, diverse races, faiths, and cultures, as well as for its way of life and chariot festivals. Hinduism and Buddhism both had an impact on Nepal’s historical and current rulers, who make up the bulk of the country’s population, and whose shadow may be seen on Nepal’s architectural structures and historical landmarks. The astounding products of Nepalese culture and customs include Thangka paintings, temple architecture, chaityas, and the Hindu art of deities. Because Nepal was historically a Hindu nation and still has a sizable Hindu and Buddhist population, it is uncommon to find buildings with Muslim or Christian influences there.

Most Popular Nepali Architecture | Nepalese Architecture

Three categories can be used to describe ancient architecture in Nepal.

1. Pagoda Style

Pagoda Style

According to historical records, Nepal first adopted the pagoda architectural style at the beginning of the 13th century. Araniko and his associates from Nepal are thought to have brought the pagoda architectural style to China. Pagoda design refers to having many roofs with a wider base and progressively smaller peaks. Excellent examples of Nepalese architecture include the Man Griha of Man Dev, the temple of Changu Narayan, the Kailashkut Bhawan of Amshuverma, and the Bhadra Diwas of Narendra Dev from ancient times.

During the Malla era, several temples, palaces, and structures were constructed in the pagoda style. Examples of pagoda style in Nepal are the Dattatraya and Nyatapole of Bhaktapur, the Kasthamandap of Kathmandu, etc.

2. The Chaitya or Stupa Style

Stupa Style
Stupa Style IG

The Boudha tradition refers to this broad-based, progressively ascending architectural style as the Stupa or Chaitya Style. It is thought that Emperor Ashok brought this architectural design to Nepal. An excellent example is the Maya Devi temple in Lumbini.

In Nepal, this fashion has been well-liked for centuries. The stupas of Swayambhunath and Boudhanath are also outstanding specimens of the style. The oldest stupa in Nepal is thought to be the Ashok Stupa in Patan. The Chawahilan Charumati Chaitya is likewise constructed in a similar manner.

3. Shikhara Style

Stupa Style
Shikhara Style Architecture IG

A beautiful traditional architectural design is the Shikhar style. It has a lofty, pyramid-like appearance. Such buildings have five to nine perpendicular divisions or parts on their exterior. At the very top of each subsection is Gajurs. They are wider at the bottom and becoming smaller at the top. Excellent examples include Mahaboudha and Krishna Mandir in Patan. Siddhinarsingh Malla, the Malla ruler, constructed Krishna Mandir. In Nepal, there are structures and religious sites constructed in the Gumba Style, Mugal Style, etc. Its illustration is the Janaki Mandir in Janakpur. There are some beautiful Gumba Style buildings, particularly in the Terai.

Some other beautiful examples of Nepalese architecture include the 55-story Malla period palace in Bhaktapur, the Rana era palace at Singha Durbar, Kesar Mahal, Thapathali Durbar, Sri Mahal, and Rani Mahal. In these palaces, we may observe some examples of European-style architecture.

Development of Modern Architecture in Nepal

Nepal’s current buildings are stunning examples of the ancient style. It is thought that Nepal had an architectural revolution during the Kirat and Licchavis eras. During the Malla era, Nepal’s traditional architecture underwent significant modification and gained new knowledge. The established architectural styles were revised and modified by the Malla rulers, and the Malla era is notably noted for its contemporary architectural upheavals. There are still many people interested in locations where you can find Malla-era artifacts in Nepal.

Nepali architecture began to resemble modern silhouettes during the Rana rule. The Neoclassical style first appeared in Nepal under the Ranas. Garden of Dreams, located in Thamel’s heart, is a prime example of Neoclassical design. The western style, which originated in ancient Greece and Rome, was quite popular during the rule of Rana and Shah. The current Durbars and Royal palaces of Nepal exhibit elements of Greek and Roman architectural design. The trend of altering Nepal’s architecture under the reigns of the Rana and Shah is the country’s first step toward contemporary architecture.

To construct distinctive buildings, palaces, and royal homes, professional architecture trends and architectural development were later formed. With the development of both international and local architects, it has therefore altered in terms of design, functions, layout, and material employed. Shahid Gate, Narayanhiti Palace, Soaltee Hotel, Amrit Science Campus, Hotel Yak and Yeti, Nepal Art Council, Pangre Ghar in Pulchowk, and other stunning examples of contemporary Nepali architecture are just a few.

Wonders of Nepali Architecture based on 3 Styles

The beautiful temples of the Kathmandu Valley are a magnificent example of the outstanding advancement in stone, metal, and wood carpentry during the Lichchavi and Malla periods. These temples are significant in terms of history, religion, culture, and economics since they support the local economy by promoting tourism. In reality, Nepal is well-known around the world as a country with countless temples honoring various gods and goddesses.

Although the sizes and shapes of these temples vary from one another, they are all founded on the same religious ideals and ideas as well as traditional architectural styles from the past. It is widely accepted that temples that disregard these guidelines will not produce the desired results. Despite the lack of advanced tools and technology in the past, it is as fascinating to see how precisely the temples were built. It is important to research and maintain the traditional, distinctive technology used in the ancient world to make such constructions possible.

1. Pashupatinath Temple

Nepali Architecture | 10 Wonders of Architecture in Nepal
Pashupatinath Temple | Gaushala, Kathmandu

Pashupatinath, one of Nepal’s oldest Hindu temples, was refurbished in the 13th century by Ananta Malla, a member of the Malla dynasty. It is said to date back to the fifth century. It was restored once more in the 17th century with superb artwork and as many as 492 temples beside the main temple after suffering more damage.

Architecture

This temple, one of the holiest temples for followers of Lord Shiva, features a twin roof made completely of gold and copper that supports exquisitely carved wooden rafters.

Major Highlights

The temple includes four major silver-sheeted doorways, or “Dwars,” and a golden pinnacle, or “Gajur,” on top. There are two sections to the total complex. While the outer complex is an open courtyard, the inner complex houses the idol for worship. This temple is one of the best examples of a Nepalese pagoda building because of its high craftsmanship.

UNESCO Recognised

The Pashupati temple complex, one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley, is situated on the banks of the river Bagmati.

Location: Gaushala, Kathmandu

Style of Architecture: Pagoda Style

Entry fee

Nepalese and Indian Citizens: No entry fee

SAARC National: No entry fee

Foreign Nationals: NPR 1000

2. Hanumandhoka/Kathmandu Durbar Square

Hanumandhoka Durbar Square

A plaza or a location close to the “durbar,” or palace, is collectively referred to as “durbar square.” There are three durbar squares in Nepal, with the Kathmandu Durbar Square being the most well-known. This location, also known as Hanuman Dhoka Square, was formerly the courtyard of the Royal Palace, where the kings were installed. This quadrilateral was built in the distant past during the Licchavi dynasty, but it underwent several restorations while the Mallas were in power.

Architecture – UNESCO Recognised

This durbar plaza, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is home to a number of historic temples and museums, all of which have many roofs, a hallmark of Nepal’s pagoda architectural style.

Major Highlights

This location demonstrates the extraordinary talent that the Newari culture possessed with its various colorful engravings and beautiful artwork. Taleju, the Kasthamandap Temples, the Krishna Temple, and other well-known monuments are among the notable temples in Durbar Square.

Location: Kathmandu

Style of Architecture: Pagoda Style

Entry fee

Nepalese citizens: No entry fee

SAARC Nationals: NPR 150

Foreign Nationals: NPR 1000

3. Patan Durbar Square

Nepali Architecture | 10 Wonders of Architecture in Nepal
Patan Durbar Square, Lalitpur

The Patan Durbar Square, another Durbar square in the Kathmandu Valley, is said to be one of the most well-known tourist destinations in Nepal. Although the origins of this Square are uncertain, most of the substantial improvements are thought to have been undertaken by the Malla kings.

Architecture

The area is split into two sections by around 130 “Bahal” courtyards and 55 significant temples. Within Durbar square’s inner complex are the historic royal palaces. The numerous pagoda-shaped temples in the outer complex, many of which have elaborate artwork and more than two layers of roof, are evidence of the Newars’ extraordinary artistic prowess.

Highlights

At the center of the plaza is a magnificent architectural exhibit that is said to be one of the best creations of the Newar people. A special Hanuman statue is positioned to defend the palace. This is one of the most exquisite creations of the Newars, including idols of several Hindu legendary gods and goddesses, including Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati, and Lord Krishna.

UNESCO Recognised

The Patan Dubar Square was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979.

Location: Patan, Lalitpur

Style of Architecture: Pagoda Style

Entry Fees

Nepali Citizens: No Entry Fee

SAARC Nationals: NPR 250

Foreign National: NPR 1000

4. Bhaktapur Durbar Square

One of the three durbars in the Kathmandu valley, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, perfectly captures the diverse cultural history of Nepal, particularly the Newari population. It was created by King Bhupatindra Malla in the 17th century, during the reign of the Malla, and is one of the most stunning historical landmarks.

Architecture

It includes of various temples with multiple roofs and four squares: Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square, and Pottery Square. On stone plinths around the Durbar, the compound is several statues of historical leaders and life-size animals associated with religion.

Major Highlights

One of the primary draws of this Durbar Square is the fifty-five-window Palace, which features a golden gate at the entry and beautiful carvings of religious texts carved on the walls.

UNESCO Recognised

Some of the prominent temples in this UNESCO World Heritage Site are the Vatsala temple, Bhairavnath temple, Nyatapola temple, the mini Pashupati temple, etc.

Location: Bhaktapur, Nepal

Style of Architecture: A combination of Pagoda and Shikhara styles.

Entry Fee

Nepalese Citizens: No Entry Fee

SAARC Nationals: NPR 500

Foreign Nationals: NPR 1500

5. Kasthamandap Temple

Nepali Architecture | 10 Wonders of Architecture in Nepal
Kasthamandap, Kathmandu

In the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square, there is a three-tiered temple called Kasthamandap that was built during the Malla era. Its name means “wood pavilion,” and it is said to have been made from a single tree. It was originally used as a “mandapa,” or a pedestal for holy rituals, but was eventually transformed into a temple honoring Saint Gorakhnath.

The saint Gorakhnath is reported to have entered a Machhindranath chariot parade dressed as a person until he was discovered by a “tantric,” who cursed him for a lifetime of incarceration. Later on, it’s thought that the two came to an agreement whereby Gorakhnath grew a sal tree which was utilized by the tantric to build this temple.

Architecture

This Saint Gorakhnath temple, also known as “Maru Satal,” has a very unusual nature. His footprints have always stood in for the temple’s idol.

Major Highlights

This three-tier Pagoda temple, however, lacks a pinnacle, which is an integral part of the pagoda style.

Location: Basantapur, Kathmandu

Style of Architecture: Pagoda Style

Entry Fee

No entry fee

6. Swayambhunath Stupa

Nepali Architecture | 10 Wonders of Architecture in Nepal
Swayambhunath Stupa, Kathmandu

This stupa, one of Nepal’s more magnificent architectural wonders, is regarded as the most potent shrine for Buddhist pilgrimage. Swayambhunath is Sanskrit for “self-made.” In order to reach the stupa’s peak, devoted pilgrims must climb 365 stairs located in the Kathmandu valley. A well-known folktale states that the valley was originally a vast lake where a lotus flower flourished. When the water dried up, the lotus evolved into the revered Swayambhunath stupa.

Major Highlights

The Swayambhunath Stupa, also known as the “Monkey Temple,” features a white hemispherical dome that symbolizes the earth and 13 levels that represent the many phases that one must go through to reach spiritual enlightenment or Nirvana. It contains three painted eyes on each side; the first two, known as the “all-seeing eyes,” represent Lord Buddha’s omnipresence, while the third eye represents wisdom. The nose’s wavy question mark form represents harmony.

Location: Swyambhu, Kathmandu

Style of Architecture: Stupa Style

Entry fee

Nepalese citizens: No entry fee

SAARC Nationals: NPR 50

Foreign Nationals: NPR 200

7. Changu Narayan Temple

Nepali Architecture | 10 Wonders of Architecture in Nepal
Changu Narayan Temple, Bhaktapur

The route to Changu Narayan’s temple, which requires a number of stairs to reach, passes via the charming tiny Nepalese town of Narayan. According to an inscription on a garuda column within the temple, the beginnings of this Hindu temple date back to the 4th century AD. This temple is devoted to Lord Vishnu, also known as “Narayana” or the age-creator.

Architecture

This temple is filled with colorful wood carvings that have been expertly sculpted. The dual-roofed temple, which has four ‘Dwars’ or entrances and is said to be one of Nepal’s oldest, is positioned on a high platform and is surrounded by life-size statues of lions and garudas. The struts holding up the temple’s roofs are inscribed with images of Lord Vishnu in many avatars.

Major Highlights

Shlokas, or verses, inscribed on the majority of the temple’s stone pillars are very significant to Hinduism.

UNESCO Recognised

Despite being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Changu Narayan Temple receives very few visitors, which contributes to the tranquility of the Narayana Village.

Location:Changunarayan, Bhaktapur

Style of Architecture: Pagoda Style

Entry fee

Nepalese Citizens: No entry fee

SAARC Nationals: NPR 100

Foreign Nationals: NPR 300

8. Boudhanath Stupa

Nepali Architecture | 10 Wonders of Architecture in Nepal
Boudhanath Stupa, Boudha Kathmandu

This Stupa, which is over 1500 years old and one of Nepal’s most revered Buddhist sanctuaries, has a sizable following from people of all faiths, notably Buddhism. According to legend, Songtsen Gampo, a Tibetan King, constructed it after accidentally killing his father.

Architecture

It is one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Nepal, and it is around 118 feet tall. It has a huge hemispherical white dome with a golden pinnacle and painted eyes on all four sides. Each component of this marvel of architecture has a unique purpose.

Architectural Symbols

The stupa’s apex symbolizes Mount Sumera, the center of the spiritual worlds and what is said to be the residence of the gods. The thirteen steps of the stupa stand in for the path to enlightenment, or “Bodhi,” while the golden canopy represents air.

The nose, painted right below the eyes, denotes oneness and the sole path to ‘bodhi,’ or spiritual enlightenment. A pair of eyes, painted on all sides of the central tower, symbolizes the all-knowing character of Lord Buddha. The stupa’s hemispherical dome symbolizes the cosmos. The hemispherical dome is supported by two circular plinths that represent water.

Location: Bouddha, Kathmandu

Style of Architecture: Stupa Style

Entry fee

Nepalese citizens: No entry fee

SAARC Nationals: NPR 100

Foreign Nationals: NPR 400

9. Krishna Mandir

Nepali Architecture | 10 Wonders of Architecture in Nepal
Krishna Mandir, Patan Nepal

Krishna Mandir, which was built by King Siddhinarsingha Malla of the Malla government, is possibly one of the greatest examples of Nepalese shikhara-style architecture. According to legend, the monarch saw Lord Krishna appearing in front of his palace in a dream, which led to the construction of this temple. He subsequently made the decision to construct a Krishna temple there. The temple hosts Krishna Jayanta every year in August and September to commemorate Lord Krishna’s birth.

Architecture and Symbols

This Krishna Mandir’s structure includes 21 precisely sculpted pinnacles with excellent artwork that shows the outstanding elegance and caliber of the work done by Nepalese craftsmen in earlier times. There are three stories that are located under the spires, and it is supposed that each one contains three separate gods—Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna, and Lord Lokeshwar.

Location: Patan Durbar Square, Lalitpur

Style of Architecture: Shikhara Style

Entry Fee

No entry fee

10. Namobuddha Stupa

Nepali Architecture | 10 Wonders of Architecture in Nepal
Namobuddha Stupa

One of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage locations in the entire globe is Namobuddha. According to legend, this is the location where Lord Buddha, in a past life as a prince, gave his body as a sacrifice to a starving tigress and her cubs. For this reason, the location is often also called “Takmo Lu Jin,” which is Tibetan for “Tigress Body Generosity.” According to pilgrims, this stupa was constructed over Lord Buddha’s bones to honor his enormous sacrifice.

Architecture and Symbols

The Namobuddha Stupa is made up of a pinnacle at the top, a hemispherical dome that is smaller than the other stupas, and five additional smaller stupas that represent the five Buddhist elements of air, water, fire, earth, and space in addition to the main stupa.

Location: Kavreplanchwok, Nepal

Style of Architecture: Stupa Style

Entry Fee

No entry fee

Conclusion

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