Coming Soon to a Browser Near You:
Live Street Video : : 10 cameras : : 24 hours

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Holy Grit

This post is in continuation of previous posts about the repair works that were carried out on the main Janabahaa Dyo temple (Renovation Works Officially Launched and Thinking Out of the Box) and the antiquities found lying around (Doorway to the Past and History Unearthed).

Photos by Alok Tuladhar.

Countless heaps of dust and muck were removed from the upper floors during the cleaning up process to replace the flooring.

All the grime was collected in the courtyard...

...and sifted through meticulously.

 Mummified mice and pigeons were a common find.

A few artifacts were found in the dirt, though of no great value. 

These are some of the dyo pala gurujus (caretaker priests of Janabahaa Dyo) who personally undertook most of the renovation works at the temple. Indra Bajracharya (in red jacket) from Bhinchhebahaa, Patan is not associated with Janabahaa Dyo, but was the lead technician in the repair works, drawing from his vast experience of working with similar projects earlier.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Children of Karunamaya III

Today, we are faced with the challenge of uncontrolled cramming up of the core areas of Kathmandu with population overflow from all over the country, and from neighboring India as well. Janabahaa is no exception. Despite that, this holy courtyard remains a favorite recreational area for children from the entire neighborhood. The clutter of stupas in the courtyard does not seem to bother them -- in fact, it helps make a perfect hide-and-seek playground.

This is a sequel to earlier posts Children of Karunamaya and Children of Karunamaya II on this blog.

Photos by Alok Tulahdar.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Faces V

Janabahaa is a heaven for people watchers. It is relatively calm, though there is plenty going on. People are hectically engaged either in commerce, or in trying to take control of their karma. Or they are just chilling out.

Photos by Alok Tuladhar.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Faces IV

Here are some fervent believers who frequent Janabahaa these days, but might not do so for too long, for obvious reasons.

Photos by Alok Tuladhar.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Minutes of Meeting, September 12 (re: Digi Chhen Design Review)

This meeting was called to further analyze the revised drawing ( which was arrived at after the meeting of September 8, 2009 (

All interested individuals and organizations are requested to provide their feedback, comments, criticism, suggestions, contributions and inputs of any kind no later than October 20, 2009 by commenting on this blog or by sending email to to help in the decision making process in an efficient, all-encompassing manner.

Minutes (recorded by Umesh Tamrakar)
Janabaha Agam chen
Meeting title
Site meeting on modified plans
Mr. Tirtha Dhar Tuladhar

Mr. Nil Kaji Shakya

Mr. Bijay Shrestha

Mr. Prem Ratna Bajracharya

Ms. Rajani Tamrakar

Mr. Dinesh Bajra Bajracharya

Mr. Indra Raj Bajracharya

Mr. Alok Tuladhar

Mr. Jai Rajbhandari

Mr. Umesh Kaji Tamrakar



Can Bhajan space be relocated? It was agreed that it can.


Bhajan space along with office space be combined as multipurpose space for Bhajan, information centre, display hall, meeting etc.
Umesh developing plans

One public pay toilet on the ground floor with access from outside and one on upper floors for Gurjus. May be keep the position of the public toilet in the ground floor as is in the drawing with access from Balkumari road.


Can Basement/ Semi basement be provided?
New by laws says yes

If the ht. permits (i.e not exceeding the ht. of the actual temple) can one more floor be added? As per by laws there is restriction to ht. 35’ for Preserved monument sub zone and 45’ for Cultural heritage sub-zone. For buildings in Preserved monument sub zone maximum 4 storey each 8’ ht.
Ht. of temple is being measured by Graphic survey team on 13.09.09.
Umesh to confirm whether this area lies in Preserved monument sub-zone or Cultural heritage sub-zone.


Can entrance be made narrower than 13’? Entrance was made smaller from around 16’ to 13’.


This revised drawing incorporates all suggestions that came up in the meeting of September 8, 2009 (please see Thanks to architect Umesh Tamrakar for updating the drawing.


Here is the engineering drawing of the Digi Chhen for its proposed reconstruction, converted to CAD format (digitized) by Umesh Tamrakar from the hand-drawn concept drawing of senior architect Bibhuti Man Singh (please see earlier posts at and

Friday, September 18, 2009

Faces III

Scores of families earn a livelihood out of Janabahaa. Any development work, including renovation, preservation, sanctification, etc. should not overlook that fact. The need to strike a balance between change and impact is inescapable. Here are some faces of people who depend upon Janabahaa for their very survival.

After all, Janabahaa Dyo (or Karunamaya) is all about compassion, isn't it?

Photos by Alok Tuladhar.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Modern architecture is spiritually dead." - Bibhuti Man Singh

His bio reads like this: "still trying to confirm some inner certainties about architecture: hopelessly romantic, incurably impractical."

Sounds familiar? Yes, that is our own Bibhuti Man Singh, who graduated from the West Pakistan University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore in 1972. He completed his Post Graduate training through a JICA sponsored program. He is the Chief Architect of Kathmandu-based architecture firm Technical Interface and the Former president of the Society of Nepalese Architects (SONA). Some the projects he worked on include the Park Village Resort at Budhanilkantha, Club Himalaya at Nagarkot, Himalayan Pavilion in Hanover Expo 2000, etc.

His most recent endeavor is the conceptualization of the Digi Chhen for its proposed reconstruction (please see His preliminary proposal for the Digi Chen reconstruction will ultimately feature the following:
  1. A revival of the classical composition that existed before the fire.
  2. A more streamlined composition of functional spaces on each floor.
  3. A visitor-friendly depiction of popular imagery on the facade.
  4. Fixtures & finishes more in line with contemporary sensitivities.
  5. Repair & reuse of existing artifacts & materials (adaptive reuse).
He also believes in fully documenting the whole process of creating the new design for the Digi Chhen as it unfolds over the coming months in a transparent and inclusive manner with the aim of incorporating all conflicting or competing interests or perspectives into the final design.

You can read some of his published interviews at and

If you have any questions for him, please feel free to put up them up as a comment to this post together with your email address, and they will be forwarded to him.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Standing 53.64173228346457 feet tall

Remember all the high-tech stuff going on at Janabhaa the other day ( Well, the result of that survey is out, and the height of the main Janabhaa Dyo temple is officially declared as 53.64173228346457 feet (16.35 meters). Thanks again to Achyut Bajracharya and team from Graphic Survey & Design Consult for conducting this very important task so efficiently.

Ownership obtained, officially!

No one knows when the Digi Chhen was built, or who build it. Though it has been used all along as a community center, it was not clear who the actual owner of the property was. But that changed forever on July 21, 2009, when the government issued the official land ownership certificate (or lalpurja) to "Shree Seto Machhindra Nathko Aagan Ghar (Digi Agamchhen)." This herculean feat was made possible because of the efforts of the local community -- the different groups of people who use the building in various ways.

Faces II

When this infrequent visitor showed up at Janabahaa out of the blue, it caused quite a commotion, disturbing the tranquility for a while. Photos by Alok Tuladhar.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Minutes of Meeting, September 8 (re: Digi Chhen)

Conceptual drawing of front façade of Digi Chen for its proposed reconstruction. Drawing by senior architect Bibhuti Man Singh.

Proposed conceptual floor plan drawings for the ground, first and second floors of the Digi Chen. All drawings by senior architect Bibhuti Man Singh.

 Meeting held on September 8, 2009 to analyze the conceptual drawings shown above.

Minutes (Recorded by Umesh Tamrakar)
Janabaha Agam chen
Meeting title
Site meeting
Ananda Shakya, Thakuli
Ratna Harsha Shakya
Devananda Shakya
Kanak Shakya
Nil Kaji Shakya
Swayambhu Bajracharya
Mindu Bajracharya
Dharma Shakya
Suresh Bajracharya
Pushpa Shakya
Buddha Ratna Shakya
Prem Ratna Shakya
Nabin Shakya
Dipankar Shakya
Mr. Tirtha Dhar Tuladhar
Mr. Manik Tuladhar
Jai Rajbhandari
Mr. Alok Tuladhar
Rajani Tamrakar
Mr. Umesh Kaji Tamrakar
‘Kopa dyo chen’ room size to increase
Kitchen to accommodate 12-15 psn, preparation space required
‘Bhajan’ room size to be increased 12-15 psn, can be relocated to the left of entrance
Toilet required
Bai dyo space needs to be used as office space as well
Existing ‘Mahankal dyo’ to be placed against the wall so that it can be seen from the road
Entrance can be slightly reduced in width if space is limited for ‘Bhajan’ and Kitchen
Internal decorative columns were advised to be removed as it might cause obstruction
‘Agam dyo’ needs privacy so access from the east through the middle room suggested rather than from the verandah in the west where it opens up to the courtyard.
Verandah space to be included in the room – gurjus to have direct view from the rooms to the main deity
‘Agam dyo’ room size to be increased by removing store
Verandah to be included in the hall/ store thereby increasing the hall/ store size
Store to be relocated near the stair with access from the hall
Gurjus suggested in the reconstruction of elevation that existed before 1972 fire

The minutes and conceptual drawings have been posted in this public blog site during this planning phase with the objective of providing transparency and inclusiveness in the decision-making process. Those of you who are unable to attend the meeting physically may criticize the concepts and suggestions that have developed so far via this blog or by email ( and your comments will be given due importance. Totally original thoughts and proposals are also very welcome at this time. Photos by Alok Tuladhar.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Focusing on the Digi Chhen

The Agam Chhen or Digi Chhen is the multipurpose public building on the eastern face of Janabahaa, and houses the main entrance and passageway to the bahaa complex. It was completely burnt down in a fire in 1917 AD, and was rebuilt with an European-style façade, in which form it stands today.

Achyut Bajracharya and team from Graphic Survey & Design Consult measure the height of the main temple. It is believed that all buildings around the bahaa should be less than the main temple in height.

The next major undertaking at Janabahaa will be to reconstruct this building from the ground up, with a typical Newaa portico. Given the limited space available, accommodating all the functions of this building is probably the most challenging part, as it includes the following known functions:
1. Main entrance and passage to the bahaa
2. Kwa Paa Dyo (resident deity of the bahaa)
3. Kitchen for the dyo pala (caretaker priest)
4. Agam Chhen, a sacred shrine where highly private religious rituals are carried out by the Uraya and Barey castes.
5. Bhajan
6. Bahi Dyo
7. Shops
8. Bhoe Chhen (party venue) for religious and cultural functions
9. Office and reception
10. Educational venue (e.g., Teaching of Gunla Bajan for about one month every year)
11. Community meeting place
12. Storage

Individuals and organizations who are concerned with Janabahaa and the activities that take place at the Digi Chhen are meeting at least once a week to brainstorm on how to come up with the best design for the building that will meet all of the functions as well as meet aesthetic values and modern architectural principles.

Digi Chhen from the outside (top) and inside (above) as it looks now.

Veteran architects Bibhuti Man Singh (former president of Society of Nepalese Architects) and Manik Tuladhar (former Assistant Dean of Tribhuvan University, Institute of Engineering), along with architect Umesh Tamrakar are providing their expertise to these discussions with great vigor and unsurpassed vision.

Photos by Alok Tuladhar.