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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lovers' Paradise?

Is Janabahaa frequented by couples looking for a quite dating spot?
Well, a picture speaks a thousand word.

Photos by Alok Tuladhar.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Flying Bull

One cannot help wonder if this bull is related to the Dipankha bull in Nagbahaa, Lalitpur, though that one does not have wings. In the past, there were four of these “flying bulls” in Janabahaa, but only one of them has survived the test of time. The stone craftsmen who are at present repairing the chaityas (memorials shrines) in the Janabahaa complex are going to try and rebuild three of these bulls with wings and place them at the exact spots where they once rested. Do visit Janabahaa sometime and find out for yourself where the lone bull is, and where they have gone missing from. After all, Janabahaa is open 24X7.

Photos by Alok Tuladhar.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Hunt!

Friedhelm Nunnemann is a retired quality management specialist from Germany, and is a fan of Kathmandu's cultural and architectural heritage. He recently found us via this blog, and has single-handedly delivered the results that we have been trying to achieve for a long time now -- locating the floor plan of Janabahaa created by a Janapese research team more than two decades ago. As it turns out, the research was specifically about the Nitya Puja -- the daily rituals conducted by the priest caretaker (dyo pala) of the Janabahaa Dyo temple. We now know, thanks to our new German friend, that the research was conducted at Janabahaa by a team from Kanazawa University of Japan.

Given below is the email trail that led to this discovery.

From: F. Nunnemann
Sent: Sunday, November 08, 2009 5:15 PM
Subject: Please help me !

my name is Friedhelm Nunnemann, 67 years old and living in Germany.
I visited Nepal seven times and I´m very interested in the culture
and architecture of Kathmandu Valley.
During my studies I found a plan of Janabahaa (Attachment 1) but didn´t
find the author of this googling in the net. The author must be a japanese
scholar conducting a project about Janabahaa some years ago.
Do you know this group or some sources of information about the results ?
It would be very kind, if you could help me.
Waiting for your answer
with best regards
Friedhelm Nunnemann

From: Alok Tuladhar
Sent: Sunday, November 08, 2009 6:02 PM
To: 'F. Nunnemann'
Cc: 'Sampurna Tuladhar'; 'Jai Rajbhandari'
Subject: RE: Please help me !

Dear F. Nunnemann,

Thank you for your mail, and for your interest in our cultural heritage. We do not know the author of this plan, nor do we have any information about it. In fact, I was just talking to a college group yesterday at Janabahaa, and I had mentioned this very plan to them. We do have two other plans of Janabahaa with us, but I had told the students yesterday that we need to hunt down a plan that a Japanese team had developed. What a coincidence!

Well, let me ask you – where did you get this plan?

Are you a scholar of eastern culture? An architect? How did you find out about us? We are very interested to hear from you.


Alok Tuladhar
for Janabahaa Society

From: F. Nunnemann
Sent: Sunday, November 08, 2009 7:49 PM
To: Alok Tuladhar
Subject: RE: Please help me ! (2)

Namaskar Alok Tuladhar,
thank you for your quick and surprising answer. I´m happy to have this contact with you and Nepal.
Here my answers :
1. I found this literature in the internet by googling (Bahal, Bahil, Vihara etc.) and at that time I have
copied only this one page I sent to you. Later on I didn´t find the same page, because I don´t know the name
of the author or other tag words.
2. I found your address in your very informing and nice Blog (
3. I´m retiered. Before that I was at Mercedes responsible for exhaust emission and later for quality management. Nepals heritage is my time consuming hobby.
My last visit was september / october last year.
My next visit will be october next year.
I wonder who of us will find the origin of the plan.
Best Regards
F. Nunnemann

From: F. Nunnemann
Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 10:03 PM
To: Alok Tuladhar
Subject: RE: Please help me ! (3)

Namaste Alok Tuladhar,
now I found the literature I asked for - quite by chance - in the web :
Perhaps you are interested in it.
With best regards
Friedhelm Nunnemann

From: Alok Tuladhar
Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 11:03 PM
To: 'F. Nunnemann'
Subject: RE: Please help me ! (3)

Wow! This is quite a discovery. I have dreamt for finding this document for a long time, and had inquired with lots of people about it. Many elders knew about the research project that the Japanese team had conducted, but no one could give me any concrete links on how to trace the researchers. Now you have achieved the results on your own!

Thank you very much indeed.

I will share information about this discovery with my blog readers, of course, with due credit to you. I will hide your email address, unless you desire otherwise.

PS: I am sure we will be able to meet when you come to Kathmandu next.


Alok Tuladhar
for Janabahaa Society

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More Engineering Inputs

During the planning stage of the renovation of the main Janabahaa Dyo temple, MEH Consultants Pvt. Ltd. had sent a team of surveyors and architects, led by senior engineer Manik Tuladhar, to measure the floor plans of the temple. As a results of that exercise, we have on record the detailed measurements of the temple structure in CAD format, thanks to the dedicated team from MEH.

Manik Tuladhar (right) briefs a metal technician. Photo by Alok Tuladhar.

Maink Tuladhar oversaw the entire renovation of the Janabahaa Dyo temple from the structural engineering perspective. He has had a distinguished career, including many years in a senior position at the Institute of Engineering of Tribhuvan University, and is a founder director of MEH Consultants. With a M.S. (Structures) degree from the University of Hawaii, USA and a B.E. (Civil) degree from the University of Kashmir, India, he has over 35 years of experience as structural engineer and computer analyst. He has extensively used modern computer software packages for design of civil engineering structures. He has vast experience in structural design of buildings, commercial complexes, bridges, drainage works and water supply related projects. He continues to contribute his experience and talent to the Digi Chhen reconstruction that is being planned with much gusto at present.

Kathmandu-based MEH Consultants is a consulting company that renders consulting services in engineering, health, education, agriculture, forestry and other sectors. MEH was established in 1997 by senior professionals who were actively engaged in the consulting profession since the last two decades.

Gajoo elevation.

Ground floor plan.

First floor plan.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Daloo Cleaning: A Perennial Chore

The "daloo" cleaning campaign is a never-ending one. It takes about two weeks for the daloos to get back to their dirt-laden condition. The leftover oil attracts dust and pigeon feathers quite easily. It is not surprising that the bird droppings accumulate fairly quickly, given the huge pigeon population in the courtyard. Here are some pictures of a clean-up campaign conducted in June 2008, with participation from devotees, local residents and members of the official priest clan.

Use of gas burner to melt the dirt before scraping it off.

Melting away the dirt using a high-power gas burner.

Dipankar Shakya (in hat) scraping off the melted dirt with thick (gunny bag) cloth.

Nabin Shakya, a member of the priest clan, scraping the daloos clean with a knife.

Subarna Chitrakar scraping the melted dirt.

The end result.

Photos by Sampurna Tuladhar.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Minutes of November 7 meeting

Here are the latest versions of the conceptual drawings of the Digi Chhen for it proposed reconstruction. The central windows have been scaled down in this version so that they fit in one story, as opposed to the previous one where they were almost one-and-half floors in scale.
Minutes of November 7 Meeting (Recorded by Umesh Kaji Tamrakar)
Janabaha Agam chen
Meeting title
Site meeting on modified plans and conceptual elevation and section
Mr. Tirtha Dhar Tuladhar

Mr. Nil Kaji Shakya

Ms. Rajani Tamrakar

Mr. Bibhuti Man Singh

Mr. Manik Tuladhar

Mr. Rajesh Shrestha

Mr. Nabin Shakya

Mr. Buddha Shakya

Mr. Alok Tuladhar

Mr. Umesh Kaji Tamrakar
Columns grid towards the courtyard side to shift along the wall so that the hall in the second floor becomes column free space

Toilet to be removed from first floor and instead have two toilets in the ground floor.

Shallow well instead of underground water tank for rain water harvesting

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Getting Blogged in Popular Nepali Blog

The first, and apparently the most popular, blog in Nepali,, posted two stories (part 1 and part 2) with the title "Kathmandu 54 Years Ago" recently. The posts were about the screening of footage of Kathmandu valley shot it 1955-57 held outside Janabahaa on the occasion of Yenyaa Punih (Indra Jatra) on September 3 this year.

It seems the blogger Salokya sat through the entire three-hour screening with his video camera, and enjoyed it so much that he thought it worthy of publishing two separate posts about the screening on his highly admired blog. Pictured here are a couple of interesting screen shots from, which boasts an unprecendented 200+ simultaneous viewers from all over the world at any given time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Engaging the Youth

The ongoing cleaning campaign at Janabahaa resumed on November 7, 2009 Saturday with zealous participation of about fifteen volunteers students from Nepal College of Travel & Tourism Management, Naxal, Kathmandu. Besides rallying the much-needed muscle power to help keep the artifacts around the courtyard clean, this activity serves in a major way to gain entry into the minds of today’s youth and to instill a sense of belonging in them about our one-of-a-kind heritage.

As part of the program, Alok Tuladhar, representing Janabahaa Society, gave brief a tour of the premises and conducted a short interaction with the students about the various issues concerning Janabahaa and the participation of people in their possible solutions. Most of the participations willingly became members of the Society, which showed their keen interest to be part of the preservation efforts at Janabahaa.

Special appreciation goes to Raman Nepali and team from Nodan Club for facilitating this event.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

History Repeats Itself

Did the inventors of these have any practical purpose in mind, besides being objects of beauty, devotion and faith? One cannot help but wonder, as the power cut season draws nearer by the day, could lighting be one of those?

Photo by Alok Tuladhar.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Cleaning effort continued

Cleaning is a continuous process. It requires people’s involvement. And involvement is a good thing.

In an effort to give continuity to the cleaning campaign at Janabahaa, (, Janabahaa Society has re-initiated the campaign of inviting different groups, especially the youth, to Janabahaa and involving them in the cleaning of various religious and archeological artifacts in this sacred courtyard.

To start with, a  group of about twenty students from the Ace Institute of Management (, Sinamangal, Kathmandu were mobilized to clean up the “daloo” or oil lamp posts on three sides the main temple building on October 11, 2009. These students were all from the BBA and BBA-BI First Semester of Ace, and belonged to the volunteer group RUNVAN, or Returned United Nations Volunteers Association of Nepal ( Coordinated by Santosh Bohara and facilitated by Ambika Poudel, this group not only carried out the cleaning work with much gusto, but also uploaded photos and feedback about this activity on their own blog site at

After the cleanup, Alok Tuladhar led a brief group discussion with the students at the Janabahaa Society office about the ongoing preservation works at Janabahaa and its significance to the unique historical, religious and cultural identity of the country. Free membership to the Society was also offered to the participants of the cleanup program that day.

Photos by Alok Tuladhar