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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


Manoj Manandhar said...

i really find this very interesting. how people of common interest can be linked through the help of internet. Mr. Friedhelm needs to be thanked and appreicated for his interest in nepal and its culture and Alok for his determination to get this janabaha project going for a fruitful future and its preservation. the pdf file can definitely be translated by someone who knows japanese and which i am sure will have a lot of information that could be shared with the masses. the japanese people have always shared similar culture as of nepalese and have contributed immensely for its preservation, this one a very good example.

keep up the good work guys and keep the contact chain going as this is the only way janabaha can be preserved for the future generation to witness and cherish. generate interest, make them realize the dangers it faces and the vlaue it holds and make them inerested to act for the cause.

Manoj Manandhar
Sales & Marketing Officer
Manakamana Darshan (P) Ltd
P.O.Box: 4416
Nagpokhari, Naxal, Kathmandu, Nepal
Ph: 4434690, 4434825, 4434648, 4434860. Ext: 25
fax: 4434515

Abin Pradhan, Charlotte, NC, USA said...


Congratulations to Herr Nunnemann for the discovery of the article in the Nitya Puja!! Although the 'bulls-eye' to get the floor plan was missed I have a great hunch that this article (of course after its translation to English) will be a great asset for the hunt for the floor plan as well as other treasured archives related to the Janabahaa Heritage. I would like to to draw the attention of all enthusiastic researchers to a rich and comprehensive list of bibliography at the end of that article by the Japanese Team. Also, it might be well worth the effort, I believe, to see if the whereabout of any member of that team could be found. I am quite sure they would be enthralled to hear about the renovation plan that is currently underway at Janabahaa.

Once again, "vielen danke!" to our new Deutsche Freunde and kudos to Alok for being the one-man communication marshal for administering and maintaining the blog. I am very hopeful it will connect more people globally that are interested in our rich culture and heritage. Good job man!


Friedhelm Nunnemann said...

Namaste Alok Tuladhar,
it would be very nice if you could give me detailled informations about the route of the Dipankhar Yatra March this year. I´m happy to have such a good contact to Kathmandu.

With my criminological (not criminal!) nose I found more informations about the japanese author. It is - perhaps - Mr. Mori Masahide of the Kanazawa University, Department of Comparative Culture. The article is (?) "The Daily Worship Service in Jana Baha" Sambhasa Vol. 10, pp. 71 - 90. He also wrote an article "The Stupas of Jana Baha". You see Google is a helpful instrument!

Due to the posting of our email conservation in your blog. I´ve got some emails written by two other Kathmandu guys, but because of a harddisk crash of my brandnew lap top some days ago, I lost the emails and I couldn´t reply to these friends.

I little hint in the blog would be helpful. Perhaps they then can repeat their emails.

Have a nice weekend
with best regards
Friedhelm Nunnemann