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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 fa├žade, 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.


People come to Janabahaa for a myriad of reasons. Here are some faces that you see in Janabahaa over the course of a typical day.

Photos by Alok Tuladhar.