As one of the three royal centres of the Kathmandu Valley in the Nepalese Himalayas, Bhaktapur is a thriving city with some 40,000 inhabitants. Over almost two millenia, its original inhabitants of the valley, the Newars, have shaped a unique urban culture that preserved a pre-industrial lifestyle until the middle of the twentieth century. The city’s festivals punctuate the calendar in such a way that urban space turns into a stage for quite a number of civic performances. In these rituals, the supernaturals and humans act collectively to ensure the continuity of time and space. Among the many festivals of the year, ten occasions are selected. Of these, the celebration of the New Year – Bisketjātrā – in April, the Farewell to the Dead – Gāījātrā – in August and the Victory of the goddess Durgā – Dasāīn – in October are of significant meaning for the well-being of the community. Moreover, the ritual of the Navadurgā Deities leaves an imprint on the spatial and temporal integrity of the urban realm over a period of nine months.
2 volume set in wooden slipcase
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About the Author
Niels Gutschow, born in 1941 in Hamburg as the son of an architect, first came to Nepal in 1962, studied architecture in Darmstadt and returned to Bhaktapur in 1971 as a member of a team to restore the Pujarima_h. In the 1970s his research focused on Urban Space and Ritual; later he shifted toward architectural surveys which materialised in two major publications: The Nepalese Caitya. 1500 Years of Buddhist Votive Architecture in the Kathmandu Valley (1997) and Architecture of the Newars. A History of Building Typologies and Details in Nepal (2011). For a period of 45 years his attention has been strongly linked to the seasonal festivals of Bhaktapur, of which this publication presents ten major events. Gutschow lives at Tahaja near Bhaktapur and Abtsteinach, Germany. Since 2003 he has been an Honorary Professor at the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University.