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Medieval Cultural Tour Half day walking tour from Kwohity to Thahity
 
This eye-opening kaleidoscopic tour takes you through the medieval Kathmandu from downtown Kwoneya to uptown Thaneya marked by their respective stone waterspouts popularly known as Kwohity (downtown water spout) and Thahity (uptown water spout). This tour will provide an opportunity to observe unique traditional architecture and at the same time experience and understand the cultural living force of the then Nepalese society.

Background
In 724 AD King Gunakamadev founded “YEN” the old Kathmandu City which is protected by God-Guardian, the Bhairab, popularly called Aaju Dyo by local Newar community at the main entrance and 8 grandmother goddesses, the Ajimas at each peripheral point which together gives the shape of Khadga, a double edged sword in the shape of triangular head and a rectangular body. He inaugurated the newly built state with 1800 houses on the full moon day known as Yendyaa Punhi in the month of Bhadra. The limits of old Kathmandu once defined by a protective wall with 33 gates and same number of Toles (blocks), was just 1.5 miles long from north to south and less than half a mile from east to west. From Durbar Square its farthest boundary can be reached on foot within 10 minutes. Inside the core city exists 113-Buddhist courtyard (bahals), with the remaining 17 bahals, scattered around the periphery. Altogether there exist 1800 stupas and chaityas established to demonstrate and propagate the teachings of Buddha. The city also houses 32 nasa dyo (god of etiquette and successful presentation of music, dance, and other performances), 4 Narayan, 26 Ganesh, 107 water spout, and 16 Ajima temples and lineage houses (Dyochen).

In 1750 AD King Jaya Prakash Malla built residential temple for the living goddess Kumari. He founded the chariot festival of Gods Bhairab, Ganesh and Goddess Kumari during autumn during Indra Jatra and Yendya Punhi on the streets of Upper and Lower Cities i.e. Thanye and Kwonye of Kathmandu. An additional chariot procession is observed on the day known as Nanichaya (four days after Indra Jatra Festival) starting from Kilagal. It was initiated upon request of the royal concubine (Nani) to watch the chariot festival from her house.

In 1786 the King of Gorkha Prihvi Narayan Shah expanded the core city after the invasion. Former wall of the city was torn down; the urbanization process engulfed the villages around the former core city creating a bigger metropolitan city of today’s Kathmandu. In this walk we have included the former city’s main sites of great interest. Some of the prominent sites starting from Pachali Bhairab in the route are described below.
 
PACHALI BHAIRAB

King Gunakamadev established Pachali Bhairab as a gatekeeper at the southernmost city entrance near the bank of Bagmati River. In those days every door of houses, temples and dyochen were made in a triangular shape and painted with eyes and sword depicting the residence of Bhairab. Every year on the fifth day of the 12th lunar month of Kaula (September October), the festival of Pachali Bhairab is observed, when the main statue of the God is displayed at its main site. That night a procession of local farmers will carries the Pachali con, a big traditional metallic vessel and the symbol of the Bhairab, simply lifting by hands along the main street of Kwonye. It starts from Pachali up to the Durbar Square and back, where it should be placed till next festival. Similarly Bhairab dance, introduced by the King Amar Malla  in 1460 AD is still being observed every 12 year at  the premises of  Pachali. 

Continue walk through Machali, Inakha, Brahma Tole and Tukan Bahal-Narayan Temples. There are four main temples of Narayan or Lord Vishnu, of which Nem Narayan shrine lie near the southern border of old Kathmandu built in 725 AD. Other temples built during the Malla Dynasty in 17th century are Wande Narayan, Ikha Narayan and Atak Narayan.

JAISIDEWAL

Laxmi Narayan, a powerful minister during the rein of King Bhupalendra Malla built the temple built on 8-storied plinth in 1688 AD. This temple is popularly known as Jaisi Dewal. He dedicated it to Lord Shiva. In 1692 AD Queen Riddhi Laxmi built Majju Dewal temple similar to Jaisi Degal but on 9-stage plinth at Basantapur.

KWOHITY

It is a waterspout of Kwone, the lower town of Kathmandu. This part of town is residential area of the working class of society mainly artists, farmers and services providing community. The date of construction of the spout was not known but it was renovated in 1780 AD. Walk through the street of Chikanmugal passing along the Atak Narayan towards Kasthamandap.

KASTHAMANDAP

It is a rest house for traders at Maru tole built from a single tree that was provided by Kalpa Briksha, the tree of paradise that came to observe the chariot festival of Amoghapas Lokeswor popularly called Jana Baha dyo. He was held a prisoner during this occasion and negotiated by giving a tree on condition for his release.

KABINDRAPUR

It is a house of nasa dyo constructed at Maru tole by King Pratap Malla where he used to perform dance and music ceremonies. Kathmandu has 32 nasa dyo, which is worshipped before learning the art of music and dance. Also known as dhansa dyo chen, it was rebuilt after the 1932 earthquake.     

ASHOK BINAYAK

One of the four main Ganesh of Kathmandu valley at Maru Tole. The idol was discovered near the sacred Ashoka tree during the reign of King Gunkamdev. The temple built in 18th century does not have a gajur (pinnacle) on top, hence the name of the temple is popularly known as Maru Ganedyo.

Proceed to Yetkha Bahal, where a Buddhist stupa is erected. It is a nice example of brick flooring technology where weed do not grow.

Continue towards Itum Bahal through Chokachhen Galli. It is the largest bahal operated by 100 Bajracharyas and 400 Shakya families. Keshchandra built it in 11th century who became a wealthy man due to pigeons who left gold dung on feeding his rotten grain. He built Tundikhel for his worker Gurumapa who is offered 80 pounds of rice and a buffalo each year in Tundikhel parade ground during Ghode Jatra festival.

12.00 noon            Break for tea/cold drinks and rest room.

The route now leads through Kilagal with Pulu Kishi Chhen and reach Jana Bahal. It is the home of the principle deity of Kathmandu Jan Baha dyo or white Machhindra Nath or Amoghapasa Lokeshwar. The Lokeshwar’s chariot festival lasts for 3 days in the core city, which is celebrated in the month of April. The deity is worshipped for longevity, prosperity and good rain.

ASON AJIMA

Ason Ajima is known as Annapurna Devi and is worshipped in the form of purna kalash- a “holy vase filled with grain” built in 987 AD by local traders for prosperity and cure for children’s disease. The temple was renovated in 1942 AD. The deity is worshipped on Sundays. This is the most important traditional business hub of old Kathmandu.

From Ason continue to Teuda- and Dhwaka Bahal. This bahal contain Lichhavi period stone chaitya with four different images of Buddha framed by ornamented pilasters and bracket coital supporting a cosmos decorated with foliage. It is the home of Gun Jyoti who built Chusya Bahal, which hold the finest wooden architecture of ancient Kathmandu.

From Nagah Bahal proceed to Sigha Bahal. It is a bahal established by Wak Bajra who brought the Buddhist stupa all the way from Benaras with aid of simple thread during the reign of King Nripendra Malla in 1670 AD. He invited Shakya families from Ason Tole to reside and perform the annual festival of the stupa.

After observing Sigha Bahal visit Thahity also known as Thane. It is the upper town waterspout in Kathmandu. The place has a white Chaitya built by Wak Bajra to cover the stone spout that used to flow with golden sand. The place is the end part of the city called Thane, which is inhabited by upper class of the society mainly, priests and merchants.

KWA BAHAL

Home of the tantric priest Wak Bajra who made a stupa that followed him from Benaras that is known as Sigha chaitya today. After installing the stupa, he meditated inside this bahal for the rest of his life. The bahal also has its own Kumari worshipped by its branch bahals.

Thamel, THAMBAHI

Constructed by Singha Sarth Bahu who led 500 tradesmen to Lhasa in the 11th century. During Holi Punhi (full moon), his portrait known as Chakandeo is brought out to celebrate his heroic deed of slaying demons that followed him back to his hometown.

Lunch at Kathmandu Guest House,

Departure

Note: This tour takes place before commencing or ending other nature tour packages. This program is provided as complimentary to all the clients of Nepalnature.com. The objective of this program is to provide in-depth cultural and natural background information of Nepal.
 


 
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