Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Kumari Ghar Kathmandu Durbar Square

By Chhanya Nidal

In the last article, I mentioned about Kathmandu Durbar Square as a multifunctional urban spaces. I would love to continue a little of more about it. This article is about the Kumari house which is a 17th century house, an exemplified example of highly developed temple craft.
Toward the south end of the Square is the three story brick building with magnificent intricate carvings. This house is well known for this reason as well as its divine inhabitant. This is a house of living goddess where she performs her daily rituals.
Worshipping an ordinary pre-pubescent girl as a source of supreme power has been an integral ancient practice in Hindu as well as Buddhist tradition in Nepal, especially in Kathmandu valley

Kumari is generally four or five years old girl from Shakya or Bajracharya community and the selection of Kumari is very rigorous which is done with highly elaborate tantric ritual. After becoming Kumari she is taken to this Kumari house. She is considered as an incarnation of Goddess Durga.  She stays as long as when she menstruates or bleeds for any other reason, including a minor scratch too. The goddess is believed to vacate the Kumari’s body and then she gets reverted to the original state and her replacement begins.On the front facade of the house, one can see different types of windows on all the floors. All the windows are master piece of carvings. On the second floor, the window directly over the main entrance is gold plated in the center from where Kumari gives the glimpse to the visitors.

This house is built around a court yard with amazingly beautiful carved door, pillars and windows inclined toward the courtyard. One can see the magnificent relics of god and symbols overs the doors, pillars and windows. Non Hindus are only allowed to enter to the courtyard. However, Kumari usually admits her greetings 

from the balcony window. During different street festivals and occasions, the Kumari is carried around the Durbar Square in a chariot

The roof of the house is beautifully laid with terracotta tiles with a pinnacle called gajur, at its top. Generally, a normal residence does not hold pinnacle. In Hindu religion one can only see pinnacle on the temple roof.  Being the house of living goddess, it holds pinnacle on its roof top and is the pride of Kumari house. This place is always crowded with visitors and foreigners who come with curiosity to know about Kumari and her beautiful abode. They seem to be very happy, enjoying the serene environment and spectacular architecture of Durbar Square.

Almost all my articles in this blog come from my self-experience or case studies or visits to different places. This blog has been a good platform for me to share my experiences during my study tenure and travelling through my country. And I would love share these with all the readers.
You might feel fascinating to know these amazing cultures, traditions and architecture of Nepal. And whenever you make a tour to Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, make sure not to miss Kathmandu Durbar Square.

Thank you all.

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