Bhaktapur - Nepal: Urban Space and Ritual
Author: Niels Gutschow
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 – Bisketj?tr? – in April, the Farewell to the Dead – G??j?tr? – in August and the Victory of the goddess Durg? – Das??n – in October are of significant meaning for the well-being of the community. Moreover, the ritual of the Navadurg? 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