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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Historical Background

The Kathmandu Valley civilization is around 3000 years old. It has been claimed that the valley was a large pond in the early geological period and it was only when the pond was drained that the valley was ready for human settlement. There is also a legend which reinforces the story that a certain Bodhistav called Manjushree came to Kathmandu Valley and cut the george in Chobhar with his flaming sword and drained the water out of the valley making it ready for human settlement.

The fertile land supported large settlements, and over the centuries diffrent dynasties that ruled the valley patronized an urban civilization with its rich cultural heritage. Politically the present days Nepal was divided inti petty principalities and the earliest ruling class of Nepal were the Gopalas, Mahispalas and kiratis dynastries who were followed by Lichhavi (185-750 A.D). The Lichhavi period is known as the classical period of Nepalese history because it was during this period that art and architecture began to take shape. Trade and crafts flourished under them, and they built magnificent temples, palaces and monuments.

But it was only the later Malla period and the early Shah period from 14th to the 18th centuries the valley's fabulous cities with their exquistic pagoda,shikhara and stupa architecture,ornate palaces and artistic temples came to take shape in the form that we see it today.

However the present day neo-classical buildings were built only during the second half of the 19th century (Rana Regime) with Nepal's first contact the western countries.

Sculputures,wood craft and stone works were the medium and means on which the expert hand and imagination of the artists acted on with impressive originality and ingenuity.

the Historical monuments of the world heritage sites of Kathamandu Valley are marked by the presence of three prominent architectural style namely the Pagoda, Shikahara and the Stupa Style. The pagodas are multi tired monuments tapering towards the top with intricate wood carving in the forms of doors,pillars,windows and sturts. These ubiquitos wooden historical structures are supplemented by bronze works and stone sculptures together forming the sqauare and palaces with profuse representation of images of gods, goddesses, demons,beasts,mythical figures, kings and the ordinary peoples engaged in their day-to-day activities.

World Heritage Sites of Nepal

There are four UNESCO World Heritage Sites(WHS) in Nepal. Of these four WHS, two are in the cultural category and two WHS fall in the natural caregory.

In the cultural category, the seven monuments of the Kathmandu Valley (together counted as one WHS) and Lumbini-the birthplace of Lord Buddha-are included whereas the other two WHS in the natural grouping are the Chitwan National Park and Sagarmatha National Park. The Kathamanu Valley WHS comprises of three historical places of Kathmandu Durbar Square,Patan Durbar Square and Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Two Buddhist stupas-Swayambu and Boudhanath, and two Hindu Templs Pashupatinath ans Changunarayan. The denest concentration of these heritages sites can be found here owing to the cultural and political importance of the Kathamndu Valley. All these monuments were designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in October 1979. Most of the places listed in the WHS were revered for thousands of years and there has been a series of contribution and renovations in the form of construction of temples,stupas and palaces over the centuries by different rulers and kings. The WHS of Nepal are an expression of the finest sensibility of the history and lifestyle of Nepal ans are a legacy of the Nepalese people to human Civilization.