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Nepal – Architecture

Architecture in Nepal

The magnificent architecture of Nepal is a form of art which truly captures the culture and essence of Nepal. Traditional Nepalese architecture attracts both tourists and scholars to this amazing country. The fascinating historical buildings and unique Nepalese architectural designs inspire much awe. Particularly popular is Bhaktapur where tourists can explore numerous outstanding Nepalese architectural structures. Certain people have divided Nepal’s architecture into three non-specific stylistic groups, namely pagoda style, stupa style and shikhara style.

Pagoda Style

This Nepalese architectural style features several layered roofs that have broad eaves carefully held up by carved wood struts. The building’s roof is typically crowned by triangular spires surrounding upside-down bell made out of burnished gold. Windows on the structure protrude and are usually latticed. The pagoda style is a true demonstration of fine artistic architectural design. Interestingly, China later borrowed the style which further spread through Asia. Pay a visit to Kasthamandap in the Kathmandu Valley to view an impressive wooden pagoda constructed during the Malla age. Another spectacular example of this intriguing Nepalese architectural style is Basantpur Palace, a nine-story structure commissioned by King Prithvi Narayan Shah. Also make your way the the Nepali temples of Pashupati, Changu Narayan and Taleju.

Stupa Style

A Nepalese architectural style borne out of Buddhist concepts and used in the construction of Buddhist shrines. Stupa architecture is easy to spot. A square base is mounted upon a hemispherical structure. Atop the strong base are thirteen rings layered on top of each other and progressively narrowing to a point. A parasol tops it all off. The square bases, also known as harmika, has pairs of “all-seeing” eyes painted on each of its exposed sides. Swayambhu Shrine and Baudhanath Shrines, declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, are exquisite examples of the stupa style. In Patan you will discover some of the oldest stupas in Nepal that were commissioned by King Ashoka.

Shikhara Style

Nepal’s Shikhara style consists of 5 or nine vertical sections forming a high pyramidal or curvilinear tower-like structure. The apex is bell-shaped. This style is not very common, but a fine example can be seen in Patan, it is the Krishna temple.

Be sure to pay a visit to some of these grand structures where you can view Nepal’s architecture in all its splendor.

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