The earthquake of April 25, 2015 and its aftershocks devastated many towns and villages in Nepal. As the focus shifts from relief to rehabilitation, there is also an urgent need to preserve and restore the many architectural gems that have been lost to the earthquakes. Kathmandu is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and three were severely damaged in the earthquakes.

The most concerning loss is that of Kasthamandap, known locally as Maru Sattal, the original construction of which dates back to at least 1143 AD. Located at the cross-roads of two ancient trans-Himalayan trade routes, and situated in the heart of the city, Kasthamandap has served as a rest-house for local residents and weary travelers of the trade routes for almost a thousand years. In subsequent centuries (and perhaps during its hazy early days), it was also consecrated as a temple. And in typical Nepali style, the pavilion was to serve both functions for many centuries to come: rest-house and sacred temple. Not only was Kasthamandap the oldest public building in Kathmandu, it was also the largest. The very name of the capital city of Nepal, Kathmandu, is derived from Kasthamandap. Kasthamandap, therefore, is the very heart and soul of Kathmandu.

We must restore and rebuild this world treasure so that future generations can revel in its presence, as many of us have done in the last 900 years.

This site is an attempt at catalyzing restoration activities for Kasthamandap. Will you join us?

We have used the historic sources that are available to us. Some of these might be outdated by more recent scholarship. If  you can help update the historic record, please join us and contribute.

This is meant to be a non-commercial, grass-roots effort. In weaving together stories of the legends and people that revolve around Kasthamandap, we will often borrow from published sources, always giving proper credit. If you are the copyright holder of text or images appearing on this web site and have concerns, please contact us and we will work with you to respect your intellectual property.

Please share your thoughts.
  1. Bhakta Chand says:

    Hi Dipesh sir.

    I like what you are doing with Kasthamandap rebuilding campaign. Is there any way I can interview you.

    Regards
    Bhakta

    Reply
  2. Shriju Pradhan says:

    Dibesh ji,
    Thanks for combinding Kasthmandap’s legends, history,facts, figure,etc and presenting it in such away that makes people think differenly.
    It is great and encouraging!
    It would be great if you can join tomorrow’s heritage cycle event organized by KMC and locals at 7 am from there.
    contact- 9851088747-Shriju or 9851031431-Megh

    Reply
    • Dipesh Risal says:

      Dear Shriju,

      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, I am not in Kathmandu right now, but I have advertised tomorrow’s wonderful event both on my Facebook page and via twitter (@dipeshrisal). Wish you all the best for tomorrow’s event.
      Sincerely,
      Dipesh

      Reply
  3. Bibek Raj Shrestha says:

    Dear Dipesh ji,
    Firstly, a big thanks to raise such a important issue. Got to know your work and research through the columns of Nepali Times.

    I was born in Maru Tole. I have my childhood to that place ; to the crowds and colors of people every morning, evening, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Indrajatra and every Newari Festival that pass by each month. Suddenly, one day, there is no Kasthamandap, neither Maju Dega. There is void. Vacant. And Maru Tole, doesnt seemed to be the one that was before, which deeply saddens me and many others.

    Really appreciate your effort to bring the importance of Kasthamandap in limelight. It was really informative. I was thinking about ways to raise the concern through media and other possible ways. I would anticipate your opinion and cooperation in this regard and looking forward to keep in touch with you.

    Reply
    • Dipesh Risal says:

      Hi Bikek ji,

      Thanks for the heartfelt note. Yes, this is a deep loss but we will definitely rebuild. Various groups are trying to raise funds for Kasthamandap, and if you can connect with KMC and others, this will help (I will send you the contact privately).

      In the mean time, the best thing we can do is raise awareness and share, share, share in social media. I have two more articles coming on Kasthamandap (in this month’s ECS Nepal, and a more detailed one in AsianArt.com soon). If you have a personal story or a vignette you want to share in this blog site itself, I would be very happy to publish it. We do want this site to be a community effort, so please join in!

      Reply
  4. Namaste,
    here my spontaneous reaction to your website. I hope it should be not only informative than also helpful. The religious and cultural art and architecture of the Kathmandu Valley is my hobby, or perhaps a little bit more.
    My questions :
    1) Who is the owner of Kasthamandap ?
    2) Is there something like a Guthi ?
    3) Who are the acting persons or organisations ?
    4) Who is a trustworthy fundraiser ?
    To rebuild this important “wooden” temple “little stones” are helpful too.
    Greetings from Germany
    Contact : nunne1941(at)t-online(dot)de

    Reply
    • Dipesh Risal says:

      Kasthamandap was a communal building which falls under the Department of Archaeology’s care. The Kathmandu Municipality is also involved. There are several Guthis around Kasthamandap but none of them officially protect Kasthamandap. There are several fundraising opportunities, but right now a solid proposal for rebuilding, coordination between governing bodies has not happened. I would say until all of this is resolved, raising money would not be a good idea. Please stay in touch and we will post all positive updates as they happen.
      Kasthamandap certainly had some brickwork, etc that complemented the main wooden framework.

      Reply
  5. suman karmacharya says:

    Namaste Dipesh ji,
    Actually i need a help from you just because i am here in Germany for study Masters in Monumental Heritage and fortunately i have to do one project which related to half timber structure. i decide to do that project in kasthamandap and i also have to make model to and for that i need a drawings. so can you please provide me the drawings so that i can do the project.

    Thank You
    Suman Karmacharya

    Reply