Cultural and religious history of south asia (classical indology) History in Nepalese Chronicles

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1 Cultural and religious history of south asia (classical indology) History in Nepalese Chronicles Workshop in nepal 9 th to 22 nd March 2013

2 Workshop in Nepal A group of historians, indologists and an architectural historian, accompanied by their spouses, participated on a workshop in the Kathmandu Valley for two weeks in March The participating academics belong to the Excellence Cluster Asia and Europe in a Global Context and the Collaborative Research Centre Ritual Dynamics, both at Heidelberg University. The workshop was organized to study and test in the field a new approach to the understanding of South Asian historiography, especially the Nepalese chronicles from the 19th century. Participants The participants consisted of Prof. Niels Gutschow, Prof. Axel Michaels, Prof. Madeleine Herren-Oesch, Prof. Bernd Schneidmüller, Dr. Joerg Gengnagel, Dr. Gerald Schwedler, Dr. Astrid Zotter and Dr. Manik Bajracharya. The participating spouses were Prof. Christiane Brosius, Dr. Thomas Herren, Alique Gengnagel, Gabi Schneidmüller and Katharina App.

3 1st Day The first day of the workshop began in the early morning of 10 th of March. The theme of the day was Ordering religion: Buddhist monasteries and institutions in Patan. The group visited six different Vajrayana Buddhist monasteries of Patan and discussed the impact of attempts made by medieval Malla kings to bring the monasteries into certain orders. The group also witnessed some of the daily monastic rituals. The group then visited the office of Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust. Then Niels, together with Rohit, guided the group through the medieval palace of Patan.

4 2nd Day The second day began early in the morning again with a visit to Svayambhu Stupa. In the same morning, the group drove up to the top of Jamācva, one of the four holy mountains surrounding the Kathmandu Valley. The group had an interesting discussion there on the topic of creation of the Kathmandu Valley as described in the Svayambhūpurāṇa.

5 3rd Day On 12 th March, the third day of workshop had the theme Myths and Temples: Pashupatinath and Deopatan. The day was spent going around the Pashupati and Deopatan area and discussing its history and traditions. The group also visited Rama-candra Temple guided by Govinda Tandan.

6 4th Day On 13 th March, a visit was organized to Nepal Research Centre and then to the National Archives. The group observed the state of manuscript preservation at the Archives and the works being carried out at the NGMCP. In the evening, the book launch of the three volumes of Life-cycle rituals among the Newari took place.

7 5th Day On 14 th March, the group walked through the medieval palace and old towns of Kathmandu city. The discussions of the day centered particularly on the 17 th century king Pratapa Malla and his deeds. In the same evening, the group moved to Bhaktapur.

8 6th Day On 15 th March, the group keenly observed different monuments and inscriptions in and around the medieval palace of Bhaktapur. On this day, the group had an opportunity to watch the traditional dances of Navadurgā in Bhaktapur.

9 7th Day On 16 th March, the group drove to Mahamandapa, a hill east of Bhaktapur associated with the legend of Mañjuśrī.

10 Days 8-10 On 17 th March, the day was spent by visiting different monuments of Bhaktapur. On 19 th March, a visit to Changu Narayan Temple, one of the oldest temples of Nepal, was organized. In that evening, the group drove to Nagarkot, a hill station about 30 km east of Kathmandu. On 20 th of March, a full-day workshop was organized at the Farm House Hotel of Nagarkot. Last Days On 21 st March, the group walked through the mountains from Nagarkot to the medieval town of Sankhu. The group then visited the Vajrayogini Temple lying uphill of the Sankhu town. On this day, the group moved to Hotel Vajra in Kathmandu. The day of 22 nd March was kept free for participants. Most of the participants left Nepal on 23 rd.

11 Review The workshop in Nepal was an unique experience for the participants and it provided an opportunity to study and test in the field a new approach to the understanding of the South Asian historiography, especially the Nepalese chronicles from the 19 th century. Thanks to the staffs at SAI branch in Nepal, Pratibha Khanal and Rajesh Shrestha for their excellent work in organizing the logistics of the workshop. The outcome of the workshop will be published as a collaborative article.

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