Types of Architecture in Nepal

  •   2017-11-06  |  nepaltraveller.com

Nepalese religious architecture is another art medium that is an important part of the country’s cultural heritage.

Nepalese religious architecture is another art medium that is an important part of the country’s cultural heritage. There are three broad styles – the pagoda style, the stupa style and the shrikhara style.

1. The Pagoda Style

This style refers to multi roofed structures with wide eaves supported by carved wooden struts. Windows, either latticed or grilled are usually projecting, while the roof is generally topped off  by triangular spires enclosing an inverted bell of stucco or burnished gold.  The pagoda style shows the architectural genius of Nepal. A young architecture, sculptor, painter named Arniko, led a delegation of 80 Nepalese artists to Tibet during the late thirteenth century at the invitation of the Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan. The pagoda style was soon adopted in China and from there spread to other Asian countries. The best example of the pagoda style in the Kathmandu Valley is the Nyatpole temple situated in Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Before the earthquake you could also have seen the Kasthamandap temple, a wooded pagoda built in the Malla period and from which the name of the capital city is said to be derived. The Pashupatinath, Taleju and Changu Narayan temples are also notable examples.

2. The Stupa Style

The Swayambhu and Bouddhanath shrines Nepal’s first examples of the stupa or Chaitya style. This style is purely Buddhist in concept and execution. The outstanding feature of the stupa is a hemispherical mound topped by a square base supporting a series of the thirteen century circular rings. Narrowing towards the top, the rings are crowned by a parasol. The four side of the square base or the harmika, as it is called, are often painted with pairs of mystic ‘all seeing eyes.’ The stupas in Patan, said to have been built by King Ashoka are considered to be the most ancient stupas of Nepal.

3. The Shikhara Style

The Shikhara Style forms yet another architectural design found in Nepal. The super structure is a tall curvilinear or pyramidal tower whose surface is broken up vertically into five to nine sections. The final section consists of a bell shaped part at the top. The Krishna temple in Patan, consecrated by King Siddhi Narsingh Malla, in the finest specimen of the relatively less popular shikhara style. It is believed to have been built be one  huge piece of rock.


Photo Credit: Flickr 


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