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Home sweet home

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
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For those who have recently struck rich by cashing on soaring land prices, there seems to be a nationwide obsession with Corinthian columns carved out of cement, or tympanums moulded from concrete. Ferrocement frames have replaced traditional wooden homes built on stilts, houses made of stone and slate, or mud and brick.

We are so conditioned to seeing the ugly as we drive by that we have no time to notice what is still beautiful. This row of houses on the ride from Tansen to Tamghas may soon be replaced by seven storey blocks with triangular turrets. But maybe not.

This was a manifestation of the traditional Nepali flair for the simple, harmonious and tasteful. The people who live here, mostly elderly parents of migrant workers or Gurkha veterans, have a common sense appreciation of what is good and wholesome about living in Nepal.

Although it was a long way to Argakhanchi, we stopped and lingered here and let the sense of home seep in.

palpa/ kunda dixit

palpa / Kunda dixit

palpa-003

palpa-004

palpa-005

palpa-006

palpa-071

palpa-070

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20 Responses to “Home sweet home”

  1. Battisputali on Says:

    Beautiful homes! Thank you for the pictures Kunda Dixit.


  2. Gaurav Dhwaj Khadka on Says:

    Sir,
    you have awesome collection but I feel that you have missed the traditional Nepali home or like home with “Khar ko chhanu walla ghar” ….: )


  3. kabulekanchho on Says:

    Great pictures, but I am sure very soon all this will be history, a very sad situation indeed. Our national decline knows no bounds!


  4. Nirmal on Says:

    Perhaps there should be large scales of investment on I+D which would reduce drastically our dependence on foregin products and emission of polluted gases in the environment. There are some problems related to health and resistance of materials of these houses but it can be avoided easily If there are genuine studies to improve their quality.


  5. Battu on Says:

    we don’t need to evoke a sense of fake pride by glorifying everything that is Nepali. I don’t find anything in the houses that might be called tasteful


  6. Anish Dixit on Says:

    beautiful photographs dai..and great concept too :-)


  7. Chetan on Says:

    Thanks for the pics.Reminds us how we’re forgetting our own culture/lifestyle…


  8. Devendra Pant on Says:

    The ‘cage’ of iron, cement, concrete pillars and beams– “the concrete jungles”– have engulfed our cities and towns like the pure structuralist-mechanistic paradigm imported from the overseas. One feels rigidity, superimposed, constricted and alienated in these buildings. Such structures seem life-less, the motive reflects rent-seeking and makes the occupant ‘diminutive’. Whereas our traditional Nepali abodes made up of mud, woods and stones seem more organic and green– one immediately feels the warmth of the life-force, the compatibility and fluidity which blends seamless with the surrounding. One gets a feeling of home. The symbolism that keeping bees ( “Mauriko ghaar”) bring “lachhin” to ones home is a supreme metaphor for the harmonious co-existence. These houses generate a sense of family and community. In the name of material progress let’s not trade our indigenous values.


  9. Too Modern? on Says:

    I just see boxes of different colors with doors and windows cut in them.

    BTW, they are all too close to the road and some of them seem to suffer from serious structural deficiencies.


  10. Subodh Rana on Says:

    Here are my pictures from Bandipur, another town with well preserved buildings.
    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=195126&id=747583184&l=a2d264eb4f


  11. akash sherung on Says:

    nice pictures..and reminds me home far away. There are also a few beautiful tradition houses still left standing around Dilli Bazar & Maitidevi area..How about featuring them in one of your photoshop page..You are a great guy Kunda..intelligently humorous..


  12. jeeevan on Says:

    The pictures were a bit of a let down from what the write up suggested, sure there are much more beautiful houses that these fancy zinc topped gaudy boxes…


  13. Prerana on Says:

    One thing that I’ve always loved about the Nepali culture is that we are not afraid of clashing colours. Not only do we paint our houses electric blue or orange, our women dress up in mix-matched prints and colours all the time. And that’s completely fine, it actually lends our streets some vibrancy. Certainly the simplicity of these houses are aesthetically pleasing – it is definitely more friendlier to the eye than the half-finished-rod-jutting grey concrete buildings. However, at the same time we need to incorporate modern amenities with this simplicity. The point, after all, is to be progressive while not compromising with what we already have. It pains me to use this cliche but it seems fitting at this point: simple living high thinking (sadha jiwan uccha bichar).


  14. Prad on Says:

    On the brighter side I have sees few Nepalese from Kathmandu who have built there new houses using old nepali architecture. I have lived in continental Europe, especially in France; there was a huge wave of people trying to get their hands on old houses made of stones to renovate them. Some with lots of money even built houses with stones using old French village architecture. And those houses were magnifique. We should do the same with our nepali architecture. It is beautiful.


  15. kilochfuller on Says:

    Beautiful architecture but they will be the first to fall when an earthquake strikes. Sorry to be so negative but some of them are three storey high! And Nepal has the highest earthquake risk than anywhere


  16. Anish on Says:

    I don’t know if the structures in the photos can really be called ” traditional nepali homes “. We might have to do some study about interiors as well as exteriors of the traditional architecture before we can come to such conclusion. I do agree that concrete jungle mushrooming through out Kathmandu has made a beautiful city really ugly.


  17. R RAI on Says:

    Over a decade ago I bought a ropani of land from a man in the rural area of the valley, a couple of kilometers from ring road(affordable option for me and thought would be peaceful and less polluted). He lived with his family in a beautiful traditional house(not brightly painted nor with corrugated Zinc roof,otherwise I would not have liked it) in the adjacent area.His eldest son and neighbours had similar beautiful traditional houses.
    When I returned to check my land a few years later his beutiful traditional Nepalese house had been replaced by an ugly concrete box. I was not happy but he and his family were happy and proud – he had used the money from me to replace his old house with this ugly box.I left the scene with some sort of mixed feeling!


  18. Traditional Nepali home at Asian Window on Says:

    […] From Nepali Times: […]


  19. Nepal Kathmandu on Says:

    Great post and beautiful pictures. Thanks for reminding people not to forget what we are known for. Cool


  20. Maili on Says:

    Perfect.


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