When Götz Hagmüller first arrived in Bhaktapur in 1979, he was instantly fascinated by the Kuthu Math, its intricate wood carvings and unique Newari architecture. Within a week, the Austrian architect and preservationist rented the Math and made it his permanent home.
Today Hagmüller is a well-known figure in the Valley, and his restoration work of the Patan Museum and Kaiser Mahal serve as inspiration for architects and designers around the world.
Built more than 150 years ago, the Kuthu Math was maintained by one of the many guthis, trusts which care for temples, maths or other historic buildings and are an intricate part of Newari society. The 1934 earthquake devastated the Valley, but spared the Math to a large extent, damaging only the south wing.
The Math also features a small painted room, rediscovered during the renovation process. Restored by artists, it remains largely unchanged as Hagmüller is quite content with preserving old paintings. The largest room is located in the south wing, which according to Hagmüller used to be the sleeping quarters for pilgrims travelling through. It too has been rebuilt and now holds a small library in one corner.
Hagmüller says his determination to preserve the spiritual core of the Valley keeps him motivated. Like the Patan Museum and the Kaiser Mahal, the Kuthu Math is aesthetically pleasing, however it remains as practical to live in as it is beautiful.
Return to glory
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