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Work index of Nyatapola temple.

The five-storeyed temple, locally known as Nyatapola, is an impressive and famous temple of Nepal, standing in the northern side of Taumarhi square in Bhaktapur. This is the only temple that is named after the dimension of architecture rather than from the name of the deity residing inside. The temple was erected within a short period of less than five months by King Bhupatindra Malla in 1701/1702 A.D. In the present context of work-schedule, planning and programming, it is very difficult to believe that the temple was erected within that short period of time. But it was the fact. The incidents are recorded day by day.

If we look at the calendar of construction it gives us an interesting picture of the spirit of the people and speed of the work accomplished within such a short period of time. The speed of work done in religious faith can never be accomplished in modern-day society run by materialistic considerations.

We find all these interesting details while going into the manuscript. From the start of digging the foundation to the completion of roofing, it took merely eighty-eight days. The excavation work for foundation lasted for seven days. Then was commenced construction of six plinths. That was accomplished in thirty-one days, and immediately after that started the erection of the superstructure. That was also completed within thirty-four days, after which roofing work was started from top to the lowest roof. In sixteen days all the five roofs were completed paving them with mini-tiles (jhingati). Then they had to wait for an auspicious day for erecting the icons in the sanctum sanctorum and fix the pinnacle on the top of the temple. For this, they did wait for 38 days. In the meantime the auspicious fire-sacrifice (Siddhagni Kotyahuti Yajna) was going on.

Presented here are six pages (three folios) of the facsimile copies of the manuscript which recorded major events from beginning to the end, as summary of records in advance, incorporated in the manuscript containing 264 folios. There are fifty major records in the summary six-page facsimile.

The manuscript is preserved in the National Archives of Nepal. It is readily available for the readers in micro-film as well, which can be read in the office or could be purchased in photocopy paying certain rupees per page.

The name of the manuscript is recorded as Siddhagni Kotyahuti Devala Pratistha. The name itself kept the enthusiasts on the subject of ancient architecture behind the curtain from knowing it. The accession number of the manuscript is cat. I. 1115 NGMPP micro number A 249/5. The manuscript is written in the Newar script in yellow Nepalese paper coated with harital (orpiment). The size is 17.2 x 46.5 cm. Each page has nine lines. The manuscript has 264 folios, and the rest are missing Dr Janak Lal Vaidya thinks. Some folios are ink-stained and some are damaged by rats. All the rest of the folios are in good condition. The calligraphy

is magnificent.

Out of these six facsimile pages, Dr. Janak Lal Vaidya has published three folios (1, 2 and 4) without any transliteration and translation in Abhilekh No.8 published by the National Archives of Nepal. It is, however, necessary at least to give a full picture of the detailed records in those six important pages.

There are still interesting information contained in the following folios of the manuscript which were published by Dr. Janak Lal Vaidya in his articles published in Abhilekh, No. 8 and No. 14 and Kheluita No. 11 in English, Nepali and Newar respectively.

Translation of facsimile copy

Salute! To the god Ganesa. This is the work index of the construction of Nyatapola Temple (Five-storeyed Temple) and the performance of Siddhagni Kotyahuti fire sacrifice (done) by Bhupatindra Malla. (The king of Bhaktapur) [Then starts the entry]

1. On Thursday, the third day of clear fortnight in the month of karttika of Nepal Samvat 822, the people (the ones who fell the tree) were sent to fell the trees in the jungle.

2. (After 25 days) On Monday, the twelfth of clear fortnight in the month of Marga of Nepal Sam. vat 822, this day the wood work (carpentry) started.

3. (After 31 days) On Thursdsy, the twelfth/thirteen of dark fortnight in the month of Pausa of Nepal Samvat 822, the excavation work for foundation started.

4. (After 7 days) On Thursday, the fifth of clear fortnight in the month of Magha of Nepal Sam. vat 822, the foundation stone was laid (construction of the foundation started).

5. (After 31 days) On Sunday, the sixth of dark fortnight in the month of Phaguna of Nepal Samvat 822, this day the main entrance (to the sanctumsanctorum) was erected.

6. (After 5 days) On Friday, the eleventh of dark fortnight in the month of Phalguna of Nepal Samvat 822, this day the amoral spinal beam (ninala). was laid.

7. (After 11 days) On Thursday, the seventh of bright fortnight in the month of Caitra of Nepal Sam. vat 822, the windows (were) erected in lowest (first) storey.

8. (After 11 days) On Saturday, the third of dark fortnight in the month of Caitra of Nepal Sam. vat 822, the windows (were) erected in second storey.

9. (After three days) On Tuesday, the seventh of dark fortnight in the month of Caitra of Nepal Samvat 822, the windows were erected in the third storey.

10. (After four days) On Saturday, the eleventh of dark fortnight of Caitra of Nepal Samvat 822, the windows (were) erected in the fourth storey.

11. (After two days) On Monday the thirteenth of dark fortnight in the month of Caitra of Nepal Samvat 822, the windows (were) erected in the last (fifth) storey.

12. (After 3 days) On Thursday, the fifteenth of dark fortnight (no moon day) in the month of Caitra of Nepal Samvat 822, the pithapuja performed (to appease the pithagana) in order to erect the top of the temple.

13. (After 14 days) On Thursday, the third of clear fortnight in the month of Vaisakha of Nepal Samvat 822, the top of the temple offered (erected).

14. (After 7 days) On Thursday, the seventh of clear fortnight in the month of Vaisakha of Nepal Sawvat 822, the topmost roof was covered with minitiles.

15. (After 2 days) On Saturday, the ninth of clear fortnight in the month of Vaisakha of Nepal Samvat 822, the roofing is completed on the fourth storey.

16. (After 2 days) On Monday, the eleventh of clear fortnight in the month of Vaisakha of Nepal Samvat 822, the roofing is completed on the third (middle) roof.

17. (After 4 days) On Friday, the first of dark fortnight in the month Vaisakha of Nepal Samvat 822, the roofing is constructed on the second roof.

18. (Next day) On Saturday, the second of dark fortnight in the month Vaisakha of Nepal Sam vat 822, the ceremony of offering of areca nuts is performed.

19. (Next day) On Sunday, the third of dark fortnight in the month of Vaisakha of Nepal Samvat 822, the puja (worship) was sent to Pithas, Jawodaka, Shivasakti and Kalasa.

20. (Next day) On Monday, the fourth of dark fortnight in the month of Vaisakha of Nepal Samvat 822, the worship and propitious ritual is performed in Pithas (Pitharchana).

21. (Next day) On Tuesday, the fifth of dark fortnight in the month of Vaisakha of Nepal Samvat 822, the act of purascarana is performed.

22. (After 2 days) On Thursday, the seventh of dark fortnight in the month of Vaisakha of Nepal Samvat 822, the arrangement for mandapa is done.

23. (Next day) On Friday, the eighth of dark fortnight in the month of Vaisakha of Nepal Samvat 822, the roofing is done on the fifth (top most) roof. Or the roofing work is completed in the temple.

24. (Next day) On Saturday, the ninth of dark fortnight in the month of Vaisakha of Nepal Samvat 822, the excavation work is done for making fire altar (kunda).

25. (After 2 days) On Monday, the eleventh of dark fortnight in the month of Vaisakha of Nepal Sara. vat 822, the foundation stone is laid to erect the fire altar.

26. (After 2 days) On Wednesday, the thirteenth of dark fortnight in the month of Vaisakha of Nepal Samvat 822, the tympanum is offered (fixed) at the main entrance.

27. (After 3 days) On Saturday, the first of clear fortnight in the month Jyestha of Nepal Samvat 822, Ankurarcana ceremony is performed.

28. (After 5 days) On Thursday, the sixth of dark fortnight in the month of Jyestha of Nepal Samvat 822, different (many-fold) rituals-consecration, propitious, worships, offerings, are performed like Punyahawachala, Rritwijavarna, Mandapa puja, sun-worship, door worship, Guru-worship, and offering of roof hanging (pata) and so on.

29. (Next day) On Friday, the seventh of clear fortnight in the month of Jyestha of Nepal Samvat 822, different acts are done like Rajapuja, Thandila Uddhara, Kalikaropana and Jalajaga.

30. (Next day) On Saturday, the eighth of clear fortnight in the month of Jyestha of Nepal Samvat 822, Javodaka (barley seeds) are offered to alter. Padaprakshyalana, sheep-sacrifice, Vighnaharana, Panchagavyasadhana, Tripuja, Sodhanyasa, Jnakhadgasadhana, arghapatrasadhana, shivahastapuja, shivashaktibhramana, kalasarchana, thandilamarcana and chetri avahana.

31. (Next day) On Sunday, the ninth of clear fortnight in the month of Jyestha of Nepal Samvat 822, the fire in was lit alter for fire-sacrifice, Thapuja is performed along with jagarana (night spent without sleep) or observed sleepless night (next day)

32. (After 4 days) On Thursday, the thirteenth of clear fortnight in the month of Jyestha of Nepal Samvat 822, Thapuja and jagarana (sleepless night) were also performed.

33. (After 7 days) On Thursday, the sixth of dark fortnight in the month of Jyestha of Nepal Samvat 822, again Thapuja and jagarana were performed.

34. (After 4 days) On Monday, the tenth of dark fortnight in the month of Jyestha of Nepal Samvat 822, this day bathing the icon is done with (again) thapuja and jagarana.

35. (Next day) On Thursday, the tenth/eleventh of dark fortnight in the month of Jyestha of Nepal Samvat 822, ten sacraments (dasa karma) of the icons are preformed.

36. (Next day) On Wednesday, the eleventh of dark fortnight in the month of Jyestha of Nepal Samvat 822, the god is given a bath and purified.

37. (Next day) On Thursday the twelfth of dark fortnight in the month of Jyestha of Nepal Samvat 822, the sacraments to infuse life to the icon are performed. Thapuja and jagarana are also observed.

38. (Next day) On Friday, the thirteenth of dark fortnight in the month of Jyestha of Nepal Samvat 822, the purification of sanctum sanctorum and pedestal(as well) are performed.

39. (Next day) On Saturday, the fourteenth of dark fortnight in the month of Jyestha of Nepal Samvat 822, the god (icon) is taken to the temple and the ritual flag is consecrated and fluttered.

40. (After 2 days) On Monday, the first of clear fortnight in the month of Asadha of Nepal Samvat 822, the icon (in the sanctum sanctorum) and pinnacle (on top of the temple) are installed. The three mini-temples and kotilinga are (also) adorned with pinnacles. Digpuja Thapuja and jagarana are performed and observed.

41. (After 3 days) On Thursday, the fourth of clear fortnight in the month of Asadha of Nepal Samvat 822, the pinnacle was offered and puja performed in the fourth mini--temple and worshipped (the god inside).

42. (After 7 days) On Thursday, the twelfth of clear fortnight in the month of Asadha of Nepal Samvat 822, Thapuja is perfomed and jagarana observed.

43. (After 6 days) On Wednesday, the third of dark fortnight in the month of Asadha of Nepal Samvat 822, a partridge is sacrificed.

44. (Next day) On Thursday, the fourth of dark fortnight in the month of Asadha of Nepal Samvat 822, the bell was offered and jgarana observed (eighth time).

45. (After 6 days) On Wednesday, the tenth of dark fortnight in the month of Asadha of Nepal era 822, the Kotipolduya ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]), Caurasi Paicalduya ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) Thapuja and jagarana are performed (ninth time).

46. (Next day) On Thursday, the eleventh of dark fortnight in the month of Asadha of Nepal Samvat 822, the repentance sacrifice was performed (repentance because of innumerable lives of unseen and seen animals that might have been killed knowingly or unknowingly during the construction period).

47. On Friday, the twelfth of dark fortnight in the month of Asadha of Nepal Samvat 822, the bathing is done. ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]).

48. (After 3 days) On Monday, the no moon day of dark fortnight in the month of Asadha of Nepal Samvat 822, the Caturthi (No actifities are mentioned afterwards).

49. (After 2 days) On Wednesday, the second day of clear fortnight in the month of Sravana of Nepal Samvat 822, offerings to Inayadon (Suryavinayaka) were sent. The king seemed to have gone to Suryavinayaka for final thanks-giving puja.

50. (after 142 days) On Sunday, the twelfth of dark fortnight in the month of Pausa of Nepal Samvat 823, the ashes (collected from the sacrifice altar) were floated away (in the river Hanumante on the south of the city) (after exactly one lunar year from the day of digging for the foundation of the temple) on the first clear fortnight in the month of Asadha of Nepal Samvat 823.

From the start of the sixth page onwards, the scribe records the new subject and gives the details of the number of firewood oblations made by, first the king, then by others to the fire sacrifice. The king offered seventeen bundle of firewood and others, different number of bundles, some did less than the king and some more than him.

The total number of the firewood bundles offered to the sacrifice is 1102 and an equal number of bundles made of bamboo (pa) reed (ti) and (I) were also offered.

Some words in Newar and Sanskrit which are used in this article have not been found in English. Therefore they can not be translated into English. Their exact meaning is not possible to find them in the English dictionary. It has been tried to translate nearer to its meaning. The words as they were used are reproduced here in Devanagari. Therefore, the author invites the comment on the exact translation of these words.

Glossary

1. Pumavabhrtasnan ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = A ritual bath with clothes on the body after all ceremony performed

2. Pithapuja ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = Worship done in different shrines of mother goddesses known as Pitha (a sacred Tantric shrine dedicated to the Mother Goddesses

3. Javodaka ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = worship by oat-grains instead of rice-grains (or sprinkling of oat-grains before five sacrifices start on the ground.

4. Kalikaropana ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = The plantation of the black seeds.

5. Bhetavali ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = offering to the Goblins (?)

6. Bighniharana ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = Eradication of suspected problems.

7. Pancagavyasanghana ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = The preparation of Panchagavya (mixing five objects composed of milk, ghee, curds, urine and dung of a cow.)

8. Arghpatrasadhana ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = consecration of sacred water vessel (?)

9. Tripuja ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = worship of three lamp (dipa), Kalasa and Ganesa.

10. Shodhanyasa ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = worship of sixteen Sanyansis (worship with sixteen articles; sixteen worships) ? (****) ? But in manuscript it is only written as

11. Gyankhadgasaghana ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = ?

12. Sivahastapuja, ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = Worship of the hand of the carvers on metal stone and wood

13. Sivasaktibhramna ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = pilgrimage to the shrines of tantric deities

14. Kalasarcana ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = consecration of Kalasa = or water pot representing Varuna, the Vedic god

15. Thandilarcana ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = oblation at the ground designated for fire sacrifice

16. Ksatri avahana ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = invitation to Chetrapalas = the guardian deities of sin/eight directives

17. Padaprksalana ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = washing the feet of Brats.

18. Kalesankiya ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = worship to minimize the suspected obstacles

19. Purascarana yana ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = The act of ritual tantric consecration (repeating certain mantras)

20. Ankurarcana ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = Worship of sprouting plant from oats to purify the sacrificial ground.

21. Punyahavacala ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = Sprinkling of sacred water after homa (sacrifice)

22. Ritvijavarna ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = Appointment of the Brahmin who recites the Mantras

23. Rajapuja ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = Commencement of worship--(start of worship)

24. Deva Sodhalapa ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = (purification of the icon)

25. Caurasi duya ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = sacrifice of a partridge.

26. Kotipola duya ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = Ton million bundles (of fire wood) offered.

27. Caurasi Pecala duya ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = reed vessels full of cereal grains put in the fire sacrifice.

28. Thapuja ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]) = A kind of tantric worship.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:RESEARCH NOTE
Author:Shrestha, Sukra Sagar
Publication:Contributions to Nepalese Studies
Geographic Code:9NEPA
Date:Jul 1, 2005
Words:2852
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