Manimandapa, the Platform of the Jewels on Patan’s Darbar Square


Patron: Prof. Dr. Ing. Niels Gutschow

At the northern end of the square two arcade buildings, raised on a platform, flank the stairs leading down to the Manihiti step-well, the details of which demonstrate that it had been at this site since the 7th century. Till today the supply with water is ensured. Both buildings are halls with sixteen columns. They are therefore called “arcades with sixteen feet” (Sorakuttepati). The northern and wider hall was used for royal councilling and as the coronation site. At this site the hall stood as one of the nine Jewels of the square for over a thousand years. For 1701 documents tell us about a fundamental renewal, the roof was renewed for the last time in the early 1980s. The fragile colonnade of both buildings could not resist the earthquake. They collapsed into the step well, one week later all valuable fragments were salvaged. Today, only the bare platform reminds us of their former existence. All historical parts are preserved. The rebuilding of the Manimandapa needs new roof, which has to be designed by engineering standards. The columns will have to be connected with the threshold stones by stainless steel pins. The total cost will come up to 52.000 Euro.

Manimandapa 1863 An old picture of Manimandapa (Clarence Comyn Taylor, 1863, courtesy Royal Geographical Society, S0003109)

  • Manimandapa, 25 April 2015
Manimandapa after the earthquake (photos by Rohit Ranjitkar)


Process Report May 2016 In October 2015 the damage at twelve column was assessed. The copy of one totally destroyed column was ordered and the careful repair and restoration of the remaining eleven columns was achieved by four carpenters till early April. On 25 April the former Prime Minister Prachanda Dahal visited the Darbar Square in the company of a couple of ministers and on that occasion he laid the foundation stone for the rebuilding of the Mandapa. The cornice above the columns is also repaired in the meantime. For the time being the windows of the upper level are restored. The rafters are being prepared, roof tiles are acquired from demolished houses – till end of December the rebuilding will be there again. It will be the first rebuilding of a collapsed monument in Nepal.

  • Manimandapa Pati South | May 05, 2016 Broken kulah (cornice) of the window is being joined with the stainless steel plate and screws.
  • Measurement of column and capital continued at site for making drawings.

In June 2015 the Kathmandu Welfare Trust applied for the necessary approval/permission for ten projects within the area of the Darbar Square at the Social Welfare Council. In early April the Department of Archaeology approved the planned activities. For the time being there is an ongoing debate about the issue of seismic strengthening. The “guidelines” promulgated by the Department of Archaeology in mid April are rather restrictive but enable to come up with proper compromises.

Work x Work & Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust  published an Audio and Visual Journey on 
Architecture in Nepal - Personal Stories of Culture and Living Heritage:  
It includes among other things a portray of Niels Gutschow, historian, documentarian, & architect. He joins in documenting the historic temples of the Kathmandu Valley and preserving it’s culture.journ

New Process Report,  June 30, 2016

  • Manimandapa Pati South | March 28, 2016 Parts of cornices that were damaged from April 25, 2015 devastating earthquake were replicated and repaired for rebuilding. Repaired parts are in light color.
See the full report by Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust here.


Update on Charnarayan and Manimandap

The reconstruction work at the Patan Darbar Square has been ongoing in the workshop at the back of the Patan Palace for the past 2,5 years – craftsmen and carpenters filled missing details from wooden rods and delicate pillars or manufactured completely new parts of the Charnarayan temple and the Manimandapa (photo workshop). Since 2017, is proceeding visibly now on the square itself and in February and March 2018, several members of the SAI Nepalhelp group visited the site (Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels, Prof. Dr. Christiane Brosius, Dr. Manik Bajracharya, Dr. Rajan Kathiwoda). Since February 2018, one of the two Manimandapas is complete, the second one is envisaged to be finalised by June 2018 (photos Manimandapa). The work on the Charnarayan temple will take some more time but is on a good way (photos charnarayan). The works are still supervised by the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust and Niels Gutschow. They are still behind fences, because reconstruction work is going on, but this work and the progress thereof is largely transparent to the public. Signboards attached to the fences and exhibited in other prominent sites mention the support of the SAI Helpnepal initiative (photo signboard).

  • Charnarayan