Contesting Place in a Post-colonial Space

(Re)colonizing Tradition

A Pedestrian Guide to a "Traditional" City

Welcome to Bhaktapur

[1] The Tea Stall at Guhepukhu

[2] Nava Durga Chitra Mandir

[3] Khauma Square

[4] Tourist Motor Park

[5] Indrani Pitha

[6]Lasku Dhwakha Gate

[7]Char Dham

[8]Cafe de Temple

[9]Batsala Temple

[10] Batsala Temple

[11] City Hall

[12] The Procession Route

[13] Pujari Math

[14] The Peacock Restaurant

[15] Sewage Collection Ponds

[16] Bhairavanath Temple

Early Oppositional Politics

In Bhaktapur during the late 1940s, most of the political action consisted of demonstrations and strikes in opposition to the Rana regime. Yet between 1945 and 1947 A.D. (2002­2004 VS ) revolutionary movements were not only influencing politics, but also social and educational reform as well. After the overthrow of the Ranas in 1951 A.D., political parties and individuals were content to oppose conservative forces. These intensified in the second half of the decade as democratic forces lost power to the monarchy.

    After King Mahendra gained the throne in 22 Marga 1957 A.D. (2014 VS), there was a second round of demonstrations in an attempt to force elections. The strike closed the city for many days. As one person said, "The local administration tried to thwart the strike, by using fire hoses, clubs, tear gas and also by firing guns into the air. The fighting became so fierce, that the central government appointed magistrate was forced to run to Kathamandu."

    After days of demonstrations throughout the kingdom, the king announced general elections for 7 Phalgun 2015 (12 February 1959 A.D.). These lead to the election of a Nepali Congress­dominated parliament led by B. P. Koirala. Probably more important for Bhaktapur than direct political action in this period were progressive educational and social movements; these consisted of the building of schools, the creating of literacy programs, the construction of libraries, and the cleaning of the city. The most important movement, however, were the Farmersą societies.

    In 1960 A.D. (2017 VS), King Mahendra dissolved parliament and took sole power of the government through the creation of the Panchayat, or partyless democratic system. After the coup of 1960, the next major oppositional incident did not occur until the coronation of H.M. King Birendra in 1974. The main challenge to the coup of 1960 (2017 VS ) was not raised until 1978­79 (2035­36 VS), the first incident of major dissidence since 1950 (2007 VS). The wave of protest was ignited on 4 April by the studentsą movement, in which Bhaktapurians were actively involved. On 12 Chaitra 2036 (1979 A.D.), there was a huge demonstration that marched from Bhaktapur to Kathmandu. Eventually, this helped lead to a nationwide referendum on Panchayat rule, which the King announced on 15 December 1980. While in Bhaktapur the referendum for multiparty democracy was victorious, nationwide it was defeated.


Mandala Map

Tourist Map


Tour Map

Durbar Square

Tacapa Map



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© 2001 Gregory Price Grieve , Site design by GDL Historical Laboratories. .