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

A Pedestrian Guide to a
"Traditional" City

A person is a geographical unity. I want to prove it mathematically
because I am a professor [laughs]. Man is the function of his geography,
geography is everything. Community.Everything . . .
‹Yogesh Raj (personal interview, 6 February 1999)

How can I convey to you Bhaktapur¹s complex fluctuating constellation of practices, discourses, intentions, material objects, and of course people? That is, how can one display the temporality of Bhaktapur¹s lived social space without re- colonizing it?. The major obstacle to this goal is, ironically enough, these very words (these very signs).

    I suggest one way to articulate How Bhaktapur¹s lived social space has been re-colonized is to write a radical pedestrian guide to the city. A pedestrian guide would not claim to be an abstract universal representation. Instead, the genre would tend to be directed to a second person, "you." Its object is neither a universal truth signified through passive construction of abstract writing or the subjective consciousness of the novel¹s first person. Instead a radical guidebook is practical knowledge. It does not claim to represent the landscape, nor the thoughts of the author, but rather it is a textual map that leads you the reader through the landscape.

As such, I am not arguing a guidebook is objective, or even unbiased. The potential of the guidebook is just the opposite. Rather than floating above the space, metaphysically untethered to the landscape, the guidebook implants the reader into the point of view of a particular temporality . And like any map, a guidebook not only (mis)-represents "reality," but also play a part in its construction.


Mandala Map

Tourist Map


Tour Map

Durbar Square

Tacapa Map



Key | Bibliography | Maps

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