Nepali Times Asian Paints
Nation
Living in Bhaktapur the Austrian way


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.

Since it did not fall under the BDP's plan, Hagmüller spent three decades restoring the entire structure on his own. Over the years he installed electricity, redid the water supply, drilled a 90 foot well and attached solar panels to the roof. Tucked away between neighbouring brick houses, the Math's garden has evolved from a few citrus plants into a botanic paradise and stands as a testament to Hagmüller's unrelenting effort.

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.

Lukas Grimm

Read also:
Return to glory

BHAKTAPUR, LUKAS GRIMM
Forty years later, Bhaktapur is a living example of the successful integration of heritage conservation with town development

The rebirth of Bhaktapur, LUKAS GRIMM
A unique German-Nepali initiative has helped restore Bhaktapur to its former glory

Old, but new, TONG SIAN CHOO
Cosy new B&B in Patan offers a modern twist to traditional Newari culture

See also:
The Valley's ancient heart still beats. RAMYATA LIMBU



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


ADVERTISEMENT









himalkhabar.com            

NEPALI TIMES IS A PUBLICATION OF HIMALMEDIA PRIVATE LIMITED | ABOUT US | ADVERTISE | SUBSCRIPTION | TERMS OF USE | CONTACT