Narayanhiti Palace Museum

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Narayanhiti Palace Museum
Narayanhiti Palace Museum

Narayanhiti Palace Museum stands on an area of 40820 sq feet and it has three wings: The guest wing, the state wing and the private wing each consisiting of approximately 30 rooms. Nepal has 14 zones and 75 districts. Every rooms are named after the districts. Among them only 19 rooms rooms from all the state wings are open to the public visitors. While the main doors are nammed after the mountains of Nepal. Like the front door is named after Gauri Shanker Mountain. One can find other doors named as Sagarmatha (The Mount Everest), Mount Annapurna, Ganesh Himal, Dhaulagiri Himal, etc.

History:
Narayanhiti Palace Museum is the former royal palace in the centre of the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, It is the palace which long served as a primary residence for the country’s monarchs. Narayanhiti, in Narayanhiti Palace, is made up of two words ‘narayan’ and ‘hiti’. ‘Naryan’ is a form of Hindu god “Lord Vishnu” whose temple is located opposite to the palace and ‘hiti’ means “water spout” which is also located to the east of main entrance in the precincts of the palace, and which has a legend associated with it. The entire enclosure surrounded by a compound wall, located in the north-central part of Kathmandu, is called the Narayanhiti palace. It was a new palace, in front of the old palace of 1915 vintage, built in 1970 in the form of a contemporary Pagoda. It was built on the occasion of the marriage of King Birenda Bir Bikram Shah, the then heir apparent to the throne. The southern gate of the palace is located at the crossing of Prithvipath and Darbarmarg roads.

The palace area covers (30 hectares (74 acres)) and is fully secured with gate controlled walls on all sides. The palace, as previously discussed in Kathmandu’s history, was the scene of a gruesome tragedy, termed “Nepal’s greatest tragedy”, on June 1, 2001 the then king Birendra, Queen Aishwarya and his family members were killed in a massacre. After the massacre of King Birendra and his family, his brother Gyanendra got opportunity to be the King of Nepal. The massacre of the then Royal family is still mysterious. But it is believed that Gyanendra shoot the then king Birendra and his family members. Another strong proof is that none of the family members of Gyanendra were injured. If Birendra and his son were not dead there would be no chance for Gyanendra to be the King. All these proofs point to Gyanendra. And Nepalese believe that the massacre was done by Gyanendra. The newly elected assembly on 28 May 2008, after a polling of 564 constituent assembly members, 560 voted to form a new government, with the monarchist Rastriya Prajatantra Party, which had four members in the assembly, registering a dissenting note. At that point, it was declared that Nepal had become a secular and inclusive democratic republic, with the government announcing a three-day public holiday from 28 to 30 May. The King was thereafter given 15 days to vacate the Narayanhiti Royal Palace, to reopen it as a public museum, until he was asked to move out of it. Now it has been turned into a museum and is open for all to see.

Features:

MAIN GATE : The 24 feet wide main gate opens into the palace premises. Seven traditional stone conduits stand on both sides of the main driveway with the images of the serpent deities, the nagas carved on them. A little farther down the western drive sit the images of Hanuman and Kumari under the canopy, a bronze idol of Shahasrabhuja Lokheshwar (the thousand armed lord of the universe) is flaked by two lions. In front of the main stairs are two cannons facing south. These cannons date back to the time of King Surendra (1829-1881).

Narayanhiti Palace Museum
Narayanhiti Palace Museum

MAIN STAIRS: The 45 feet main stairs with 33 steps is decked with five pairs of stone sculptures: A pair of fish symbolic of swiftness, fertility and good luck;dancing peacocks symbolizing wisdom, charm and gaiety; two horses traditionally known for their endurance and reliability; a pair of elephants celebrated for memory power and success; and last in succession come a pair of legendry lions known for valour, prowess and majesty.

 

MAIN ENTRANCE:  GAURI SHANKER DWAR (Dwar is Nepali name for the door): Marble steps lead to the main entrance with two sides entrances. In front of the main entrance, four wooden columns carved with the auspicious symbols of lotus, pitches and fruit leaves support a traditional Nepali roof. Coiling serpents on the main entrance contains engravings of traditional auspicious silver water jars and swastikas on the lower portion, a pair of ivory eyes at the centre and ganesh and kumar on the upper portion. The figure of Uma Maheshwara (the benevolent form of Lord Shiva) with his consort Uma on his lap overlooks the main entrance. The top crossbeam of the entrance, the toran has carvings of the images of Ashta Matrika (the mother goddess in her 8 manifestations symbolic of creation, growth, knowledge, wealth, nourishment, strength, protection and shelter) portrayed in gold figures on a round silver frame.

The Ashta Mangal (the eight auspicious symbol); Shree Vatsa – chest of Lord Bishnu, lotus, umbrella, water jar, whisk, a pair of fish, religious banner and conch; flanked the Ashta Matrika with 4 figures on the crossbeam of each side entrance. The western side entrance displays engravings of an auspicious water jar, Nagakanya (the sacred serpent maiden), an anthromorphic image of the moon riding a deer and four symbols of the Ashta Mangal topped by Laxmi (the goddess of wealth).

Entrance Fees:
Nepali citizens: Rs 100
Nepalese Students: Rs 20
SAARC nations and Chinese: Rs 250
Others Nationality: Rs 500

Opening Days:
The Narayanhiti Palace Museum is open everyday except on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and public holidays, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

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