Narayanhiti Durbar (Narayanhiti Palace)- Kathmandu, Nepal

Narayanhiti Durbar (Narayanhiti Palace)- Kathmandu, Nepal

The Narayanhiti Palace Museum in Kathmandu, Nepal is a public the museum situated east of the Kaiser Mahal and next to Thamel. The museum was established in 2008, after the 2006 revolution, from the complex of the former Narayanhiti Palace (Narayanhiti Durbar).

Prior to the revolt, the palace was the Kingdom of Nepal's monarch's residence and principal place of function, and hosted state occasions. Constructed by King Mahendra in 1963, the current palace complex contains an extensive collection of courtyards, parks, and houses.

Why the name Narayanhiti Durbar?

The name "Narayanhiti" consists of two 'Narayana' and 'Hiti' phrases. Narayan is Vishnu, the Hindu god whose temple is opposite to the palace. 

Narayanhiti Durbar

'Hiti' means 'river spout' in Newar Language, which is to the east of the main gate in the palace precincts, a landmark that figures prominently in the local legends.

History of Narayanhiti Durbar

The royal palace is known to have been the home to several former kings and queens.

Early Residences

Ownership of the location of the palace changed many times before royalty inhabited it. During the early Shah era, the Shreepali Basnet family occupied the site. 

Ownership passed to Premier Fateh Jung Shah after Dhokal Singh Basnyat; his aunt, Choutaria Pran Shah, also lived on the house.

Narayanhiti Durbar

On 19 September 1846, Fateh was killed in the Kot massacre, and his family were expelled or banished from Kathmandu. Colonel Ranodip Singh Kunwar, Jung Bahadur Rana's brother, took over the property and palace, moving into Choutaria 's residence after limited renovations. 

The building was restored after Ranodip became prime minister in 1877, and enlarged into a luxurious multi-wing palace.

Ranodip was murdered in the southern wing of the palace after the coup d'état on 22 November 1885.

Royal Residence

Bir Shumsher Jang Bahadur replaced Ranodip Rana as Prime Minister and took over the palace. Bir Shumsher ordered the demolishing of the old palace in 1886, and a new one designed by the architect Jogbir Sthapit as a residence for his son-in-law, King Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah. 

That relocated the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar royal residence to Narayanhiti.In the Nepal – Bihar earthquake of 1934, the palace was damaged, killing King Tribhuvan's two infant daughters. 

Colonel Surya Jung Thapa, an architect, was responsible for overseeing maintenance and improvements that added a new entrance and grand staircase.

In 1963, King Mahendra ordered the destruction of the palace and its reconstruction. The new palace was designed by the Indian-born American architect Benjamin Polk. 

The Nepalese types of architecture were used to create a national symbol. However, the building ceased in 1969. On 27 February 1970 Griha Pravesh (a housewarming party) was performed for Crown Prince Birendra's wedding.

In 1972, Mahendra sold the palace for NPR some seventy million (seven crores) to the Government of Nepal. He claimed the estate was the dowry of his paternal grandmother Queen Divyeshwari.

Crown Prince Dipendra assassinated numerous members of the royal family in the palace on 1 June 2001, before killing himself. King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya were amongst those killed.

2006's Revolution and Reuse as a Museum

Following the Revolution of 2006, the Nepalese monarchy was abolished. Narayanhiti was vacated on 11 June 2008 by the last King, Gyanendra. 

Crown Jewel

The former royal palace was later used to house the new Palace Museum in Narayanhiti. In October 2018 the royal crown jewels were showcased.

Interior of Narayanhiti Durbar

The palace stands on 3,794 m2 of floor space (40,838.28 sq ft) and is divided into three equal parts; the guest wing, the state wing, and the private wing. 

Narayanhiti Palace has exactly 52 rooms called Sadan and is named after 75 of Nepal's districts. The palace interiors are based on Late Victorian style.

Reception Hall

Narayanhiti Palace Reception Hall is named Kaski Sadan after Kaski District. The hall is decorated with two full-size Bengal Tiger taxidermy in charging posture hunted by King. 

Mahendra and King Birendra along with Shah Monarchs' life-size portraits throughout the stairs by artist Amar Chitrakar.

Reception Hall

Gaurishankar Gate opens up to Kaski Sadan, and it is in Kaski Sadan that Shah Monarchs of Nepal gave the political audience and the ceremony of the oath of prime minister and heads of constitutional bodies for the Kingdom of Nepal is held.

Throne Room

The Gorkha Baithak Throne Room is the centre of the palace. It stands just above Kaski Baithak. 

Gorkha Baithak's construction is based on Hindu temple architect style with a 48-foot chandelier hanging on a ceiling of 60-foot Pagoda style standing on four concrete columns representing Nāga, decorated with garish Hindu deities Astha Matrikas and Ashta Bhairava.

It is beneath this high ceiling that the Kingdom of Nepal Throne was placed. It is this room where the monarch gave the royal Royal Proclamation on special occasions.

On the right of the Gorkha Baithak, is Dolpa Sadan. It was used as the room for the royal family's uninvited guests to view Gorkha Baithak's proceedings through a one-way mirror.

Ceremonies held inside Naraynhiti Durbar

The Naraynhiti Durbar was open to the public during Dashain festival where the former Kings offered darshan and teeka to the government officials, high-level officials, and to the general public.

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