Sunday, February 17, 2008

A public library of Nepalese manuscripts

A public library of Nepalese manuscripts

A public library of Nepalese manuscripts

The Asha Archieves is a public library of Nepalese manuscripts, named after the late Mr. Asha Man Singh Kansakar, father of the late Mr. Prem Bahadur Kansakar (1917-1991). Mr. Kansakar was a prominent activist, social worker, educationist and Newar writer who had founded serveral social, cultural, literary and exucational instituitions. The nucleus of this collection was donated by Prem Bahadur Kansakar to Cwasa Pasa, a premier literacy association of Newar writers on August 16, 1985. To this personal collection were later added the donations of valuable manuscripts and palmleaf documents by several well-wishers and friends. Among them mention should be made of Mr. Ian Alsop, an American student of Kansakar, Dharma Ratna Bajracharya, Gurushekher Rajopadhyaya, Reverend Takoka, Gyan Ratna, and Dr. Kamal P. Malla. Similarly, more than a dozen other donors have helped this archieves with gifts of their personal collection of manuscripts.

The Archieves was inaugurated by Professor Yujiro Hayashi, the Executive Director of the Toyota Foundation, Japan on December 7, 1987. It was made accesible for the public since that day. The Toyota Foundation had made a generous grant to purchase, innovate and furnish the house where it is now located. The Foundation had also supported the document of the manuscripts and the initial operation of the Archieves with a fund deposited as seed money and endowment.

The Collections
In this archieves there are several valuable collections of palmleaf, loose leaf pothi and folded manuscripts. There are more than 6700 manuscripts and about 1100 palmleaf landgrant documents. These manuscripts belong to various sects and genres written in different languages and scripts. Largest among these are the ritual texts, medical texts, manuals of magic and necromancy, astrology/astronomy, Vedic, Puranic and Tantric texts of Shaiva, Bauddha and Shakta sects. A large number also come from the Mahayana and Vajrayana sects. There are technical and symbolic drawings and architectural designs of religious and secular structures, painted covers, and book illustrations of great beauty and delicacy. Perhaps the most important components of the archieves are the literary texts, hymns, songs, plays, popular narratives, didactic tales and Buddhist avadanas in the Newar language. Written in Sanskrit, Nepalbhasa, Maithili, and Nepali language one can find specimens of beautiful calligraphy in the collection written in plain black ink, silver and golden letters.

The archieves has also a collection of nearly all Nepalbhasa books in print, journals, magazines and newspapers in the Nepalbhasa. There is also a small Nepal collection, consisting of books on Nepal in English and other languages which will be of interest for study and research on the culture and heritage of the Nepal Valley.

Getting there
The Asha Archives is located in the western edge of the old Kathmandu, in the locality known as Kulanbhulu, just opposite of Raktakali at Gha 3/563 Kulanbhulu, Raktakali, Kathmandu. Telephone: 4263417. The opening hours are 10:00AM to 5:00Pm in summer and 11:00AM to 4:00PM in winter. It is open during weekdays except Saturdays and other public holidays.

1 comment:

Everest Base Camp Trek+Trekking said...

really nice article!! where did you collect the data from?

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