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Phase II: Regional expansion


Traditional metalwork - Lalitpur © UNESCO

Project overview and objectives The main objectives of Lalitpur project site are:

  • To raise awareness among the Sangha members and other stakeholders about the conservation of the Buddhist arts and crafts in Lalitpur
  • To identify the needs areas and prioritize them in consultation with the stakeholders and Sangha members
  • To develop programs for training of trainers
  • To prepare training manuals and materials
  • To train the Sangha members in the arts, crafts and liturgy 

It aims to establish a main training centre with programmes inclusive to a broad array of crafts and ritualistic practices being part of the training curriculum:

  • Wood craft - Kasthathasa Mandala (Kastha Mandala in practice)
  • Stone crafts – Chaitya
  • Metal craft – Metal Mandala
  • Wall painting
  • Mud plastering
  • Traditional recitation of stotra (hymns)
  • Charya songs and dance 

Objectives to achieve the proposed programme which has seen the establishment of a resource training center at a mahavihar (existing training center) and other training centers at two monasteries located at specialized crafts centers within the city is linked to the following projections:

  • Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City Office as the main coordinating institute for implementing the project
  • encourage active participation from the various stakeholders such as central and local government organizations, Buddhist sangha, educational institutions and local community groups.
  • Awareness raising activities especially targeted to local Buddhist youths and local community to encourage active participation in the training programme.
  • Targeted training in areas of paintings (mandala paintings, puabha paintings, mural paintings), decorative wood carvings, metal crafts, stone crafts, lime plaster molding, terracotta, and traditional musical instruments and Carya dance.
  • Training-of-trainer activities in the following areas: paintings, decorative wood carvings and stone crafts.
  • Documentation be produced for all the training fields as well as for methods of assessing condition of temples, and methods of  preparing inventory of Buddhist artifacts in temple

Project output to date
The local project team has completed two project implementation cycles. The first cycle was implemented from January – July 2005, followed by the second cycle from November 2005 – May 2006.

During the first project implementation cycle, the local project team was able to accomplish the following:

  • Awareness campaign among the 54 mahavihars (major Buddhist temples) in Lalitpur. The Center printed a project brochure in Nepali and English for distribution to all temples and concerned stakeholders.
  • A task force undertook participatory research among the master craftsmen and artists relating to wood, stone, metal, plaster, painting, and the tradition of hymn recitations in temples. A considerable amount of research and documentation on the arts and crafts, including production processes, have been gathered systematically.
  • Curricula and draft guidebooks were prepared on the following crafts related to the ritual of workship:

         o        Toran and window woodcraft         
         o        Stone craft        
         o        Saymak Dyo in metal craft         
         o        Mud with lime plaster (base for wall paintings)         
         o        Wall painting         
         o        Religious hymn recitations        
         o        Lost-wax bronze casting of religious images

In the formulation of curricula and the draft guidebooks, the project team closely collaborated with the Nepal Resource Center for Non Formal Education, the Center for Education for All, the Non-Formal Education Center of the Ministry of Education, the Handicraft association of Nepal, and other institutions and concerned stakeholders.

The second project implementation cycle focused on the revival of the tradition of Namasangiti and other hymn recitations and the stone chaitya sculpting through training programs. Specific accomplishments during the six-month period are:

  • Training in religious hymn recitation in three mahavihars (monasteries) namely: Kamukamana, Gustalshree and Hiranyavarna mahavihars. The recitation of stotras (religious hymns) is slowly disappearing in many monastic communities. A total of 101 trainees from 9 vihars (monasteries) were trained in hymn recitation. 43 of the successful trainees are females.
  • Training in stone chaitya sculpting at the Mayurvarna Mahavihar - Though stone craft is still flourishing among the Buddhist communities in Kathmandu, the rituals associated with stone craft are no longer taught to trainees. Under the Monks Project, the training in the construction of stone chaitya images included the revival of sacred rituals related to the stone craft. 20 trainees, of which 4 are females, successfully completed the training programme.
  • Research and documentation of the traditional Buddhist craft of embossed metal construction, a pilot training programme to revive the embossed metalcraft will be initiated during the 3rd cycle of project implementation.