There was a plaque inside Kasthamandap that dated to 1048 which is enough to have made it one of the oldest buildings in Nepal. Kathmandu’s name is most likely derived from this temple due to its proximity between two ancient villages (Yambu and Yangala) that when merged formed the city.
Sadly Kasthamandap was completely destroyed during the April 25th earthquake in Nepal. Current bickering between the local municipality and the department of archeology have hampered its reconstruction.
Kasthamandap was not consecrated so it’s never been a temple. It is in fact a rest house which was converted into a shrine for Gorakhnath in 1379. Gorakhnath is depicted via the central orange colored statue inside.
Do take a walk through and around the building as there's a small market and a priests house nearby..
Did you know?
Gorakhnath was a 10-11th century yogi. He is also where the Gurkhas of Nepal get their name.
In 2019 the Kasthamandap has been closed off with a fence. Most of the scaffolding is bamboo as the reconstruction will be done using traditional methods. Previously you were free to enter Kasthamandap and walk around. Aside from Gorakhnath statue and the tablet from the 11th century there were four smaller shrines to Ganesh. The second floor was often closed off but houses more smaller shrines.
Sadly the disagreements with the local municipality meant they fenced off the remaining religious grounds citing that it was a danger. Considering there were no remaining structures this was called into question by many. This included local people living in the area and the department of archeology who questioned that the use of metal poles had damaged the ground around it.
The wood carvings along the buildings struts were of particular note for their craftsmanship. And, again the fact the wooden building had no metal reinforcement yet stood for so long is a testament to its construction or legend.
There is a save Kasthamandap Facebook page which is highlighting the local struggle to save the building from bad reconstruction. This among other efforts have resulted in the building being reconstructed using traditional methods as per the desire of the local residents.
A walk around Kasthamandap is also recommended as all around the site are various stalls. To the front flowers are sold while to the rear fish and vegetables are sold. To the rear is also a bizarre door that leads to tantric priests house.
There was no entrance fee to enter Kasthamandap as it came under the general fee for Kathmandu Durbar Square.
From Thamel head straight south to Kathmandu Durbar Square. You can walk along a Kathmandu city heritage walk to make the most of the journey there. In Kathmandu Durbar Square the construction site of Kasthamandap is located in the south west.
Map to Kasthamandap
Heritage walk guide:
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