Dwarika Das is the founder of Dwarikas hotel in Kathmandu…. and a man who devoted time and resources to preserving Newari art.
Newari civilization flourished in the Kathmandu Valley during the reign of the Malla kings from the 12th to 18th centuries.
The Kathmandu Valley was nicely located to benefit from the trade between India and Tibet.
Under the reign of the kings….. and unlike today…the city of Kathmandu was meticulously planned….
….widths of the streets commensurate with the height of the buildings, intricate network of water taps to ensure every family had a public sprout within walking distance, palatial complexes (Durbar squares), sacred courtyards, etc
The kings were also the patrons of Newari arts, which was heavily influenced by their beliefs. The Newari follow both Hinduism and Buddhism.
In the 1950s, Nepal was changing. All around, centuries old mud, brick and wood houses were making way to concrete structures.
One day, Dwarika Das noticed carpenters sawing off intricate carvings on an old wooden pillar and using it to keep a fire going.
Dwarika Das decided to act. He hired three master carvers who still recalled the ancient knowledge and techniques of traditional Newari carving…..and hired young apprentices to ensure the knowledge was passed down.
Dwarika Das preservation works are evident at his hotel in Kathmandu….also aimed at reviving the architectural splendour of the valley.