The Birth of Kathmandu

MoNA Collection

Rajani Sinkhwal under the guidance of Master Paubha artist Samudra Man Singh Shrestha. 
Conceptualized by Shaguni Singh Sakya

About the Art

Legendary history says Kathmandu Valley was created by Bodhisattva Manjushri who conceived the idea of draining the lake inhabited by Nagas (serpents) to make it habitable for humans. The lake had luminous methane gas flames. The biggest flame being on top of Swayambhu hill and hence worshipped as divine light. Seen here is Manjushri inspecting the draining of the lake from Chovar gorge with his two wives, the first king of Kathmandu - Dharmakara and King of the Nagas Karkotaka.

Kathmandu valley was once a lake with methane gas flames and inhabited by Nagas (serpents). The most luminous flame burned atop Swayambhu hill, which was worshipped as the representation of Adi Buddha. Manjushree, a prince from Wu Tai Shan, China came to pay respect to the holy flame and conceived the idea of draining the lake and making it habitable for humans.

The painting is based on “Swayambhu Puran” one of our oldest documents that tells the formation and development of Kathmandu valley from the time of Manjushree till 1957 when the first motorable road was built to Swayambhu Stupa.

The main characters in the painting were involved in the formation of the valley – Manjushree, his two wives, his disciple Dharmakara who was crowned as the first king of Kathmandu and Nagaraj Karkotaka who agreed to shift the entire Nag population to another lake - Taudaha. In honour of the Nags who gave us this city; Kathmandu inhabitants still celebrate Nag Panchami every year. This festival being celebrated till today and the existence of lake Taudaha is an indication that there is truth behind the legend of Manjushree and it’s not just an imaginary tale

All history is partial conceived truth but nevertheless it’s our foundation and stories like this should be told and retold continuously in every possible medium so that it’s never forgotten!!

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