Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Damaha House

Kathmandu was known as city of temples. It is said that there used to be more temples than houses. But story is different now: modern houses have outnumbered and dwarfed not only proverbial temples but also traditional houses. However, splendor of medieval art and architecture is still sparkling in every corner.

Temple is to install the gods and goddesses but it is also built for different religious purposes. Dyochhe (a Newari term) looks like normal house with a pinnacle and a toran, where all the things necessary for festivals and jatra (religious and cultural procession), like chariot and rope are kept and priests also live there. Soldiers used to keep their weapons in certain temple with belief that weapons would acquire the divine power.

There is also separate house especially to keep damaha (giant drum), also known as nagara. One of such houses is located in Kathmandu Darbar Square that accommodates two enormous damaha. These instruments were mainly used in medieval period as means of communication. Royal emissary would play the damaha and dispatch royal edict to people who were obliged to present at the square at the summon.

Recently, Hanuman Dhoka Cultural Conservation Committee and Kathmandu Metropolitan Office renovated the old damaha-house and the instruments have been reinstated in renovated house. The instrument is so enormous that derrick was required to lift and place them at second floor.

Bindira Karki, sub-engineer at metropolitan office informed that the circumference of the rim of damaha is 21 feet 5 inches, height is 6 feet 6 inches and weight is approximately a quintal.

Outer skin was also replaced with new skin of wild buffalo. Main body has been made of brass. The instrument is still being used but not as means of communication. The priests of Darbar Square play the damaha every morning as part of ritual. 

No comments:

Post a Comment