A striking pagoda with cantilevered wooden roofs, towers above Bhaktapur, a royal city in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Close by is an Indian-style temple whose statues of deities are carved in stone. Nepal is a staple on the Indian tourist map and had a 33 per cent rise in Indian travellers flying into the country in 2023. The mountain country’s religious diversity evidenced in its wealth of temples, monasteries and stupas is no secret. Historically it stands at the cultural crossroads of India, Tibet and China since myriad ethnic groups and communities have influenced its architecture.

Nepal is witnessing an indigenous architectural rediscovery as can be observed in Bhaktapur’s new boutique hotel, The Nanee (Nepalese for small courtyard), tucked into a narrow lane which takes inspiration from the Newari houses built around a courtyard. “The homes here are typically multi-storeyed, with large courtyards that serve as gathering places for families and friends,” explains host Aditya Piya. Aware of seismic dangers, traditional Newari houses incorporated earthquake-resistant techniques such as interlocking bricks, flexible joints and stone foundations. The five-tiered Nyatapola Pagoda temple is an example since it has never been destroyed ever by any earthquake.

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