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New Volumes of Nepalese Chronicle

Oct 11, 2015

Prof. Axel Michaels, Prof. Niels Gutschow, and Dr. Manik Bajracharya newly edited and translated a nineteenth century Nepalese Chronicle (Vamsavali). Under the title “Nepalika-Bhupa-Vamsavali: History of the Kings of Nepal – A Buddhist Chronicle”, the book in three volumes was published by Himal Books in 2015.

The chronicle was first translated by Daniel Wright and published in 1877, and it was later reprinted no less than ten times. Wright’s "History of Nepal", however, does not contain the edition of the original Nepali text, and the translation lacks comprehensiveness in comparison to the original one.

The new publication consists of three volumes. The first volume includes an editio princeps of the Nepali text of the chronicle. The original manuscript has been archived at the Cambridge University. The second volume consists of the introduction and a comprehensive annotated translation of the Nepali Chronicle. The third volume encompasses several maps accompanied by drawings of the 19th century which are contemporary to the composition of the chronicle. Some of the included drawings have not yet been published elsewhere. The book includes drawings by Nepalese painter Rajman Singh and the then surgeon at the British Residency in Kathmandu Henry Oldfield.

Nepal has a large number of vamsavalis and other forms of historical writings from different times. The vamsavalis are the genealogical lists with focus on deeds of kings, high officials, saints and monks. The new book will contribute to the much needed field of Nepalese Historiography, especially at a time when Nepal is facing the crisis of preservation of cultural and monumental heritage due to the devastating earthquake.

The volumes were released in September 2015 at the Taragaon Museum, in Nepal. The book launch was jointly organised by Taragon Regency Hotels, Hyatt Regency Kathmandu, the Saraf Foundation for Himalayan Tradition and Culture, the South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University and the Social Science Baha.

Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels is the Director of the Cluster "Asia and Europe", and Head of Department of Classical Indology, Heidelberg University. Prof. Dr. Ing. Niels Gutschow is an Architecture Historian and former coordinator of Project D4 “Aspects of Authenticity” at the Cluster "Asia and Europe". Dr. Manik Bajracharya is Visiting Fellow at the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University and Research Fellow of the German Research Foundation project "Wright Chronicle".

The Nepali newspaper Nepali Times reported about the publication


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  • Historical Kathmandu, Nepal. (Source: www.kvptnepal.org)

  • Cover pages of the 3 volumes