Nepal Mandala as Newar-land

Region of Nepalmandal as Newar-land

– Kashinath Tamot

Three territories are understood by the word ‘Nepal’- 1. Nepāla-garta (Svanigaḥ/Nepālakhālḍo/Nepala-upatyakā/Greater Kathmandu) 2. Nepāla-maṇḍala (Hill region of Middle Development Region) 3. Nepāla-adhirājya (Territory from easternmost Mechī to westernmost Mahākālī )

Here is reported about 12 districts included within Nepalmandal among 75 districts of the state of Nepal. Twelve districts of Nepalmandal could be divided in three categories as below: 1. Inner districts 3: (1) Kathmandu (2) Lalitpur and (3) Bhaktapur 2. Intermediate districts 4: (1)Kabhre-palanchok (2) Makawanpur (3) Nuwakot and (4) Sindhu-palchok 3. Outer districts 5: (1) Dhading (2)Rasuwa (3) Dolkha (4) Ramechap and (5) Sindhuli

Nepalmandal was an independent state in Ancient Nepal in Varman (2-4 centuries) and Licchavi (5-9 centuries) period. Historians affiliated with Saṃśodhana-maṇḍala advocates that this is as large as Nepal state.

It was United States of Nepalmandal in Malla period including four autonomous states in it. The Autonomous Independent states were (1) Kathmandu (2) Lalitpur (3) Bhaktapur and Abhayapur (Dolkha).

The total area covered with these four states is Nepalmandal. Prithvi Narayan Shah got victory over these states doing war for 26 years and named “Sadara Upatyakā” to this part in early Shah Period. It was called “mofasala” outer to this place. There were 36 districts in Rana Period and was divided as: 1. Sadara Upatyakā – Kathmandu valley 2. Mofasala 2.1 Hill region (East no. 1, 2 and West No. 1, 2) 2.2 Inner Terai (Sindhuli, Chisapani/Makwanpur)

In the administrative divisions made in Panchayat period, when the country was divided into 14 Zones and 75 Districts, 3 Zones and 12 Districts were included in Nepalmandal.

People came and made habitation from northern, Tibet crossing the Himalayas into Hākvagũ (“surrounding mountains”, that is, Kathmandu valley) since more than two thousands year Before Christ. People of Tibeto-Berman language speakers came from north-east India. People migrated here in around starting of Christian Era from south, that is, from north India and western Terai of Nepal. After Christian Era people migrated from Punjab-Kashmir. In this way, people from all sides came to live in Inner districts (Kathmandu Valley) of Nepalmandal via Outer districts, Intermediate districts. All of them embedded into the Newar civilization as a melting pot, which was neither Northern nor Southern in nature.

Newari art developed in Varman, Licchavi period. Local “Nepal-script” appeared since 10th century. “Nepal-Language” emerged combining Himalayan and Sanskrit-Prakrit Languages since 11th century. People celebrated their culture in groups in the first millennium years. Since second millennium years, there appeared the sign of unified “Nepal-Culture”. A clear and full identity of Newari civilization was seen at the end of Malla period in 18th century. Mordern Newari civilization is the continuation of that.

There was relation between Nepalmandal and Tibet. King Narendradeva brought Tibetan-soldiers in eight century. Tamangs from Tsang province of Tibet migrated since that time into Nepalmandal. Newars called people of Tsang as Sanja (Sãy in modern Newari). They are Tamangs. People of Tsang or Sanja, who migrated in Nepalmandal in course of trade and cultivation, increased their population more than Newars in 13-14 hundred years. People from west, that is, Khasa (Ksetri-Brahmin) and from south, that is, Doya (Maithil) come to live in Nepalmandal since 12-13 centuries. They are also increasing within 7-8 hundred years. In this way, the main community of Newars went on lessening. But, if promoter of civilization of Nepalmandal, the Newari speakers realized their responsibility, it is not impossible to keep alive the civilization of it. It should be noted that Newar civilization is the specific civilization made blending Northern Asian and Southern Asian civilization.

The specific civilization of Newars developed on the foundation of social organizations of Nepalmandal in the first millennium In around Nepal Era 550 (AD 1430) the religious geography of Nepalmandal – “Nepālamāhātmya” composed. This gave a shape of a religious geography to Nepalmandal. It limited a boundary of it. After this, it was included into Himavatkhaṇḍa. Paśupati Purāṇa was developing in its own way. The tradition of sixty-four (64) Śhivaliṅga pilgrimage in Nepalmandal, making centre the Paśupati, was established in around NS 750 (AD 1630). The concept of “Nepālamaṇḍalapīţha” emerged making the centre to the Guhyeśvarī and surrounding with three Maṇḍalas or 24 Āvaraṇas.

Another side Buddhist Newars composed Svayambhūpurāṇa in around NS 600 (AD 1580). This is Buddhist geography of Nepalmandal. It localized eight vītarāgas, Twelve Tīrthas, places of Seven Buddhas. At the end of around 800 century of Nepal Era, Buddhist Vajracharyas hypothesized 24 Pīţhas (Power places) within Nepalmandal supposing Kāntīśvara Kṣetrapāla of Indrachok, Kathmandu, translating 24 Nyāsas of one’s body described in Mahayan Buddhist text Cakrasaṃvara etc. They started the tradition to pay visit to them as Pīţha sevā (service to power places). In this way, Nepalmandal developed as a unified region. Newars are the promoter of it. This place is Newar land since two thousands years.

[The original lecture note in Newari was distributed in a lecture program organized by Nepalmandal Forum, Patan in July 22, 2006. It was published in Nepalmandal (Research periodical of Nepalmandal Research Institude). No. 1 (NS 1127 Pohelā/AD 2007), pp. 7-9. It was translated into Nepali by Basant Maharjan and published in his Hasanā (Nepali monthly), Vol. 2 No. 10 (Aug-Setp. 2006), pp.23]