The Namuna Ghar in Datattraya, Bhaktapur, is a special heritage that reflects Nepal’s glorious medieval art, architecture, and history. The house was initially discovered to be over 150 years old before the restoration process by Rabindra Puri in 1999. It was being used as a chicken coop, a shame for all the potential it held.
This house was redesigned and rebuilt, now featuring beautiful attributes that graced traditional Nepali architecture. It went on to win the prestigious UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation in 2004. Even prior to attaining global recognition, the building was already regarded to be Namuna Ghar (translates to mean ‘model house’) by Bhaktapur Municipality, which is how the building got its name.
“When I first joined the heritage conservation field, I was called insane for passing up a comfortable life and career in Europe and choosing a zero-income sector,” says Puri.
About 60 percent of this building required new construction, with the remainder achieving satisfactory results through retrofitting. Original structural components were carefully removed and reused wherever possible. This restoration project was completed in roughly a year and a half. Quickly thereafter, the home gained traction and received unexpected appreciation and recognition. Items that highlight Nepali culture and tradition are on display at Namuna Ghar. The main objective for restoring and promoting Namuna Ghar with this approach is to inspire Nepali people to appreciate and conserve their rich and beautiful heritage.
“I also started a homestay at the Namuna Ghar, and it was from here, the concept of bed and breakfast took off in Nepal,” Puri adds.