Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Kathmandu Branch Office
SAI


Microfilm-Ordering Process
Starting from June 1, 2016 we resume the microfilm-ordering process of the former Nepal Research Centre (NRC) at the National Archives in Kathmandu.
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News


Article about Opening of Nepal Research Bhavan on Spotlight
The news magazine New Spotlight recently published an article about the opening of the Nepal Research Bhavan in Patan.
 
The article is available here.

 

Three German research units bundled under one roof Nepal and its various ethnic groups as well as cultural richness have been a treasure for international researchers, explorers, geographers, and anthropologists for many decades.

The German research scheme in Nepal with a long history has already undergone various transformations. The first research project was launched in 1959 with government support and with assistance of the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung.

Six years later, the Thyssen House opened its doors and was predecessor of the Nepal Research Centre, which was established in 1967 by contractual agreements between Nepal and Germany.

The support of the German Oriental Society (Deutsche Morgenlaendische Gesellschaft), which has existed since 1974 and was agreed in cooperation with Tribhuvan University, ended in 2014 with the closure of the Nepal Research Centre. As part of the Nepal-German Manuscript Preservation Project (NGMPP), archival documents of the Nepalese National Archives were microfilmed by the German Oriental Society.

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Since 1987 the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University (SAI) has a branch office in Nepal. The location in Patan bundles now three research units under one roof and accommodates also the research units Documents on the History of Religion and Law of pre-modern Nepal of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Center for the Study of Manuscript Cultures of Hamburg University. The affiliated Nepal Heritage Documentation Project, a cooperation of Heidelberg University and SARAF Foundation has a separate office at Mangalbazaar.

Nepal Research Bhavan is home to an extensive and open accessible library containing numerous books, magazines, manuscripts and other documents. In the beginning of March 2019, the Nepal Research Bhavan was opened together with a two-day conference on "Masters & Servants: Slavery, Bondage and Unfree Labour in Nepal's History" and the exhibition "Opposite Dreams" by ArTree Nepal. The professors of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Thomas Holstein and Bernd Schneidmueller, as well as the directive professors and local representatives of the respective research projects, visited the opening ceremony and the conference. Representatives of the National Archives of Nepal, Tribhuvan University, Department of Archeology and SARAF Foundation were also present during the opening ceremony. The project "Documents on History of Religion and Law of pre-modern Nepal" under the direction of Axel Michaels, a professor of Classical Indology and Religious Studies at Heidelberg University is involved in the studies of various historical, administrative and legal documents, the systematic investigation of this unique textual corpus and the development of an open access digital database.

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Christiane Brosius, a professor of Visual and Media Anthropology at the Heidelberg Center for Transcultural Studies is director of the Nepal Heritage Documentation Project, which focuses on recording of endangered monuments and intangible cultural heritage of Nepal. With her background in Art History and Art Education she has got involved with local art projects and published the book Breaking views Engaging Art in Post- Earthquake Nepal in cooperation with the visual artist and art educator Sanjeev Maharjan.

The preservation of the palm leaf manuscripts in Nepalese archives and libraries is the main project aim of the Center for the Study of Manuscript Cultures of Hamburg University, represented by the project coordinator Dr. Bidur Bhattarai. On the initiative of Dr. Nadine Plachta, Resident Representative of SAI branch office, the Nepal Research Bhavan hosted the exhibition "Opposite Dreams" by ArtTree.

ArTree Nepal is a team of contemporary artists who want to foster meaningful dialogue. The artists focus on critical subject matters that have social significance. With their mixed media art, they urge the audience to reflect on discrimination, injustice, exclusion and instability.

A good example of this approach is the exhibited art work Labours Helmet of the series I Have to Feed Myself, My Family and My Country by Hitman Gurung. Ten golden helmets, which hang on the wall, shall draw attention to Nepali migrant labours that have to leave their families in order to earn a living in foreign countries.

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Press Article: Opening of Nepal Research Bhavan
myRepublica on March 3, 2019



Nepal Research Bhavan situated at South Asia Institute Branch Office, Kupondole was inaugurated on Saturday. Saubhagya Pradhananga, Director of the National Archives Nepal, Professor Thomas Holstein, President of Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Professor Bernd Schneidmueller, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the project, Professor Dr Bhupa Prasad Dhamala, Executive Director of the Department of International Relations, Tribhuvan University, Dr Nadine Plachta, Director of the South Asia Institute Branch Office of Heildelberg University, among others were present in the event who also informed about the establishment of Nepal Research Bhavan.

Artworks such as installation, photography, videos and painting have been exhibited at the Nepal Research Bhavan. Moreover, the opening of the building is followed by conference/workshop scheduled for Sunday and Monday at Yalamaya Kendra, Patan organized by Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and National Archives Nepal.

The conference was completed on topics like 'History of Slavery in Nepal', 'Archival Documents o Slavery, System of Slavery in Nepal, Double-Crossing Subjects in Nepal's Borderlands in Nineteenth-Century and more. Likewise, on Monday the workshop will take place on Reading-in-conjunction (workshop): Texts and Documents.

About the establishment of the building, Professor Dr Axel Michaels, Project Deputy Director, Nepal Heritage Documentation Project; a joint venture between Heidelberg University, Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Saraf Foundation for Himalayan Traditions and Culture shared, "We had Nepal Research Center for few decades here and due to some administration and financial issues it was closed down. We rejuvenated and opened it again because it can play an important role in being the meeting point for scholars of Nepal and from other countries. Meanwhile, we have the library, the facilities and guest room where everyone is welcome to use the facilities here who want to know about Nepal."

There are 4000 volumes of books on important topics of Nepal like history, culture, anthropology, etc. He added, "There is no limitation on who should come and use the library or not. It is for everyone and we are looking forward to making it bigger and better."
Opening of the Nepal Research Bhavan and Conference/Workshop

Organized by Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and National Archives Nepal


March 2-4, 2019
Venue: South Asia Institute Branch Office and Yalamaya Kendra, Patan

Opening of the Nepal Research Bhavan
On the occasion of the opening of the

Nepal Research Bhavan

The Kathmandu Office of Heidelberg University's
South Asia Institute, together with
the Research Unit "Documents on the History of Religion and Law of Premodern Nepal"
of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities,
the Nepal Heritage Documentation Project
of Heidelberg University,
and the Center for the Study of Manuscript Cultures
of Hamburg University

request the pleasure of your company for a reception
on Saturday, 02 March 2019, at 16:00 hrs

With the exhibition "Opposite Dreams" by ArTree Nepal

Venue: SAI Kathmandu Office, Kupondole Height Road, Patan
Art: Study of History IV, Subas Tamang 46cm x 60cm Etching Aquatint
Photo credit: ArTree Nepal
Obituary for Dina Bangdel
The South Asia Institute is united in grief of Dina Bangdel, who passed away in the United States on Tuesday, July 25, at the age of fifty-four. Dina Bangdel was an Art historian specialized in South Asian art and worked as curator of art in Nepal. Since 2012, Bangdel was the director of the art history department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, which she originally joined as an assistant professor of art history in 2005. You can read a detailed obituary written by Christiane Brosius here.

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