Digitisation of pre-modern Hindu ritual manuscripts from Kathmandu Valley

The family collection of Mr Upendra Bhakta Subedi is exclusively about rites and rituals. Very few households in the Kathmandu Valley have such a specialised collection in their possession. Its digitisation allows wide dissemination of the corpus for the use of Indologists, anthropologists and historians of religion and rituals.

Mr Upendra Bhakta Subedi is a descendant of an illustrious family of Rajopadhyaya Brahmins from the heart of Kathmandu Valley. The ancestors of Mr Subedi were renowned Tantric practitioners like Jujuram, alias Jeeva Gyaneshwar. Popular myth claims that one his ancestors was transformed into a widely revered Tantric deity called Bijeshwari‐‐ Bijyasa: Ajima. The collection has manuscripts ranging from 17th‐19th centuries by Mr Subedi's ancestors, mostly manuals on Hindu secret rites and rituals.

The earthquakes of 2015 severely damaged the house where the material was located. The structure still stands but it is no longer habitable or safe, making the retrieval of the collections from inside a challenging task in itself. The ensuing monsoon after the earthquake damaged a substantial portion of the manuscripts requiring immediate intervention including minor conservation and digitisation.

The project digitised over 150 titles of pre-modern Hindu ritual manuals from Kathmandu Valley. The material was given primary conservation care, and it is now housed safely at the ancestral home of the owner. The project team gained invaluable experience in digitisation and metadata creation, especially with respect to ‘accordion’ books. The team also improve on their language skills, in the Pracalit script and in Newari and Sanskrit languages.

Project Details

Location: Nepal, Southern Asia, Asia Organiser(s): Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) Project partner(s): Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya Funder(s): Arcadia Funding received: £42,242 Commencement Date: 10/2016 Project Status: Completed
Project owner? Update this project

Related Projects

EAP1402 Pub003

19th-century documents from the Peruvian asylum el Manicomio del Cercado

The Victor Larco Herrera Hospital in the centre of Lima, Peru, was closed in 1917. Its archives, dating back to 1859, consist of medical documentation as well as administrativ…

Explore project
EAP1306 Silk Museum

The Caucasian Silk Circle: Digitising Photo Collection of the State Silk Museum in Georgia

The State Silk Museum of Georgia holds the only documentary evidence of the practice of sericulture in the 19th century. Taken during expeditions of the Caucasian Sericulture …

Explore project
EAP1294 team

Safeguarding for Posterity Two Private Collections of Palm-Leaf Manuscripts from the Tamil Country

The Kalliṭaikuṟicci and Villiyampākkam collections are palm-leaf collections held privately in India. The collections are essential to study the prevalent reading practices in…

Explore project