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.