Designed by Niels Gutschow, an architectural historian, and Bijay Basukala, an artist, the Chaitya Court embodies a unique diversity of design found within the royal cities of Kathmandu.
Built in 2000, this courtyard holds nine life-size replicas of ancient monuments – Buddhist shrines or chaityas – found in Patan and Kathmandu, built between the 11th to 18th century.
Currently housed at Hyatt Regency Kathmandu, this project emerged as an attempt to preserve both tangible historic structures alongside the intangible cultural heritage, which is carried forward through an annual ceremony. In Buddhist philosophy, chaityas represent the universe: each spire encircling it symbolises paradise.
Each chaitya was consecrated by a Buddhist monk as soon as it was built, thus these structures evoke the sacred within a contemporary space. Every year, this consecration is reinforced with an annual prayer ceremony.
We’ve also constructed a seating area around these shrines, so viewers can experientially learn and absorb the peace and serenity of this monumental form. We organize ‘Chaitya Walks’ – a guided tour of the structures within our courtyard, followed by a walk around areas in Patan, wherein participants look at the original chaityas whilst imbibing the life and culture of locals.
The overarching design of Hyatt Regency Kathmandu takes inspiration from its auspicious connection to Boudhanath Chaitya – one of the great Buddhist monuments of South Asia – which also forms a meeting point of Tibetan Buddhism and the indigenous Newar Buddhist communities.