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Swiss chaitya

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
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chaitya

Himal Khabarpatrika, 18-24 January

When Alain Bordier, founder of Alain Bordier Foundation wanted to build a Nepali-style Lichchhavi Chaitya within the premises of the Tibet Museum in Gruyères in Switzerland, he contacted Nepali art connoisseur, Ulrich von Schroeder.

He couldn’t afford to build an elaborate Chaitya (stupa) and an exact replica would invite unnecessary legal hassles, so he suggested getting a Nepali over to build a new Purna Chaitya in Nepal and take it to Switzerland.

Architect Rajan Shrestha from Bhaktapur integrated the designs of the hemispherical dome of a Chaitya outside Kuthubaha and Chabahil for the base of Kinnari Statue. Enshrined with precious gems, the sculpture’s base was to be carved with Nepali and Newari inscriptions.

With the design part complete, they had to find an artist for the job. Placing ads in newspapers was not only time consuming but also expensive so they went around Patan looking for someone. Finally, they met Santalal Dyahkhah Jyapu in Khokana, an artist whose skills, perseverance, passion and humility far outweighed his lack of a formal degree in art.

Their search for an appropriate stone for the sculpture took them even longer than the search for the sculptor. But, after seven months they located a stone in a quarry located 4km west of Pharping that was perfect size and
texture.

Although the Chaitya was carved in four months, finding a way to smoothening the surface with sand-blasting the surface took some time. The completed Chaitya was finally taken to Switzerland and installed according to ritual by a Tibetan Kagyu Lama last year.

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