|Maharajah Juddha's Manor House|
Even in the sixties Bodhnath was standing tall with its golden spire glistening in the morning light for people to behold and be blessed from miles around it. The exiled Tibetans had made it their focal point of national longing. Although the Dalai Lama had made Dharamshala in India his abode, many other spiritual leaders and incarnate lamas made Bodhnath their spiritual Mecca. Lama Yeshey came here from Darjeeling with a newly ordained monk, the American erstwhile actress and hippie Zina Rachevsky.
Recently I had the unexpected pleasure of visiting the sanctuary where Zina and the Lama made their home while planning the project of building the Kopan Monastery. Teenchuli Durbar as it was known was the retreat of Maharajah Juddha Shumsher of Nepal. Located at a commanding vantage point the maharajah could secure the blessing of Bodhnath every morning during his prayers even as his soldiers could secure him from worldly adversaries. Juddha had acquired the property from a langada karnel, a lame colonel, who had built the main structure in 1859 A.D. that is still extant today. Perhaps the colonel was a war hero who returned with Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana from the Mutiny with the proverbial Lucknow loot. Could he have been the legendary Colonel Gambir Singh Rayamajhi who single-handedly captured an enemy cannon though severely wounded?
|Langada Karnel's house built in 1859 A.D.|
Others equally fascinating have used the property in its long journey to the custody of the present owners. One tenant would not allow even a bag of cement to come inside the property, so well enamoured was she by the brick and mud walls 3 ft. deep, by the wooden floors and beamed ceilings. Another tenant was Tom Pritzker who stayed there incognito perhaps planning for the big hotel nearby until people found out that he was the chairman of Hyatt Corp. and listed in Forbe's Fortune 500! The present owners want to develop a hotel there too and Oh! what a jolly good idea! With 33 ropanis of land the property would offer ample space for a mid-size heritage hotel with a perfect mix of Rana history and Buddhist spiritualism. It could one day replace the storied Kailash Kuti Bhawan of the Licchavi rulers as one of the awesome landmarks in the valley.
|Teenchuli, what was its function?|