DANAM, the Digital Archive of Nepalese Arts and Monuments, is the database of the Nepal Heritage Documentation Project. All of its content is available to the public for free and can be accessed online. Datasets in DANAM include structured information about the monuments’ histories, object details, anthropological data on religious and social activities, architectural details, maps, plans and drawings. The database offers photographic documentation of inscriptions, monument objects and monument views, and if possible, documentation of social and religious activities. Almost every general description is available in both English and Nepali. We also provide references to scholarly documentation whenever possible, either for further interest or as sources for our documentation or historical research.
DANAM is based on Arches (V4), an open source graph technology platform designed for managing cultural heritage repositories. Its content is shareable and interoperable, thus guaranteeing long-term access, sufficient storage and the smooth usability of the monument data inventory.
To use DANAM, please click here. We do however advise that you first take a look at the information below. Please also note that DANAM is currently under development and is continuously being updated and reviewed.
When using any of the information or images from this website in academic publications, print, or elsewhere on the internet, please reference: Christiane Brosius and Axel Michaels (Eds.), Nepal Heritage Documentation Project (https://nhdp-test.kjc.uni-heidelberg.de/), last accessed: dd/mm/yyyyy
DANAM ACCOMPLISHMENTS (Monthly updated)
THE AIMS OF DANAM
Nepal, and especially the Kathmandu Valley, is historically and culturally unique and substantially endangered. Rapid urban transformation and development, as well as damage caused by the two earthquakes of 2015 have caused many of its monuments to disappear over the past two to three decades. Worryingly, heritage experts anticipate that as much as an additional 50% may vanish in the coming two decades. The main goal of the Nepal Heritage Documentation Project is therefore to produce a close to comprehensive inventory that helps to capture the endangered and previously undocumented built heritage of Nepal, with a strong focus on the Kathmandu Valley. In doing so, we hope to contribute to creating awareness and knowledge of Nepal’s rich past. More than that, however, we also wish to highlight the heritage that is still there and to serve as resource for future generations.
THE STRUCTURE OF DANAM
Data Entry Status: gives you an idea of the progress of the data Input
Identifier: Pruscha refers to Carl Pruscha’s monumental Kathmandu Valley: The preservation of physical environment and cultural heritage, protective inventory, Vienna: Schroll, 1975 (Reprint Kathmandu 2015)
Maps, Plans & Drawings: Location Maps of Patan are mostly based on Bijay Basukala’s and Niels Gutschow’s map of Patan (1990) but have been updated. For Sunaguthi, we have used a ap of the Road and Transport Department and Bungamati has been mapped on a survey of Danish students and faculty in 1968.
Descriptions: This section summarises architectural, (art) historical and anthropological information, as well as any peculiarities.
Damages & Threats: this section is not a detailed condition assessment but lists the most urgent damages and threats to the monuments. If possible, photographs are added for further documentation (in the section ‘Monument images after 2015’).
Images: Almost all photos after 2015 have been made by our team members. The photographer will be acknowledged in a more advanced version together with more metadata. Historical photos are those that have been taken before the earthquakes in 2015. We have also shared materials from organisations such as KVPT and Nepal Picture Library as well as individual persons.
Monument’s Objects: Only the most important objects (statues, images, caityas, etc.) have been included here. Other objects associated with the monument (such as yajñakuṇḍas, maṇḍalas, jaladroṇīs, wells, oil lamps, platforms (dabu/dabali), bells, struts or guardian animals) are listed only when they are exceptionally interesting, very old, or bear an inscription.
Social & Religious Activities: This section mostly lists events and their agents but not detailed information of the actors. For the sake of privacy, personal names have only been given when they are historical and public figures, have been reported in other sources or when the individuals have agreed that their names are published.
Historical Events: Only historical events proven through inscriptions or paper documents are listed here.
Search: The basic search function uses a full-text search of all the material that is available in the datasets. As of yet it is not possible to sort the monuments alphabetically.
Advanced search: For targeted search queries, the platform offers an advanced search module with an option to compose specific combinations of filters.
Summaries: Short summaries of the monuments are found on the left bar.
Location: Street and satellite maps indicate geospatial information of monuments.
Data entry status: DANAM is currently under development and its datasets are continuously reviewed and completed. If in a very preliminary state, we have added ‘work in progress’ to the description panel.
Glossary: For terms in indigenous languages still require standardization and a glossary for special terms is currently prepared.
References: Bibliographical references to further reports and secondary literature have been hyperlinked to Zotero.
Visuals: All photographs, plans, maps and drawings will be successively stored in
heidICON, the object and multimedia database of Heidelberg University. The project makes use of
this sustainable research data platform to provide additional material for each monument open
access, which can be found there with the monument identification number. All images in this
database and in heidICON are and may be only used for non-commercial documentary, academic or
Despite all efforts, it has not always been possible to obtain the photographers' permissions for historical photographs. Whoever feels that his or her rights have been violated, may contact us, so we can take appropriate measures.
All other photos used in DANAM are by team members of NHDP, mostly Yogesh Budhatoki, Nashib Kafle and Thomas Schrom. Unless otherwise indicated, the copyrights on all of these photographs are held by the administration and faculties of the University of Heidelberg. The photographers and the exact date of photography will be listed in the heidICON database. The photos from H.M.G. Nepal/Carl Pruscha (Kathmandu Valley: The preservation of physical environment and cultural heritage, protective inventory, Vienna 1975, reprint Kathmandu 2015) have been predominantly made by Ganesh Man Chitrakar together with Sridhar Lal Manandhar and Carl Pruscha. Since it is not clear who actually pressed the shutter, we only refer to Pruscha 1975 and the approximate date of photography.