From November 23rd to 27th, 2023, a South-South Excursion took place in Kathmandu as part of the DAAD-funded Partnership ‘Urban Transformation and Placemaking: Learning from cities in South Asia and Germany.’ This collaboration brought together four students from SPA Delhi and five students from KU Art + Design, accompanied by faculty members, artists, architects, and heritage activists.

The focal point of this engagement was a South-South Excursion, a journey that extended over two days, immersing participants in the rich tapestry of Kathmandu’s cultural heritage. The chosen backdrop for exploration was four settlements in Lalitpur, each holding its unique history, changes, and challenges. Guided by notable personalities such as Anil Chitrakar, Dr. Rohit Ranjitkar, Padma Sundhar Maharjan, and Asoj Maharjan,  the exploration delved into the history, changes, and challenges of these areas, including Patan, Sunakothi, and Khokana.

The outcomes of this immersive experience went beyond disciplinary boundaries, offering a profound outlook that acknowledged the symbiosis of communal and living heritage within the context of a rapidly evolving modern city. Titled “Nostalgia Vs Need,” the excursion aimed to comprehend the historical significance, changes, and challenges faced by the settlements, contributing to a nuanced understanding of Patan, Sunakothi, and Khokana.

This collaborative endeavor not only facilitated a deeper understanding of the cultural landscape but also emphasized the importance of balancing tradition and modernity. The participants, representing diverse academic backgrounds, came away with a holistic perspective that respects the intricate interplay between heritage preservation and the evolving needs of a contemporary urban environment. The excursion served as a microcosm of exploration, fostering a collective appreciation for the layered history and adaptive resilience of the settlements in Patan, Sunakothi, and Khokana.



Prof. Dr. Arunava Dasgupta
School of Planning and Architecture

Arunava Dasgupta is an architect and urban designer currently engaged as Head of the urban design program in the Department of Urban Design at School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi.  As founder member and Vice President of the Institute[...]

Sujan Chitrakar
Kathmandu University

Sujan Chitrakar is associated with KU Art+Design since the time of its inception in 2003. He led the Department from 2005 to  2019. Prior to this, he served as an adjunct faculty member at Tribhuwan University and Khwopa Engineering College.[...]

Sujan Dangol
Kathmandu University

Sujan Dangol is a multidisciplinary artist who invests most of his time in community-based projects. Sujan understands his art form needs to be translated into the simplest of forms. He believes, that “art cannot be manufactured but it comes as[...]

Anil Chitrakar

Anil Chitrakar is a social entrepreneur. He was recognized as one of the 100 "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 1993. He is the founder of the Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA) and the co-founder of Himalayan Climate Initiative.

Dr. Rohit Ranjitkar

Dr. Rohit Ranjitkar has drawn upon his experiences from the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) in his conservation and heritage reconstruction projects, like Patan Durbar Square. He believes in collaborating to achieve the best results: “I try my best to[...]

Padma Sundhar Maharjan

An architect by profession (B.Arch, IOE), Padma Sundar Maharjan is currently working on heritage conservation. He worked as senior site architect for the reconstruction of four temples destroyed by the 2015 earthquake in Kathmandu Darbār square (UNESCO World Heritage Site)[...]