Newari Traditional House:

Not just a dwelling place made of fine brickwork and wood carvings

A Newari house is made of bricks strengthened by mud plaster with small wooden doors and interior staircase. What are striking about the Newari houses are the fine brick work and unique wood carvings. Newari houses represent the lifestyle of Newars (original ethnic group of Kathmandu Valley) which evolved around art.



I have always been fascinated with traditional houses such as the Bamboo houses and Spanish style houses in my home country so when I planned my trip to Nepal, I really thought of staying in a traditional Newari house and see what would the experience be like.


Newari houses are common in old Patan area and Kathmandu Valley. I found guest houses in both areas but I have to say that old Patan is a better area to stay in as it is more traditional and authentic than Kathmandu.


mind your head

“Mind your head” – this is something visitors should not miss to read when entering a Newari house because the entrance doors are small and requires the visitors to bow. Despite having low ceilings, the house offers a welcoming atmosphere.


The Newari house where I stayed in Patan was built 300 years ago. A Photo of the house owner with his brothers was displayed on the wall and one can easily tell that the photo itself has its own history to tell. Traditional furniture and materials were added as decoration around the house and it has a courtyard which is typical in Newari houses. There is a basin made of brass in the bathroom while other materials were adapted for modern use.


an decorative artwork hanged outside the guest room

A couple of interesting artworks hanged on the wall caught my attention. I thought they depicted scenes of the simple everyday life of Newar people in work or recreation.


One must not expect modern equipment in a Newari house (with the exception of a Wi-fi) as most houses exhibits practicality. A Newari house doesn’t have any fan and it could be warm during the hot season. If you find it uncomfortable, you may request an electric fan to be provided by the guest house staff. Rates in Newari guest houses are fairly reasonable but it still depends on the season. Some guest houses offer discounted rates during off season.

The devastation caused by the 2015 earthquake is still evident in a lot of places in Nepal. Restoration of historical landmarks, ancient Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries and a number of prominent structures continues. Even the guest house where I stayed in didn’t escape such devastation. They had to close the place down for two years and while they re-opened in 2017, construction of other guest rooms is still in progress.



The short conversations I had over a cup of tea, coffee, a glass of water and a platter of momos with the host and new friends truly made my stay in Patan delightful.


It is amazing how the Newari houses were preserved and continue to be an important component of the cultural heritage of Nepal. It is not just a dwelling place made of fine brickwork and wood carvings, it is home to a rich culture, tradition and art, and many thoughtful and charming people.


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