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View from principal room in Palace at Patun. On the left, temple of Krishna on the right, temple of Mahadeo

View from principal room in Palace at Patun. On the left, temple of Krishna on the right, temple of Mahadeo

Photographer: Taylor, Clarence Comyn

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1863

Shelfmark: Photo 855/(8)

Item number: 8558

Length: 33

Width: 33

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph with a view at Patan; part of a collection of albumen prints taken by Clarence Comyn Taylor between 1863-65, which constitute the earliest photographs of Nepal. Taylor, a soldier in the East India Company's army, was badly wounded in the Indian Uprising of 1857 and turned to Political Service, arriving in Kathmandu in 1863 as Assistant Resident. At this time the British had started a project to document the people and monuments of the Indian sub-continent using photography. Taylor fortuitously was a capable photographer and took images of Nepal for the Government of India. Taylor described this image in his List of pictures as, 'No VIII. View from a window of the principal reception room in the Palace at Patun. Stone temple of Krishna in the back ground to the left, and temple of Mahadeo on the right. In the foreground is an enclosure with steps leading down to a 'Hittee' or fountain'. Patan, a few miles south of Kathmandu

across the Bagmati river, was a fulcrum of Buddhism in the Kathmandu Valley and a great centre for art and architecture, legend stating that it had been founded by the Indian Buddhist emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. It was a prominent centre of the Licchavi dynasty (300-800AD), but most of its monuments date from the Malla dynasty (1200-1769) in whose time the Valley was divided into three city-states of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, each embellished with Darbar Squares at their hearts, filled with palaces and temples. This photograph of the northern end of the Darbar Square at Patan shows the Vishveshwara temple on the right and the Krishna temple with its Garuda pillar facing it, both dating from the first half of the 17th century. In the foreground is the depression of the Manidhara, an ancient well dating from the 6th century. A woodcut version of this photograph was published by James Fergusson in 1876.

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