Many urban spaces in Kathmandu have specific traditional, cultural and religious relevance. They are hosts to events and festivals. Yet to a large extent, understanding of a place is limited to its function. The network and dynamics of many other issues that have an effect on the place are not the most obvious considerations. Places change with time and changes in economic potentials. In the past changes across the globe have resulted in the advocacy of expert led planning principles, however the organic development of places in history have shown the relevance of networks created by people, through time. One of the neglected factors affecting a place is also the temporal dimension. Events, festivals etc. revitalize places and people, yet their contribution to the development of the community, activities and the space, and hence the ‘place’ is not a primary consideration. The main objective of this research is to understand the role of temporary phenomenon in the development of urban morphology. The phenomenon chosen here is the annual chariot festival of Rato Machindranath, observed in the city of Patan. And the development of urban morphology is studied through the concepts of place-making and self organization. The research is conducted as a quasi experiment studying two sections of a street in Patan. The chariot festival is physically observed in one while the procession does not pass through the other section. Three methods of data collection are used, firstly physical observation where the two sections of the street are observed in the context of interactions with space. At the same time measure drawings were drafted to see different other physical aspects. Secondly, interviews were conducted with the representatives of the groups responsible for organizing the festival as well as communal organizations in both the sites. Finally, a questionnaire survey conducted with the users in the study site and the control site was used to find the perception and participation of the people. The findings indicate a strong presence of self-organization and participation within the festival. It also showcases that the community in the study and control site do not have significant differences in the socio-cultural context. However, in the physical sense the perception of people was significantly different regarding the changes in their locations. The collective definition of the place was found to strongly co-relate with non-functional aspects as well, especially the historic, cultural and religious aspects. People were found to account for the development of the place through time, in their association with the place, and not just the primary use. Certain impacts of the festival was also noticed in the urban morphology. Thus this research shows that there is a strong presence of networks and overlaps in the temporary event of the chariot festival. The theories of self-organization and place-making via participation could be tested in this study; however, it was also found that these factors were not equally strong in non-festival time. Therefore, the strong potential to further strengthen the identity of Patan, and that of the chariot route, cannot be neglected.

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Jachnow, A.R.
Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies

Pujari, S. (2014, September). Exploring the Effects of the Chariot Festival of Rato Machindranath on the Urban Morphology of Patan. Retrieved from