Nima / Rajmahal (?): a Private Tibetan Residential Building

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A few steps away from Chaugan Chowk, the Tibetan-style residential complex is like a mini fortress featuring buildings in lovely orange and white color. We are not sure about the name of the building. We asked the locals. Some of them told us that it was called Nima, others told that it was known as Rajmahal, and some named it as Shaolin. They say it is a private property of a wealthy Tibetan. We went there twice. But unfortunately, the owner was not there both the times. An old Tibetan lady who understands only Tibetan language guards the building. If you know the name, tell us. (Email us at or tweet us at @theoffABHA)

The barks of worrisome, suspicious dogs prevailed over the silence until the lady came out and chained them. We stayed away from the door until she indicated to come in.

The tall black door with red frame opens into a circular cemented area laced with statues of semi nude women playing musical instruments, holding garlands, and / or wearing pleasing expressions. Amid these statues sculpted on carved platforms is a very high platform that has a statue of white bearded sage with wide open, attentive eyes. The four red pillars support pagoda-like golden color roofs over the platform. One of the roofs’ corners change into faces of makaras. The roofs are decorated with geometrical and floral patterns in red, gold, blue, green, and white colors.

The red color flags surmounted by multi-colored victory banners flutter near the prayer drum house built after the female sculptures. Beyond that the tar path forks: one branch ends at the main residential building and the other leads to the temple and small individual residential units.

A flight of grey marble steps guarded by two female statues, wherein the ladies greeting with folded hands (namaskar mudra), leads to the porch built on a white platform. The front wall is full of Tibetan windows with deep blue frames. The flat roof features a pair of makara faces, victory banners, and wheel and deer emblem in gold color. The red pillars are topped with kirtimukhas. A metal gong in the wooden frame stands in the porch.

On the left and right sides, the orange walls are punctuated with the sloping Tibetan style windows protected by the narrow blue-green slanting roofs. The red color pillars crowned with parasols, kalashs (vases) and modern bulbs double as lamp posts.  A wide band of dark plum purple color runs near the top of the wall on the all sides. The sensual statues of females adorn the left side, backside and right side of the temple.

A small pond separates the fairy tale orange residential building surrounded with plants and trees and the temple. The walls are a showcase of a series of narrow and wide Tibetan style windows. The flat roof supports traditional Tibetan symbols, including victory banners, red flags, and a pagoda-style structure. The color scheme ranges from orange near the ground to deep purple to gold at the top. The pipes are painted orange for continuity in the walls.


“Architecture should speak of its time and place,but yearn for timelessness.” — Frank Gehry