Newar - Settlements



Most Newari settlements are built on elevated ground surrounded by agricultural fields. They appear to be urban with clusters and rows of brick buildings of three or more stories that often surround paved courtyards or border on narrow lanes. Kathmandu (235,000 people), Lalitpur (80,000), and Bhaktapur ( 48,000 ) stand out politicoeconomically and in terms of population. The populations of typical Newari settlements range from about one thousand to several thousand, though Kirtipur and Thimi are smaller. Newari settlements abound with temples and other religious places that form a sacred microcosm. These settlements are each divided into two major parts (e.g., upper and lower parts, male and female halves, etc.), which in some cases are named after the main temple in each part. This dichotomy is expressed in ritual processions, mock battles, distribution of socioreligious groups, and buildings. Major settlements have politicoreligious centers and are protected not only by surrounding walls but also by the temples of eight goddesses and other religious Structures placed in proper directions. The agricultural population forms the majority in most of the Newar settlements except for modern Kathmandu and commercial towns outside the valley. A considerable commercial population can also be found in many settlements near the hills such as Sankhu, Capagaon, Lubhu, Banepa, and Dhulikhel, which are trade centers connecting the valley with points outside. Villages Between these and the central cities are more agricultural. In some rural settlements, the Jyāpu (farmer) caste forms the overwhelming majority. Others have a multicaste structure.

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