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Winner of the PATA Heritage Award - 1980, The Dwarika's Hotel bears the look and feel of Malla Age palaces. The monumental assembly of wooden, metal and terracotta works of ancient as well as present-day artisans, all catalogued systematically, makes the place a living museum.
In addition to paying its tribute to Nepal's cultural and architectural heritage, The Dwarika's Hotel also caters excellent hospitality services to its guests. From reception to room service, from dining to recreation, everything reflects the luxury Malla kings used to have centuries ago.
The Dwarika's Hotel is proud to have as its president, Mrs. Ambica Shrestha, who is also the Honorary Consul General of Spain. Mrs. Shrestha has continued supporting the perpetual mission of heritage-conservation and revival, initiated by her late husband and founder of the hotel, Mr. Dwarika Das Shrestha [1925-1992].
Sheba Rana Shrestha (Sales & Marketing Manager) and Kishor Lal Shrestha (Sales Executive) are your dynamic hosts at the Dwarika's Hotel. In addition to conducting their job responsibilities with utmost professionalism, they interact generously with their clients, colleagues and guests, providing their assistance whenever required.
And if they ever get some free time, they are usually seen somewhere in the courtyard not only sharing snacks and drinks, but also brewing newer concepts for the coming days.
The hotel is operated by The Dwarika's Group of Hotels & Resorts, which is also developing and supporting several other projects based on sustainable models similar to the one envisioned by Mr. Dwarika in the early 1950's.Mr. Dwarika Das Shrestha dedicated his life to identify, resurrect and preserve the priceless heritage of Kathmandu.
This accommodation provider has taken action to address one or more issues (whether environmental, social or cultural) which will contribute positively to the long term viability of the destination and hence their site displays a Caring for the destination rating.
Main area of focus in Caring for the Destination:
Detailed description of the Caring for the Destination Initiative:
The Dwarika's Hotel, in essence, is a part of an exemplary project initiated by Dwarika Das Shrestha (1925 - 1992) and after him, shouldered by his wife Mrs. Ambica Shrestha. His passion for the sublime and priceless heritage of his country was the driving force behind his lifetime mission of recreating a 15th to 17th century environment that could coexist with the world of today.
Dwarika's Architectural Heritage Restoration and Revival Project
Conservation: From 1952, Dwarika began collecting as much of ancient wood carvings from old buildings being demolished as he could with whatever money he had to prevent those pieces from vanishing forever. Detailed study of the collected woodwork was carried out to find their origin, the source they were acquired from and also their historical values and the findings were systematically recorded like in a museum.
Restoration: Where old pieces were too delicate to be used directly, they were carefully copied into new wood. To do so, two local carvers were appointed at first and they trained other young craftsmen to develop the manpower required for the restoration works. Today the hotel has within its premises, a full-time woodcarving school and a workshop with thirty woodcarvers and carpenters who are learning, restoring ancient masterpieces, and at the same time, earning their living.
Revival: The most ingenious of Dwarika's works was combining original or restored woodworks with traditional architecture to construct the same kind of buildings that existed centuries ago. This not only served as a permanent solution for storing his growing collection, but also revived the glory of the past. At first, an old Newari style building was built. This concept triggered a painstaking process that went on to form the award winning set of buildings and structures of the hotel.
Another main challenge encountered in the restoration process was that the woodworks could not be directly integrated with modern building styles. A special type of glued, tempered and oiled bricks as seen in old temples and palaces of Kathmandu had to be used to preserve traditional aesthetics. Since such bricks were no longer produced, Dwarika had them exclusively made in the outskirts of the valley. Further, to minimise cost, he replaced expensive woodworks with much cheaper terra-cota bricks, after moulding them meticulously to render the original designs.
Sustainability: By starting a small guest house to finance the project in its early stage, he started a process that would eventually develop a self-sustaining model of eco-tourism. Based on the materials, manpower and other resources of Kathmandu, the sole objective of this model was to preserve the living heritage of the valley itself.
Today, The Dwarika's Hotel is one of the most acclaimed luxury hotels in South Asia. To him, however, it was more as a means to fulfil his noble mission than a profit-oriented business.
Accolades: As a living example of how tourism and the grassroots can sustainably flourish, the hotel continues to inspire conservationists while compelling others to think twice before ruthlessly pursuing modernisation. In recognition of its remarkable achievements, it was awarded with the PATA Heritage Award (1980) and the INTACH-SATTE Heritage Award (2001).
Ram Mandir (Temple) Restoration: For over a decade, The Dwarika's Hotel has been helping in the restoration of Ramachandra Mandir, a 19th century temple of Lord Ram. Located in Battisputali, located near the hotel, the old temple was severely damaged due to unplanned urbanisation. A committee chaired by Dr. Govinda Tandan is monitoring all the operations mostly funded through donations. After the successful restoration of the main temple in 2002, building of additional rest houses for pilgrims, garden and other infrastructures was started.
The Dwarika's Hotel has been providing on-site support by appointing a team of its engineers and craftsmen, and off-site support by raising funds and is committed to continue doing so in all future operations. It also encourages its guests and local communities to visit the site and provides up-to-date information on the project to interested ones.
Community School: Dwarika Das Shrestha was deeply moved by the dilapidated condition of the villagers of Pithua Village of Chitwan District which he visited in 1989. He wanted to help the villagers in the long term and decided to open a school for their children, but his dream could not be realised during his lifetime.
Mrs Ambica Shrestha pledged to continue her husband's dream by founding Dwarika Das Primary School on the land donated by her late husband. In 1995, the first classroom made of bamboo and hay structure provided free education to 58 students of Grade I. The school was soon received with high regards by the villagers and they too started involving themselves in the growth of the school, donating whatever they could muster up from their meagre holdings.
Year after year the school was upgraded with the help of the locals as well as non-profit organisations. As of 2006, the school was promoted from primary to middle school, with 5 permanent classrooms and other facilities, educating 234 students up to Grade 6 absolutely free of cost. It is aimed to be promoted to a fully-fledged higher secondary (Grade 12) school in near future, the construction for which is already underway.
The once impoverished villagers of Pithuwa Village have greatly benefited from the establishment of the school. Since its inception they have taken an active part in the development of the school thereby increasing and empowering the educational level and lives of all the children as well as the elders of the village, hence guaranteeing the children a safe and secure future. Your contribution, no matter how small, would definitely be of great value to the entire village.
Friends of the Bagmati: The Dwarika's Hotel is working closely with Friends of the Bagmati (FOB), founded by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in November 2000. FOB is a group of volunteers who wish to restore Bagmati, the biggest river of Nepal, also considered by Hindus as one of the holiest rivers. It is facing many serious challenges due to uncontrolled human activities such as disposal of sewage, industrial wastes and other solid wastes directly into the river without any treatment, sand mining, etc. The hotel has been actively collaborating with FOB to help conserve the natural state of this river by preventing further degradation and by taking different scientific measures and community based campaigns to clean it up.
More on the project and its activities can be learned from the FOB website (maintained by The Dwarika's Hotel): http://www.friendsofthebagmati.org.np