Changes in Balbu village

You can also read this article in Nepal Bhasa. The first image was taken from Jheegu balambu blogspot, while all others are clicked by me

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Balambu, Dese

Balbu is a village in Kathmandu. It lies in the Western part of Kathmandu Valley. However, the place has been called as Balbu by the natives, yet officially it is called Balambu. The place was once a village has now turned into sub-urban area and the VDC has been merged with other VDCs to form Chandagiri Municipality. It is know that the settlement was established in Lichhavi period. Yet research has to be done on many aspects of this historical village. However, there is also a Sanskritized term called “Bhastipur”. Just like all other Newa towns, this Newa town is also beautiful and designed/carved in its own style.

Balbu is my mother’s birth place, my maternal uncle’s house. I have spent times in the village and still visit it time to time. The last time I visited there, just though of going to each and every corner of the village and take some snaps.

In this album, I will show you the place names. Like all other Newa towns and villages, the toponyms of Newa tongue has been changed or altered the spelling. Moreover, with change of village in to sub-urban area, environment and climate has also changed. In many aspects it is positive, in many aspects it is negative. Here,  I have explained about what it is in its caption and how this place has changed from my childhood to my late teenage now. From socio-cultural aspect, to geography, demography and occupation.

(Also a notice that I am not a full time resident of the place. i might have missed some localities/toles and also may have made false-full assumptions. I might add other photographs if I get to know more. Moreover, the village also lacks many place name boards and a flex map of the village that directs to various places.)


This place is Ga: गः My mother’s family was the first family to move here. Before that this area was fully agricultural land.


Bhel-bun भेल्बुँ once full; of agricultural land is slowly turing to new settlement. The real estate had constructed plotting in every fileds and many houses have appread in this place. In Nepal Bhasa बुँ means field. However in this new settlement, there is no water taps so they can get drinking water. They therefore come to Ga: गः

The pathway from  Ga: गः to Bhel-bun भेल्बुँ. It looks like a dumping area.


This is an open garden in Ga: गः. My mother said this place was a community garden, green grass, sunflower plants, banana tree and many fruits preserved by the community for the community. When I was small, there were no sunflowers but little grass and few trees remaining. At least animals could graze there. Now we cannot see grass here. Half portion of this garden has been used to contruct “Nahuda Clinic” नहूँदा क्लिनिक


In other Newa towns and villages, there are Hiti(stone sprouts). But in this Newa village I did not see any Hiti. rather there are these kindas of taps. The water in these taps come directly from mata tirtha water origin. 


A small temple constructed by cement, is obviously not constructed in Newa style or architecture. One of the person said that the idols were found in flowing river and they established this temple.


This small river is Ga: Khusi गः खुसि. Ga: is the place where is flows and Khusi in Nepal Bhasa means river. During my childhood, although this river was narrow, water level was high and clean. During monsoon water was more clear and high. Now we can see all dust over here. It is just beside Bhel-bun भेल्बुँ. Since new settlements are increasing also mixing of pipelines to the river can be seen. I doubt that if it still supports water life.


This is just another picture of same Ga: Khusi. People used to use this river’s upper part for irrigation of field. In monsoon, for rice plantation, water was taken from Tikwa तिक्व that are small channels beside your fields that bring river water in the fields. Now it is no more. It is polluted.


This is also Ga: khusi, in Bhel-bun भेल्बुँ. I regret that I did not take its picture a long ago. This river now seems as a mere narrow and small channel. No new comer in the village can believes that this river someday used to be a swimming spot, place to take bath, wash clothes and that supported beautiful water life.


This place is Dombu दोम्बु. I have even heard people say that this place was called as Dwan-bu द्वँबु. Well there were no houses right here. While I was small, only one house existed. Now this area is turning into new settlement area.


This is Moo Khusi मू खुसि. Moo means main and Khusi  means river in Nepal Bhasa. This river used to contain big water volume. When my mom was small people used to swim there, bath there and wash clothes there. This river supported water life. Fishing of villagers was common. My mom said once few people came here for fishing and used some chemicals in the river. The other day all fishes came out dead and they took them. Since then fishes have been seen hardly. Yet I hope it does support water life. Even in my childhood I used to force my cousins to take me for fishing. I was scared with frogs though. Sadly the water level in recent years have decreased too much. It just seems like a small channel while it used to be a big river. During monsoon this river used to over flow, But now it seems as it is about to dry. It has become a tiny river. I still remember I caught fishes and snails here for my aquarium.  All the area around it was agricultural land and now is going concrete houses.


The point where Ga: Khusi गःखुसि and Moo Khusi मूखुसि meets has now become a dumping zone.


This place is called Baga: बगः. The one in the picture is my mom’s nini(father’s sister). She is a famous swayam sewika of the village. This is her field. We call it Baga:-bun बगः बुँ. There used to be a bottle and plastic factory nearby as well as a shoe company. The Moo Khusi flow beside it. Sadly this and other few fields are only left here. Others have turned into houses.


This place is called Pan-bhujaa: पंभुजाः It means an area with few bamboo trees. The area used to be scary to go alone during my childhood.

As soon as you cross the पंभुजाः of Bhel-bun भेल्बुँ comes this place. This place is called Sa-laan-dwa सलांद्व. This place was also fully agricultural land. There was only a single house here during my childhood. Now this is also turning to a new settlement.


This is a sign board saying way to Ward office 17 and 18 of Chandragiri Municipality. This used to be office of Balambu village Development Committe. It is located in place called Sata: सतः


I forgot what this place is called. Anyways fileds still exist here and people do plantation. I remember my mom’s nini had field here as well where they planted cucumber, radish and carrot. We plucked it, washed in the river Moo Khusi and ate it with tasty chilly and salt mixture. We might also see this place getting a new settlement in less time. Sadly, the fertile land are being destroyed drastically.


This is an old house in place called Sata: सतः. It obviously belongs to one of my relative of my mother.


I don’t know what this place is called but of course seems to me as a falcha फल्चा. Falcha are constructed in Newa settlements for pedestrians to take temporary shelter when needed and community gathering. Falcha in Nepal Bhasa means traditional resting places that also served as venues for meetings, celebrations and festivities. Also a woman was carpentering here.


Some temples beside that falcha.


The same Moo Khusi near the falcha. This is also the same condition of drying of river. Some people are washing clothes here.


Although this school has a name Shree Balambu Higher Secondary School, the local Newars call it Kwey school क्वय् स्कुल because it lies in lower or depressed part of the village. Probably the first school of the village.


An old house near the school.


A temple of Mahalaxmi. The locals call it Mahalachimi-dega: माहालछिमि देगः The area is called Pee-Gan पीगं


A slope that connects the core part of village with Pee-Gan पीगं


This is called Kwey Dhwakhaa क्वय् ध्वाखा which means lower gate. In Newa settlements you see such Dhwakhaa(gates) constructed.


This place is called Kwaa-tha: क्वाथः In the picture is an old house of Kwaa-tha.


The slope way to Kwaa-tha: क्वाथः


Ga: chen गःछेँ


I mini stupa like carved. Symbolically mixture of both Hindu and Buddhist elements.

An inscription written in Prachalit script which is near the mini stupa.


Animal rearing in Dese. Des देस is the core area of the village.


A lane in Des देस. Probably name I don’t know.


This is called Kwey-falcha क्वय् फल्चा which means a Falcha in downward part of village.


Another mini stupa. These kinds of mini stupas are called Cee-baha: चीबहाः


A banner put during Jatra of the village. It reads झीगु संस्कृति, झीगु तजिलजि, झीगु म्हसिका
Our culture Our identity.


A almost broken house near Laachi लाछि


A  residential house with this beautiful entrance. Probably these architecture happens in Newa settlements. This is near Laachhi लाछि, in Des देस


Hasana chen हसना छेँ in Des


Waak-nani वाकननि. Actually the spelling should be as “नि”, but here it is written “नी”. This is change in spelling of Newa terms. This Nani ननि lies in Desh. (Nepal Bhasa:ननि) is also a type of courtyard found amongst Newar communities in Nepal. It is also dominant type of courtyard in Newa Architecture. It is a courtyard enclosed with houses all around and a small alley or a path way to enter. There are also such courtyards called Baha:बहाः. But, usually Nani ननि are smaller that them. In Baha: बहाः there is a temple, a stupa or any deity idol but in Nani ननि there is not. These are the differences.


Dathu falcha दथु फल्चा which means falcha in the middle. It lies in the mid of the village.


Laachi लाछि. The correct spelling in Newa as लाछि has ben altered as लाछी


Its a Ganesh temple. The locals call it गनेद्यः


Path to Dhwaksi ध्वक्सि from Laachhi लाछि


Another Dhwaa-khaa ध्वाखा(gate) that takes us out from the core part of the village. It lies in east as well as mids of village. It is near ध्वाक्सि. In fact ध्वाक्सि was named because it lies near Dhwaa-khaa ध्वाखा.


This is view outside that Dhwaka. The place is called Paa-chaa पाःचा, which means slope. This slope is exit from Desh(core part of the village) and entering the fields and agricultural land. But, in recent days, all of these are turning to new settlements.


This place is near Dhwaka. So it is called Dhwaksi ध्वाक्सि. Dhwakhaa ध्वाखा means gate and सि means border, edge part, so the place is “ध्वाखा सि”. The term “ध्वाक्सि” is derived from this phrase as shortcut. But in the board has a sight spelling error. सि has been written as सी


This is a construction project of way from Dhwaksi ध्वाक्सि to Paa-cho पाःच्व.


Paa-cho पाःच्व which was once complete agricultural land has drastically changed into new settlements like this. Even the native term has been replaced and names like Pragati nagar and Hariyali basti have been kept.

Another tap. This village seems to have no stone sprouts like other Newa settlements. It is said that the water comes from Mata tirtha. Also we can see that with increase of settlements and houses in agricultural land, water crisis and problems are slowly arising. Where there used to be fresh water now doubts, since there are other many houses and industries in the pathway of water from Matatirtha to the village. Similarly, now long lines than before are necessary in many places.


ह्वामननि A place in interior part Des. Even here is a spelling error in the board.


A temple, probably where lakhey dance takes place.


दुछेँ Du-chhén


Tadhan Falcha तधं फल्चा which means big flacha


Krishna Dyo-Temple of Krishna which is in Des.



Hiti Gaa: हिति गाः The board has been covered with dust. The small pond is called Hiti Gaa: It looks small, but locals say it is very deep and my mother also tells story that once a person who is drowned there cannot come out. They say that there is a pulling force deep inside. But we are not sure what it is. It maybe simply a myth or there is something mysterious.


Two temples Naa-sa: dyo नासः द्यः and Hi-fa: dyo हिफः द्यः Probably the Sanskrit translation of  Naa-sa: dyo नासः द्यः is Nateshor. But I don’t know what is Hi-fa: dyo हिफः द्यः


Another temple with Newa architecture. It is called Muka: Chhén मुकः छेँ




A house with paintings of five buddha(Pancha Buddha) above its entance door.


A banner of a cultural group in the village.


A pond just beside the entrance gate to the village.


A banner in Nepal Bhasa with a poem remembring Dhir Suwal. This is beside the main entrance gate called Moo Dhwaa-khaa मू ध्वाखा. Sadly the gate was destroyed in recent earthquake.


A Bihar outside the core part. The place is called Baitha बैथ. It is Pranidhipurna Mahavihar.


This is an open space outside the core part near Gurju hiti(Gurjudhara)/ this open space is called Bikas बिकास. Locals organize various kinds of program here. This is a big open ground.

A picture of Bhastipur Newa English School. The only Newa school of the village.


The place is called Mahadya महाद्यः because it has a temple of Mahadev.


Mahadya महाद्यः which means Mahadev. The temple and a Hiti(tap) near it.


A house where it is written as Newa Chhen(House) नेवाः छेँ in Ranjana script, near Mahadya महाद्यः


A narrow ally to Waak-nani वाकननि. Such allies are called


Old women basking sun in straw made carpet called Sukoo सुकू in Maha-dyo 


The board reads as Khaasti Buddha खास्ति बुद्ध. Probably this might relate with a World Heritage Site: Khaasti Mahachaitya, which is nowadays called as Baudhanath.


This area is called Pal-bun पल्बुँ. This also used to be complete agricultural land. Few houses are seen now. As you cross Pal-bun पल्बुँ, the Newa area is over.

Whatever I found here are all correct according to my conscience, but for the weight of numbers of criticisms to be overcome, I would like to do it once again.