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Where else in the world can you see some of the most important religious stone sculptures of the land, a room full of “breathtaking bronzes”, a collection of priceless Paubha scroll paintings, a world class collection of ancient Asian firearms, swords and khukuris, and several leather cannons captured during the 1788 war between Nepal and Tibet?Nepal’s National Museum at the Chhauni has all this, and more.
Chhauni means ‘Parade Ground’, and it was there in 1928 AD that this intriguing museum was first established.
At first it was called the ‘Chhauni Silkhana’ and the original displays, mostly armaments, were housed in an historic old palace constructed decades earlier by Bhimsen Thapa (1775-1839).
Thapa was Nepal’s second prime minister under the Shah kings, and is considered a great national hero of the country.
The original name, ‘Chhauni Silkhana’, literally meant ‘the stone house of arms and ammunitions’.
One art historian has described the valley “an enormous open museum” where thousands of icons of gods and goddesses, and a few statues of kings like Jayavarman, are scattered about.