National Archives of Nepal

In 1812, Giwarnayuddha Bikram Shah ordered a decree to keep the books at the Basantapur Durbar in a systematic order and to preserve them. Later the books were transferred to Thapathali Durbar by Jung Bahadur Rana in 1847 and again in 1853, it was shifted to Durbar High School after the school was completed. After the construction of a library at Ghanta Ghar (clock tower) by Bir Sumsher in 1990, the books were shifted there, in the library named Bir Library.

An extension of Bir Library, the present National Archives of Nepal has an important place in its history. It was established on 3rd October, 1967 under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and was inaugurated by King Mahendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev. The role and importance of such an institution is looked after and preserved by The Archives Preservation Act of 1989. The four main sections, Administrative, Archival, Manuscript and Preservation that are further divided into two main divisions, conservation and microfilm, constitutes The National Archives of Nepal.


Varieties of documents collected from the government offices like the Shaya Mohar, Lal Mohar, Khadganisan, Sanad, Sawals, Chitthipatras, Sandhipatras, Ek-chappes, Dwichappes, Kukkas, Eshitihars and many more are preserved under the Archival Section along with a huge collection of copper plates, rubbings of the stone inscriptions, records of the Government civil servants, government publications and newspapers.

The Manuscript section looks after the conservation and preservation of vast and varied collection of more than 35,000 manuscripts of the Hindu, Buddhist and Tibetan treaties that are related with oriental history and culture. These manuscripts are of different languages and scripts with some written on palm-leaves, birch-barks and Nepali paper and on different color-coated Nepali papers like Harital and Nilpatra. While most of the manuscripts contain beautiful miniature paintings, some are written in gold and silver and the Buddhist manuscripts preserved are also considered as the foremost and probably the oldest Buddhist manuscripts in the world. However, the largest and most valuable collections, probably, are the ones on Tantra and Ayurveda.

All the manuscripts in possession of the National Archives have been microfilmed by the Microfilm Division under the Nepal German Manuscript Preservation Project. Also, the documents belonging to civilian institutions and monasteries have been recorded in the same way. The repair and binding works of manuscripts and documents and their fumigation is done by the Conservation Laboratory at the National Archives. One can fill an application form with a five-rupee stamp and state the required manuscript in order to use the resources of the National Archives. The applications are processed immediately and the applicants are allowed to use the manuscript and the required materials. Located at Maiti Ghar in Kathmandu, the place holds centuries of histories and legends in it.