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Vanderbilt University

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Nepal: Development and Social Change


The purpose of this research is to understand the role of the guthi system in Nepali society, the relationship of the guthi land tenure system with Newari guthi, and the effect of modern society and technology on the ability of the guthi system to maintain and preserve tangible and intangible cultural heritage in Nepal. This research took place in three different sections of Kathmandu. The methodology behind this research was a combination of historical analysis of the traditional role of the guthi system in Nepal along with three case studies of guthi organizations with different assigned functions. These case studies consisted of interviews with key informants and observations of social phenomena organized by each respective guthi. The outcomes and scope of this research is limited by the number of guthi organizations researched, language barriers, the amount of time spent in the field researching, and my limited understanding of this incredibly vast system. The literature review in this research will provide the historical analysis of the guthi system and contextualize the information provided in the findings. The research findings will consist of the three case studies of the three distinct guthi: the raj guthi of Pashupatinath Temple, the Seto and Rato Matsyendranath, and a funeral guthi. The analysis will combine the historical analysis and case studies to answer the research questions of this study. This research concludes that the guthi system has been modified due to a changing Nepali society and that its traditional role in cultural heritage maintenance is threatened.


Asian History | Asian Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | East Asian Languages and Societies | Land Use Law | Place and Environment | Politics and Social Change | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sociology of Culture


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