The Indian Subcontinent and Tibetan Plateau has had huge influence in the culture of Nepal, the shadow of which can be found on the architectural buildings and heritage sites of Nepal. The three medieval city-states of the Kathmandu Valley exhibit some of the most spectacular ancient Nepal architecture in its temples, palaces and monasteries many of which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Nepalese architecture appears to differentiate in three broad styles.

The Stupa or Chaitya style comes from ancient India and Buddhist concepts, characterized by a hemispherical dome topped by a square base supporting a serried of thirteen circular rings. Above all the tiers there is a small space above which the Gajur is present. The four sides of the square base or the harmika, as it is called, are painted with pairs of mystic “all-seeing eyes.” Some stupa monuments have Buddhist chanting or theologies carved beautifully on them, while some are built to preserve the relics of Buddha and his disciples. The main stupa is surrounded by smaller chaityas inscriptions, statutes and an ancient cloister similar to Tibetan monastery. Emperor Ashoka from India is believed to have introduced this style of architecture in Nepal dating back to 250 BC. Maya Devi temple of Lumbini, Swayambhunath, Boudhanath and Patan’s Ashoka Stupas are excellent Stupa examples.

The Pagoda style, introduced in Nepal during the 13th century, features diminishing tiered roofing structures with wide eaves supported by carved wooden struts. The roof is often topped by triangular spires which enclose an inverted bell, while projecting windows are either latticed or grilled. Each one of the three roof levels is meticulously layered with faded terracotta tiles. Tundals are the defining elements which contain beautiful carving at three levels- trees and trailers on the top, deities in the middle and human beings or animals on the bottom. Doors that are on all sides and windows have wooden carvings and further decorated by torans in arches.

The Kasthamandap wooden pagoda for which Kathmandu is named is an impressive example of the pagoda style, built during the Malla period. Other notable examples include the Basantpur and Nuwakot palaces which were built by King Prithvi Narayan Shah, Pashupatinath as well as Bhaktapur’s Nyatapole, Taleju and Changu Narayan temples. It is believed that the Pagoda style Nepalese architecture was taken to China by Arniko, a young architect from Nepal. At the invitation of Emperor Kublai Khan, he led 80 artisans to Tibet and China during the 13th century.

The Shikhar style, popular during the 17-18th centuries, is characterized by roofless with several towering and tapering tops with golden pinnacles, symbolizing mountains. They are broader at the lower portion and become narrower at the top. Stone is mostly used for building blocks and pillars. Bricks are used for walls, doors are carved in the stones. Wood is rarely used in Shikhar style, however, wooden frame of posts and beams are enclosed within the walls to give it added structural strength and resilience. Temples were usually set on stepped platforms, followed by moulded courses which was to protect the temple from damp and make them appear awesome. Patan’s Krishna Mandir and Mahaboudha are excellent examples of Shikhar.

The modern architecture of Nepal was believed to have evolved during the reign of Kirats and Licchavis. The Malla kings redesigned and refined on the existing architectural styles. European style architecture can be seen to be embedded in these palaces. During the Rana regime, Nepali architecture took a turn towards the modern silhouette, introducing Neo-classical style. The influence of Greek and Roman architectural style can be seen in the modern durbars and royal palaces of Nepal. The Malla period Palace of 55 windows in Bhaktapur, Rana period palace of Singha Durbar, Keshar Mahal, Thapathali Durbar, Sri Mahal and Rani Mahal are also some fine examples of the Nepalese modern architectures.

Today a new generation of Nepali architects are combining traditional styles and textures with modern comforts and aesthetics, honoring and conserving the country’s rich architectural heritage. Contemporary Nepali architecture has even gone trendy with Vaastu Shastra – architecture embracing nature, cosmology, astrology and Hindu spiritualism. A living practice in Nepal that the West could surely be inspired if not intrigued.


Each internship is individually customized, designed and organized with consultation with the Intern, taking into consideration of personal circumstances such as objectives, physical conditions and preferences on the following arrangements. Architecture may be focused in any of the wide-ranging sectors below,

Building and Structural Architecture, Urban Planning, Landscape Architecture, Environmental Architecture, Restoration Architecture, Art History, Vashtu Shastra.


  1. Fall: September 2nd to November 30th – 90 days
  2. Spring: January 17th to April 16th – 90 days
  3. Summer: May 22nd to August 20th – 90 days

Select cities or towns or villages in Nepal upon consultations and recommendations.

Curriculum and Activities
Choices will be available in terms of the form of internship sought by the Interns such as focus area and office or field experience. Based on consultations with the intern, host institution or architect firms and locations shall be confirmed.

Institutional Hosting
Depending upon the student’s focus preferences, internship host may be selected that best fulfills the objectives of and interest of the Intern. Wide range of institutions, public sector agencies and architect firms may be considered as host of the internship. Some examples of institutional partners are suggested as follows

Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust, Society of Nepalese Architects, Society of Architectural and Engineering Firms, UNESCO – Nepal, UN- Habitat – Nepal, Habitat for Humanity – Nepal, Architecture Sans Frontiers – Nepal, Kathmandu Municipality, Lalitpur Municipality, Bhaktapur Municipality, Institute of Engineering – Nepal, Spaces Nepal, Sarosh Pradhan & Associates, Abari.

An expert or a professional in architecture will be assigned to the intern as a mentor to advise and guide the internship in matters related to Nepal as well as the academic and professional substance of the internship.

Orientation Program – 7 days

  1. Homestay – 1 week
  2. Culture: “do-not” precautions / hygiene behavior / festivals / ethnic mapping / ethnic mapping
  3. Language: basic conversational Nepali / gender gears / status protocols
  4. Living logistics: getting around / shopping / electricity / internet / phone – mobile
  5. Talk Series: Architecture in Nepal
  6. Consultations with internship mentor
1 Orientation to Nepal and Internship/ Introduction to Mentor
Local Homestay
2 Host Institution – Job Shadowing,mentor consultation
Move to apartment accommodation
3 Host Institution – Kathmandu,mentor consultation
4 Host Institution – Kathmandu,mentor consultation
5 Host Institution – Kathmandu,mentor consultation
6 Travel Excursion
7 Travel Excursion
8 Host Institution – Kathmandu, mentorconsultation
9 Host Institution – Kathmandu,mentor consultation
10 Host Institution – Kathmandu,mentor consultation
11 Host Institution – Kathmandu,mentor consultation
12 Internship Report, mentorconsultation
13 Personal Week


  1. Urban Housing:
    Shared Catered Apartments – includes weekly cleaning and maintenance
    Facilities – bathroom, kitchen with stove and refrigerator, washing machine, basic furniture and bed mattress, fan or heating appliances,
    Utilities – electricity and water not included
  2. Rural Housing – includes weekly cleaning and maintenance, cooking and laundry
    Facilities – bathroom, kitchen with stove, basic furniture and bed mattress, fan or heating appliances,
    Utilities – electricity and water included

A getaway trip which includes visit to another part of the country with some sort of culture exposures and outdoor adventures. Exact dates and destination to be planned upon consultations.

Internship Cost: Full Package – US$ 7200
The cost covers airfare from the nearest international airport, airport pick-up and drop-off, orientation session, accommodation, all inclusive two weeks excursion, mentoring and academic consultations. Cost quote to be firmed up individually for each internship customized to intern’s requirements.

Internship Cost: Without Airfare – US$ 5700
Internship Cost: Without Airfare and Excursion – US$ 3900