The birthplace of Natya Samrat Bal Krishna Sama.
Samar Nikunja the birthplace of Natya Samrat Bal Krishna Sama- one of the historical building which was already in the state of despair was severely damaged by the earthquake and the aftershocks of Gorkha Earthquake 2015. Natya Samrat Bal Krishna Sama is rightfully acknowledged as the greatest playwright that Nepal has ever seen. He was given the title 'Natya Samrat' which literally means 'the drama jewel' for his outstanding body of works, unparalleled talent and contribution in the field of drama and literature in Nepali language. He is also known as the Shakespeare of Nepal. His numerous works are widely appreciated and celebrated. He was not only adroit in writing dramas and poems but also equally skilled in crafting stories, novels, biographies, essays as well as in photography and painting.
Kathmandu University, an autonomous governmental, public institution established in 1991 with the motto of providing 'quality education for leadership' has been actively involved in education, research and in the preservation and promotion of art, music, culture and both tangible and intangible heritage for over two decades. In collaboration with the Guthi Sansthan, National Reconstruction Authority and the Government of Nepal, People and Government of Thailand; Kathmandu University Department of Music has been restoring the historical 19th century Tripureshwor Mahadev Temple, Sattals and Garden Area at Tripureshwor, Kathmandu Nepal (Tripura Sundari). This site of great historic and cultural significance was destroyed by the earthquake. At present Kathmandu University, Department of Music has been reconstructing this site to its former glory using authentic old style of architecture and woodwork. This site currently employs a number of traditionally trained artisans and construction workers, most of who have inherited their knowledge from their forefathers. After its completion, the Department of Music of Kathmandu University will maintain, manage and revitalize the intangible knowledge at Tripura Sundari as well as amalgamate the tangible with intangible musical heritage of Nepal by the means of research, education and collaborations.
Following Tripura Sundari, in 2019, Kathmandu University was granted rights to restore and house its academic and research wing in the birthplace of Natya Samrat Bal Krishna Sama at Samar Nikunja, Gyaneshwor, Kathmandu. However Samar Nikunja needs to be rebuilt since the earthquake of April 2015 and the ensuing aftershocks severely destroyed most of the building. Kathmandu University envisions Samar Nikunja, the birthplace of Natya Samrat Bal Krishna Sama as not just a place to conserve and showcase his legacy and contributions but also develop it as a Center for the academic discourse in Nepal. This will be a center where artists can engage their mind, body and soul into individual or collaborative artistic expressions through the medium of performance or writing. This center will be developed as a place where the artist are given the freedom to discover their own voices, confidence and insights, a place of solitude and support to immerse themselves in their art. This center will focus on academic discourse, collaboration, creativity, research, communication and serve as a platform for supporting and showcasing pure artistic talent by providing space for exhibition, gallery space, workshop and discussion rooms, educational facilities, technical equipment and supporting staff.
Kathmandu University understands that the greatest strength of any country is unity amidst diversity and the ability to respect differences of opinion and expression. Intangible heritage is a powerful medium that can break down barriers, encourage discourses, and compel each other to respect different forms of expressions of beauty and thoughts, inspire and encourage freedom of thoughts in a safe and supportive environment. Kathmandu University hopes to develop this into academic union of excellence for the freedom of creative expression, free enquiry, ethical academic, advance studies and intellectual activity; creative and constructive investigations and a place where all forms of expressions and thoughts are respected.
The historical building that constitutes the Samar Nikunja was severely damaged by the earthquake and most of the sections need to be rebuilt. The plan is to rebuild it to its former glory, develop a gallery to showcase the legacy of Natya Samrat Bal Krishna Sama as well as build other necessary spaces to showcase the artistic contributions of late Usha Kiron Rana, a music artist and Samar Shumshere J.B. Rana, the foremost photographer of Nepal. Usha Kiron Rana and Delight Singh are the relatives of Bal Krishna Sama who generously handed over their property to Kathmandu University. The concept behind this rebuilding project is 'Historical Preservation of both Artistic and Tangible Heritage' to preserve one while also preserving the other. Dr. Lochan Rijal, a music artist/ ethnomusicologist and his team of conservationists at Tripura Sundari are involved for the revitalization of Kathmandu University Bal Krishna Sama Educational Guthi. Dr. Rohit Ranjitkar, one of the most prominent preservation architects of Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust, has agreed to carry out this reconstruction project in collaboration with Kathmandu University.