Lighting for Cultural and Heritage Site: An Innovative Approach for Lighting in the Distinct Pagoda-Style Architecture of Nepal

Diwakar Bista, Aayush Bista, Ashish Shrestha, Lambros Doulos, Pramod Bhusal, Georges Zissis, Frangiskos Topalis, Bhupendra Bimal Chhetri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
625 Downloads (Pure)


Nepal houses many traditional and cultural sites rich in historical cultural diversity. These sites are also economically important to the nation. These monuments show the culture and the living beliefs of the communities; hence, people from all over the world are attracted to such place to observe the beauty and to feel the spirit and the conservational perspectives behind these articulated edifices. In today’s context, artificial light is a basic necessity for human activities and has been used in various applications: one such application being night-time illumination of historical sites and monuments. Most of the historic monuments in Nepal were constructed during the 15th to 18th century and are designed to incorporate oil-based wick lamp as the light source. Recently with the availability of modern luminaires and lack of technical expertise and scientific approach, most of the historic sites are being filled up with uneven, exaggerated, and inappropriate illumination. This inappropriate illumination practice may lead to negative consequences that may create disturbance to human and the surrounding environment. Scope of this paper is to identify the special needs for illuminating cultural and heritage sites with Pagoda-style architecture and introduce a methodology for a case study in Nepal. As a first step, this paper analyzes lighting malpractices in the temples of Nepal at different geographical locations and cultural values. As a next step, a prototype LED luminaire that enhances the unique type of architecture of Nepalese heritage sites was built, installed, and demonstrated in one of the temples. The work presents the design process of the lighting system and the results of a new lighting installation. The study also discusses possible problems that may arise while designing lighting for cultural and heritage site and provides recommendations on considerations to be taken during the design.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2720
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Cultural lighting
  • Heritage lighting
  • Sustainable lighting
  • Subjective preference
  • Lighting control


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