National Geographic : 1987 Jul
the valley, steadily enriched by trade and tariffs, princes turned the city-kingdoms into rival showcases of grandeur, each crowned by its durbar, meaning palace, square. The real winner was Prithvi Nar ayan Shah, who forged relentlessly from the Gorkha province-we know its soldiers as Gurkhas-to conquer the divided Mallas in 1769. He went on to establish the nation of Nepal, with Kathmandu as the capital. The Newar brick-and-carved-wood pa goda style of architecture is unique to the Fields never lie fallow where immensely rich soil yields three harvests annually. The valley is nearly self-sufficient in food grains.Every arablesquarefoot is culti vated, such as the new fields creeping up slopes in the foreground.But urban growth reaches out for this land like gods demanding sacrifice.A study warns that in little more than 30 years, 60 percent of the valley, including its bestfarmland, may be swallowed by development.