Introduction:

Guthi practice was developed as an earlier concept of the cooperative system as a community organization. This has been at work, which has been going on for centuries in Nepal. The Guthi system was so effective in social, religious and cultural work in the past that it set guidelines for the service to the humanity and society. Guthis were the custodians of religious and cultural sites, activities, and traditions and accordingly carried out their activities to preserve our rich culture and tradition.

Considering the importance and role of Guthis, the government set up the Guthi Sansthan (corporation) to manage, conduct, and coordinate the Guthis throughout the country more effectively and efficiently.

Guthi is a dynamic system of Nepalese Society guided by moral, ritual and traditional managerial system. Modern management system has introduced after second great war in the western hemisphere. Guthi system has various managerial outlooks which were introduced in our society by our ancestors, experienced at the time of king Mandev I, according to Changu Narayan temple script of Bhaktapur. This system has done attractive management for preserving ritual, traditional and cultural value in our society. In another word it is a cooperative system in modern concept and values. The purpose of establishing Guthi from our ancestors is seemed under the true religious, cultural and social spirit. In fact, Guthi is a concept of welfare and preserving ritual and cultural value according to the Guthi founder's interest. Different type of Jatra (Chariot procession), Parba (festival) also organized by Guthi Sansthan, like Machhendra (also called Matsyendra) Jatra (known as Bhoto Jatra), Sivaratri Parba, Bisket Jatra, Indra Jatra, Kumari Jatra, Bibaha Panchami (Ram-Sita Wedding) Parba, Ram Nawami Parba, Jhulan Parba etc. as per their cultural rituals.



The history of Guthi system comes from the beginnings of A.D. at the time of king Mandev I. In those days and onward many people, Landlord, King and ruler donated their fixed & liquid assets for the sake of society welfare and preserving ritual and cultural value in Guthi in the society. In brief, we can say Guthi is a benevolent concept for maintain social peace, coordination and welfare of people. It establishes the eternal ritual and traditional value of the society. All this type of Guthi is called Raj Guthi (Public Guthi). This is administered by Guthi Sansthan by the act of Guthi Sansthan act, 2021 B.S.
Guthi Sansthan was established in 2021-07-17 B.S. (1964 A.D.) as an independent (self-run) institution entrusted to take care of and conduct religious, cultural, and social heritage of the country. It does not receive any subsidy from government nor is the revenue of Guthi Sansthan deposited in government revenue. Its property is called "Dewaswa" meaning divine property. Guthi revenue generated from Guthi property is spent for the sake of religious, cultural, and social activities and for management and administrative overheads. It is completely a non-profit making organization and is concerned with the conservation and preservation of national culture, rituals, as well as heritage.
Before introducing Guthi act :

Guthi activities were administered by Guthi Bandobasta office before 2007 (A.D.). After 2007 coming of democracy, this organization goes under the Ministry of Finance. Guthis' central level work was administered by Guthi Bandobasta office at that time. Then after, it goes to Guthi Tahasil and Guthi Kharcha office under Department of Revenue. Later in 1964, (B.S.2021) Guthi Sansthan is established concept of separating government revenue or Guthi revenue. Prior to this, government itself paid all the administrative expenditure for the Guthi management and its staffs. At these days, Guthi Tahasil & Guthi Kharcha Adda (Guthi Revenue & Guthi Expenditure office) administered Guthi's activities. In addition to this Guthis' work was also administered by managerial office at Janakpur, Morang, Bara-Parsa. Land-tax offices also administered Guthi work where Guthi office was not established. In those days, Guthi Janch (check) office, Guthi Lagat office, Amulye Ratna paddati & Guthi Rakami Kitab Darta office, administered Guthi in central level. Guthi Lagat Tatha Tahasil office managed all this type of different organization.

It is of our great pride that our ancestors built monuments, public parks, pilgrim's rest houses, traveler's guesthouses, hospitals, schools and many more such things under true religious and social spirit. To maintain our age-old rich heritage, our ancestors also established a perpetual source of revenue (mostly in terms of land and building). The functional owners of such properties (land and building) are named after a particular festival or ritual. They are called 'Guthi'. There is a total number of 2082 recorded Raj (Public) Guthis  in the country, which are meant for maintaining religious, cultural and social establishments, supporting various festivals and rituals and supporting other social and religious activities.


Functional pane of the organization :

Guthi Sansthan has a responsibility of maintaining the traditional culture and national heritage that will benefit all sectors of society. The most important social obligation of the organization is to reconcile and balance the various conflicting interests within the Guthi, Matha, and community's  best possible manner. The main functional pane of Guthi Sansthan is-

- To maintain and preserve religious, cultural and social establishments,
- Property management,
- Preserve source documents and records,
- Conduct and/or support religious festivals and rituals,


Organizational Structure of Guthi Sansthan :

In order for executing various tasks towards its responsibilities, Guthi Sansthan is organized into various central level and district level branch offices. Organizationally, there is Board of Directors at the top. The board of directors is the apex body of the organization and is responsible to formulate policy and to oversee all activities of the organization. The board members represent social, cultural, and educational field have been nominated by the government. Under the board is the Administrator as an Executive Chief, who is responsible to administer and manage its overall function. Head Office, basically, carries out policy and management related functions. It has branch offices in seven districts. In the districts where it has no branch offices, district land revenue offices are entrusted to administer the Guthi activities. Guthi Sansthan has to oversee the 68 districts' Raj
Guthi.

Main Resource of the organization: Guthi Land and buildings are the property of Guthi Sansthan, which is the main source of revenue to carry out entrusted functions, at present, the recorded land property measures to 1.5 million Ropanis, which is quite significant. In addition, there are buildings and shopping complexes that are rented out. Although the calculated revenue of the corporation is quite high, a significant amount is pending to be collected both from HMG and from other tenants.

The management has not been able to control and monitor revenue collections. Furthermore, it lacks proper record of its property, which has handicapped the institution in properly managing its property, monitoring, and controlling the revenue collection thereof.

Another more critical problem, the corporation facing is encroachment. Lots of Guthi Land has been encroached, many of them have already been turned in to private land and register accordingly. Such kind of irresponsible activities are prone to be continued further, because it does not have proper record of its property. If such a situation continues, any one can imagine the effect down the stream. This is creating a very negative scenario.

Wherever Guthi are created or established, contributions to the Guthi in terms of land, building, and / or fund are well documented. The purpose of Guthi, the revenue and expense details, what to be done, and what not to be done are all very well documented. These documents provide the original authenticity of Guthi property. If such documents are lost or ruined, events like encroachment of Guthi land, turning Guthi property into private ownership can become a regular happening, and it may end up going to courts to get back its property with no substantial evidence. This strongly indicates the need of preserving such documents. Despite the fact that such documents bears such a significant importance, the situation of document storage and archival is amazingly poor. The only solution to this problem is to adopt an IT based Document Archival and Recording System. Guthi Sansthan is programming to implement Guthi  Management Information System from this fiscal year 2067/68 .

The Kathmandu Valley possesses a unique concentration of cultural, historical, and religious sites in the country. In addition, its traditional built landscapes, architecture, art and crafts and scenic natural settings all have contributed to create its unique identity. Mounting development pressures are taking a toll on heritage sites. Encroachment in various forms continues to deteriorate the environment of heritage sites. This poses a serious challenge as to how these cultural heritage sites and landscapes could be saved from extinction or deterioration in the face of rapidly ongoing development of the Valley. The identification and conservation of various sites and landscape of cultural, historical, and religious significance are important in order to preserve culture, history, tradition, and values. However, the sustainable conservation is possible only when the community is involved as the guardian of these heritage sites and landscapes. The role of community-based conservation approach bodes well for the future conservation effort. Community Heritage Resources are the physical elements that make each community what it is. They are tangible embodiments of historical, cultural, and social values. They are cultural expressions of what that place is. Heritage conservation has many potential cultural, social, and economic benefits. The preservation of cultural heritage is by far the most frequently given reason for the conservation of structures and sites. Conserving heritage allows a community to convey a sense of history; it provides aesthetic enrichment as well as educational opportunities. A community maintains a more interesting urban environment by retaining symbols of its past.

On the present changing social environmental context, Guthi Sansthan is attempting to extend its scope pragmatically and need to undergo significant change to develop and deliver services in effective ways that customers and citizens want. The introduction of a corporate governance and capacity assessment presents a further challenge for corporation in the ‘modernization’ process. There are 717 temples and 647 rest houses across the country under Raj Guthi.

Nepal is a country rich in world heritages and cultural diversity. The Raj Guthis have not only religious and social value, but also are of great pride of the nation in terms of the temples, monuments, pilgrim's houses etc and their architecture and art. Such establishments have also become important tourist attractions. If properly managed and well preserved they can be of a very good source of revenue and contributes to the tourism industry of the country. But the situation is not like what we imagine. Many religious temples and monuments are in the state of ruin. It is critical that such establishments should be repair and maintained in timely manner.