Gosthi or Guthi (Nepali: गुठी, romanized: guṭhī; Newar: गुथि, romanized: guthi; etymologically from Sanskrit: गोष्ठी, lit.'goṣṭhī') is a social organization that maintains the socio-economic order of Nepalese society.[1] The guṭhī system is considered to be in operation since the Kirati era, like King Yalamber's descendants, and later adopted by the Lichchhavi during the Lichchhavi era, with the first practice recorded in scriptures on pillars erected at Changu Narayan temple, which is regarded as the oldest dated inscription of Nepal.[2]

Rajkarnikar Guthi, a Guthi located in Lalitpur district
Rajkarnikar Guthi, a Guthi located in Lalitpur district

Currently, most of the guṭhīs are either defunct or a vestigial representation of what used to be the most powerful organized community of the Newars. However, some of these guṭhīs still exist with their purpose, and internal unwritten rules govern their functions, often kept secret and revealed only to its members. Over time, the male family members (often the bloodline) of pre-existing members are given responsibilities associated with the guṭhī.

Organizational structureEdit

Guthi is an important social organization prevalent among the Newars. It is believed to have started during the Kirat or Lichchavi period. Guthi is traditionally a patriarchal kinship based on certain norms moderated by the guṭhī system.[1] It consists of a Thakali or the eldest person of the guṭhī. The consent of the thakali is essential for formulating most of the norms of the guṭhī. Guthi is a form of institutional landownership, the religious and charitable aspects of which have given rise to special problems and characteristics in land tenure and taxation.

Role in societyEdit

Guthi has played an important role in maintaining harmony in Newar society.[1]

Guthi is a system that has been part of the Newar social system in the Kathmandu Valley since the 5th century BC. The Guthi system is a trust whereby land is donated to this trust. Members of the local community then till this land, and the revenue generated not only boosts the economy for the community but also is utilized to undertake various works within the community such as restoration of temples, patis (rest houses) like in Chyasa Dabu (Chyasal), maths (priest houses), Hiti or dhunge dharas (stone water spouts), Chyasa Saraswati Hiti, Maru Hiti, narayan Hiti. This revenue is also used for various festivals, customs, rites, and rituals. It was a system that correlated with the local community in terms of tilling the land and engaging a group of people such as masons, Shilpakars (Natives Newar who worked on Mandir, Stupas, Temples in Kirat and Lichhavi periods, Shilpa is Artis). They carved wood, metal, and copper in temples around Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, and Kathmandu and helped them develop their skill. Additionally, it benefited the local community financially, thanks to revenue generation. It provided a framework that the local community used to protect its tangible and intangible culture, enabling it to protect its identity.

According to Newari or Nepalese culture, donating land to the Guthi is considered a very good deed and is believed to have religious merits. Historically, kings, royals, and ordinary people would donate land to the Guthi believing that it would bring spiritual deliverance for seven generations. Donating land to the Guthi was also a status symbol in society and was highly regarded. Furthermore, another reason for endowment was to prevent the State from confiscating property, as it was considered a great crime to confiscate Guthi land. All these reasons helped with the land pool within these Guthi areas, which was then used as a base on which regular income could be generated and various tasks could be carried out.

The Guthi system was associations formed by groups of people based often on various castes, which were formed in the past based on occupations. Guthis existed for the gods, the living, and the dead, and all activities concerning these three themes were carried out by the members of the Guthis. Although most of the Guthi system is now slowly becoming lost due to changes in the social structure of communities and more so due to significant changes in the past fifty years, such as the nationalization of the Guthi System and land reform campaigns. However, the activities that they conduct have diminished considerably.

The Guthi system is integrated into the social structure of the communities and hence was successful and highly sustainable. It is a system like no other in the world. It can be highlighted as a model of a system that worked to preserve tangible and intangible aspects of culture within the Kathmandu Valley.[2]

Guthi Bill Protest 2019Edit

Guthi Bill protest 2019

The "Guthi Bill," tabled in the Upper House of the Federal Parliament of Nepal in April 2019, was highly controversial and prompted several mass protests against the bill, especially in the Kathmandu Valley. Guthi came into being when people realized the importance of working and living together, of setting and working toward common goals. The member of Guthi is called Guthiyars.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Title:नेपाली संस्कृतिका छटाहरु, Author:Mangala Devi Singh, Publisher:Dr.Meeta Singh
  2. ^ a b Guthi Sansthan, Government of Nepal


  • Regmi, Mahesh Chandra (1976). Landownership in Nepal. University of California Press. pp. 252. ISBN 9780520027503.
  • Bernhard Kölver and Hemraj Śakya, Documents from the Rudravarna-Mahävihära, Pätan. 1. Sales and Mortgages (1985), esp. disc. on pp. 18–21.
  • U. N. Sinha, Development of Panchayats in Nepal (Patna, 1973), chapter IV.
  • Mary Slusser in Nepal Maṇḍala (1982).
  • John K. Locke, Buddhist Monasteries of Nepal (Kathmandu: Sahayogi Press, 1985), esp. pp. 10, 14, and passim.
  • Phanindra Ratna Vajracharya, "Role of Guthi in Newar Buddhist Culture” (1998 conference paper summary).