Ankhijhyals are traditional wooden windows that are normally decorated with detailed crafts and artistry. In literal terms, the term Ankhi translates to ‘eye’ and the term ‘Jhyal’ translates to ‘Window’. If these two words are combined, then it gives a collective meaning of a window for the eye. These windows are normally made and held together by interlocking the wood at different angles. Also, each window has got its own unique design that can be completely different from the Ankhijhyal of another location.
It is believed that there was a strong rivalry among the rich people within the valley. They would commission the talented woodworkers with unique designs that resulted in tough competition among the woodworkers in the region. There is also a rumor that the kings would even marry off their daughters to the skilled Ankhijhyal makers in the valley as a way to increase the level of competition and get the best of the best Ankhijyal. Desay Madhu Jhyā translated to ‘window without equal’ is an example of artwork that looks like a three-dimensional piece, similar to the shutter of a camera.
Ankhijhyals are commonly considered as dating back to the Lichhavi, the golden age in Nepali history. However, they have also been found on the pieces of architecture that predate the Lichhavi period. There are also other types of wooden windows that can be found in the traditional architecture from the golden age. They are:
Classic Sanjhyā: generally, a three-part window in the middle of the building
Tikijhyā: a second-floor window type with a wooden grid that allows fresh air and light to enter inside but not the sight.
Gājhyā and Pāsukhā Jhyā: usually located in monasteries with five sections that represent Pancha
Each of these windows was made with its own specific purposes and artistic representation.