Bid to preserve monuments gathers momentum

- PRAGATI SHAHI, Kathmandu
Bid to preserve monuments gathers momentum

May 2, 2015-

Patan Durbar Square in Lalitpur, which used to be teeming with visitors, was restricted for outsiders on Friday afternoon.

A team of security personnel and a smattering of local residents were the only people inside the complex. They were collecting, transferring and managing the ruins that included valuable parts of the destroyed and damaged temples.

“Before the security personnel came to collect the ruins and preserve it in a safe place, we had already collected crafted wooden beams, idols, struts, and silver and copper items, among others,” said Rohit Ranjitar, chief of Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust (KVPT), a community-led organisation working towards preservation and management of Valley’s important cultural and monument  sites.

The April 25 earthquake reduced a majority of the Unesco World Heritage Sites into rubble.

“Patan area is a living testimony of rich culture and tradition of Nepal and represents the monuments built hundreds of years ago. We will revive our historical and cultural sites very soon and for that it is important that we preserve the original pieces,” Ranjitkar said.

Youths like Sujan Dongol from Basantapur area, with support from local Guthi organisations and other like-minded people, are also volunteering to protect the ruins and valuable remains of the destroyed heritage sites.

 “As the government authorotiees are busy with humanitarian response, many cultural sites have been left in neglect. So we decided to volunteer to protect the valuables obtained from the ruins of the damaged temples, palaces and other important archaeological structures,” Dongol said.

Two days after the quake hit the country, the Department of Archaeology (DoA) mobilised its team in various cultural and archaeological sites, along with historical monument sites to salvage and preserve valuable items, including the wooden and metal crafts, idols, bricks and dislodged temple parts and other archaeologically important materials.

 “We were concerned over the reports of theft of portable cultural and historical artefacts and saleable archaeological goods,” said Ram Kunwar, an archaeologist with the DoA.

The initial assessment carried out by the DoA reckons that around 60 monuments across the country have been destroyed in the earthquake. Similarly, more than 200 monuments have suffered damage.

The ruins consisting valuable materials from each monument sites are being collected and preserved from various sites, including Hanumandhoka, Basantapur Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Swayambhunath Temple inside the Valley.

 “The materials like bricks and some wooden crafts will be used while rebuilding and restoring the destroyed and damaged monuments,” said Kunwar.

Published: 03-05-2015 09:04

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