Ancient temples in ruins

- RAJENDRA MANANDHAR, Dolakha
Ancient temples in ruins

May 19, 2015-

While the major quakes on April 25 and May 12 have reduced a number of revered holy sites in the district to piles of rubble, it has failed to take away the beliefs or faith of the people in them.

For instance, tradition dictates that one has to pay homage to the Tripura Sundari Temple after visiting the Bhimeshwor Temple. And even though the Tripura Sundari temple has been damaged to the core by the April earthquake and subsequent aftershocks , devotees still visit the temple to pay homage, albeit from a safe distance. Even the revered Kali Temple which has been severely damaged by the quake is thronged by scores of devotees every day.

In the aftermath of the quakes that have levelled most of the small towns, marketplaces and villages in the district, the Bhimeshwor Temple alone has managed to stand tall.

“The first quake cracked the structures and the second destroyed them,” said 65-year-old local Mangal Laxmi Shrestha, who expressed her sorrow over the destruction of the revered sites. Like Mangal Laxmi, Dambar Bahadur Shrestha, 80, who had spent a better part of his life within Dolakha, spends most of his time looking gloomily over the quake ravaged settlement, with majority of its populace belonging to tight knit Newar community living in traditional structures. He says the recent quakes were much more devastating than that of 1934.

According to local Shanta Krishna Shrestha, 98 percent of the houses in the district have been rendered uninhabitable. While one can only see remains of Tripura Sundari and Kali temple, Kumari house, stores of Rajkuleshwor and Bhimeshwor and ‘patis’ have been damaged beyond repair. Likewise, Kulyan temple of Chatkorche, Harisiddhi; Narayanthan temple of Korche; Machhindranath temple of Pingal, Mahadev, including Ganesh temple, which is located at the lower part of the city, are on the verge of collapse. The Swayambhunath temple,  located in the upper part of the city, has also developed cracks and is in desperate need of repairs.

“The destruction of the ancient temples, which is our heritage, is what hurts the most,” Dambar Bahadur said.

“There is now urgent need for the conservation of ancient temples, age-old buildings and archaeologically important historical monuments in the district which have been spared by the quake ,” said treasurer Bharat Shrestha of Bhimeshwor Temple management committee.  Meanwhile, even 337-year-old Puranche (which means an old house in Newari) that had withstood the test of time has been severely damaged by the quake.

The three storey house with nine windows, a main gate and front porch built during the Malla era has distinctive features unique to the time it was built. Even after sustaining major damages on the inside, the house with firm foundation has surprisingly managed to stand tall.

Published: 20-05-2015 07:51

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