DoA starts debris sorting at Hanumandhoka

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Feb 7, 2016-

The Department of Archaeology has started sorting the debris from the Hanumandhoka Durbar Square and salvaging reusable wooden articles and idols, a senior official said.

“With cooperation from Unesco, we are sorting materials that were salvaged after the earthquake according to the monuments they came from,” said Mayadevi Aryal, museum officer at the DoA’s Hanumandhoka Durbar Upkeep Office. “In the aftermath of the earthquake, volunteers had helped in collecting and storing the items but they were not segregated.”

Built between the 12th and 18th centuries by the Malla kings, Hanumandhoka Durbar Square is listed in the Unesco’s World Heritage Sites. The site which boasts Newari architecture and Hindu temples was once used as a royal palace by Malla and Shah kings and had become a popular destination among tourists.

But the earthquake of April 25 last year and its aftershocks have badly damaged the entire area. According to the Archaeology Department, 26 structures including Kasthamandap Mandir, Maju Dega Mandir, Trailokya Mohan Narayan Mandir, Dasavatar Mandir, Hanumandhoka palace complex, Narayan Mandir, Bansagopal Mandir, Laxmi Narayan Mandir, Krishna Mandir, statue of King Pratap Malla, Degutalle Mandir, Kageshor Mandir and Nautalle Durbar have sustained damage, most of them flattened.

“We have already sorted idols and wood from Maju Dega, Kasthamandap, Trailokya Mohan and Laxmi Narayan with the help of master woodworkers and photographs,” Aryal said. “We will prepare photographic logs in detail so that they can be used while rebuilding.” Of the materials sorted so far, 40 percent are in reusable condition, Aryal said. “Our experts have even restored broken idols, pillars, windows and torans to their original form,” she said. But she raised concerns if modern artisans can recreate traditional designs. Moreover, traditional bricks called dachi appa used in these monuments are no longer produced in mass while the use of traditional mortar material like chun surki (lime dust) has long been discontinued.

According to the department, it will take five to seven years to rebuild all the damaged monuments. The Kathmandu Metropolitan City has allocated Rs200 million for the purpose but costs could total into billions on completion.



Published: 07-02-2016 09:53

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