A temple in the heart of Capital remains in ruins

- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu

Nov 6, 2016-

A 42-foot Shivalaya (temple of Lord Shiva), located next to the Goraknath temple at Thapathali chowk in the heart of Kathmandu, lies in a state of neglect even three months after its collapsed. 

The concern authorities have neither removed the debris nor is there any sign of reconstruction of this heritage. The Guthi Sansthan is responsible for the maintenance and reconstruction of heritage sites that are older than a century old.  

As the Shivalaya collapsed a year after the great earthquake, the sansthan could not include it on the list it sent to the Department of Archeology (DAO), administrator at Guthi Sansthan Narayan Chaudhari conceded. “There are no plans for its reconstruction” he said. Chaudhari, however, said that a commercial bank has expressed its interest to restore the temple, without divulging details. A permission from the DAO is required to make changes to any heritage sites that are older than a century. 

The temple, which has a rich historic and cultural significance, had developed numerous cracks after the devastating earthquake last year. And the structure eventually gave in to the heavy rainfall on August 4 this year.

The inscription inside the temple premises says the Shivalaya was built during the time of Jung Bahadur Rana 1931 BS (1874AD). He established the temple of Goraknath along with other shrines—Synashi matha, Udashi matha, Bairagi matha and Goraknath matha—on the premises. The then Prime Miniser built the infrastructure after the name of his wife who died during their stay at Thapathali Durbar. 

In the past, it was a place for royal family to perform the death rituals, according to cultural experts, and an accomodation was later added to house holymen. “A group of government officials, along with those from Guthi Sansthan had visited the site after the temple had collapsed, but nothing has been done so far,” Mohan Nath Yogi, 74, who has been the priest of the temple for 15 years, told the Post.

Yogi said some statues, including Shiva Parbati, Lord Ganesh, Sesh Naag (snake god) and a Shivalinga, are still remain buried under the debris. “These are priceless gems,” he said, asking, “Who will be responsible if these things are stolen?” Once reverberated by praying devotees, an eerie silence dominates the temple premises as no puja takes place.

A total of 13 people, including sadhus and yogis, continue to live in the temple complex. “Along with the temple, the quake also destroyed the fences. This allows drunk people to walk in easily and disturb us,” said Radhe Baba, a sadhu who has been staying there for over 40 years.

Published: 06-11-2016 07:48

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