Maju Dega reconstruction starts

- ANUP OJHA, Kathmandu

Oct 30, 2018-

The reconstruction of Maju Dega, the three-story temple at the heart of Kathmandu Durbar Square area, formally started on Monday, three and a half years after the devastating earthquake damaged the temple of Malla era.

Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya inaugurated the reconstruction work at an event attended by local officials and heritage conservationists.   

The KMC has allocated a budget of Rs55.9 million to reconstruct the temple under Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square Conservation Programme.

Contractors Sanu Suwal and Pawan J.V have agreed to rebuild the temple. The deadline to complete the work is October 21, 2020.

Speaking at the event, Mayor Shakya said, “This centrally located temple is a monument of faith for public. We have started the reconstruction work after consulting with the Department of Archaeology. Local residents will monitor the reconstruction work.”

The KMC would use its funds to complete the reconstruction work, he said. “We will not take aid from any foreign country to reconstruct the temple,” Shakya said.

Some of the monuments in Durbar Square have been rebuilt with foreign aid. China funded the reconstruction of the nine-story Basantapur Tower at Kathmandu Durbar Square. The US Embassy in Kathmandu supported the reconstruction of the quake-ravaged Gaddi Baithak in Basantapur Durbar Square.

On October 14, KMC released Rs 50 million for the reconstruction of Kasthamandap. Prior to that, Shakya had allocated Rs5 million as seed money for the reconstruction of the wooden temple, a major attraction

of Basantapur.

Speaking at the event, Deputy Mayor Hari Prabha Khadgi said all monuments damaged by the earthquake would be rebuilt within her tenure.

“As elected representatives, we assure that we will complete the overall reconstruction of quake damaged monuments before the end of our term,” said Khadgi.

Talking to the Post Cultural expert Beena Poudyal appreciated the work as a beginning of reconstruction work. “Constructing these historic monuments is a sensitive task and foreigners cannot build it in its original state.  Though it is late, but the metropolis should carry the reconstruction work delicately because the artefacts are very important to us as it holds a lot of symbolic meanings,” said Poudyal.  

The earthquake in 2015 extensively damaged 11 monuments in the Durbar Square.  The metropolis has announced to renovate Kumari Ghar as well, once the KMC receives the structural analysis report on November 4.


Historic temple’s links with Malla Dynasty and modern era

A prominent royal member of the Malla Dynasty Riddhi Lakshmi, the Queen mother of Bhupetendra Malla, built the historic temple in 1692. Among the many notable features is the nine-step brick base that gives the temple an aesthetic look.

During the Hippie era in the 1970s, the historic monument was called ‘Hippie Temple’ because many Hippies from Europe and the US socialized around the area, particularly on the top step of the temple because it gave a panoramic view of the salubrious surroundings.

Legendary Indian actor Dev Anand had produced and directed ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ the famous film released in 1971 whose plot revolved around gangs trafficking artifacts from temples of Kathmandu, the decadent Hippie culture and awareness on drug abuse.

The super hit film that was extensively filmed here  showcased Maju Dega, Pashupatinath and other temples of Kathmandu to global audiences and also announced the arrival of Zeenat Aman as a star in the making. Veteran Nepali actor Prakash Thapa too played a key role in the film.

Published: 30-10-2018 07:18

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