Conservationists remove artificial lights from Bouddhanath

- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu
The Bouddha Ghyang Guthi had added colourful lights to the dome-shaped stupaa month ago

Jan 4, 2019-Heritage activists and representatives from civil society, in coordination with Ward 6 of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), on Thursday removed the electric lights that were placed around the Bouddhanath Stupa a month ago.

The Bouddha Ghyang Guthi, which looks after the Bouddhanath premises, had added colourful lights to the dome-shaped stupa a month ago. But after widespread criticism from heritage conservationists and locals against the act, the Department of Archaeology (DoA) gave the Ghyang Guthi a three-day ultimatum to remove the lights and the generator, as it was polluting the area.

The stupa is the largest Buddhist shrine in the world, and is a major tourist attraction spot in Kathmandu.     

At the programme, all the stakeholders, including Boudhanath Area Development Committee and representatives from the Guthi, made a ‘collective commitment’ to not add or remove anything to the historic place and keep it intact for its tangible and intangible values.

“We had placed the lights to make the stupa more beautiful. Now, we will not do

anything inside the stupa without taking permission from the DoA and Ministry of Culture,” said Sange Dhoje Lama, coordinator of the guthi, who was also present at the programme.

Ganapati Lal Shrestha, one of the campaigners and heritage activists who criticised the activity, said, “The area is bright in itself. Drilling on the wall and keeping artificial lights was nonsense. We are thankful to the people who participated in the campaign.”

Earlier on the third week of December, KMC’s Deputy Mayor Hari Prabha Khadgi had visited the stupa, along with a few heritage activists including Sanjay Adhikari, Bishal Raj Bhandari, Sudip Maharjan, Lalima Shrestha and Sudan Monikar, after the locals and heritage conservationists complained about such activities.

Khadgi, who also took part in the commitment, said that the metropolis would not let anyone destroy the heritage sites. “I had already formed a five-member inspection team a month ago. We will take action against anyone who violates the rule,” said Khadgi, who took the initiation to remove the concrete from Rani Pokhari and Sleshmantak jungle corridor in Pashupatinath.

Ward 6 Chairperson Dipendra Lama shared his commitment to not let anyone make any additional structures or remove anything from the stupa. During the programme, Boudha Secondary English School’s students, along with other participants, had formed a human chain around the stupa. “This place falls in the world heritage site. It’s our duty to preserve our heritage,” said Sanjeeta Acharya, a class 10 student.

Published: 04-01-2019 07:48

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