National

Reconstruction of Nuwakot Durbar delayed; locals worried about identity loss

- KRISHNA THAPA, SAT TALLE (NUWAKOT)

Apr 3, 2019-

Locals have demanded the immediate reconstruction of the historic ‘Sat Tale Durbar’ (seven-storey palace) and its surrounding artefacts in Nuwakot.

The palace, which was destroyed by the devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015, is on the verge of collapse. Various sections of the roof and wooden support pillars of the palace have started to fall apart due to lack of maintenance.

“The government’s apathy will soon reduce the historic palace to rubble,” said Anup Khadka, a resident of Sat Talle. Perched atop a hill overlooking Samari, Dhikure and Thansing valleys with a view of Tadi and Trishuli rivers, the palace was constructed by the then King Prithvi Narayan Shah and was used as his administrative headquarters after annexing Nuwakot in 1744 BS.

Locals in the area are now worried that the identity of Nuwakot will be lost in the absence of the historic palace.

“Many domestic and foreign tourists come to Nuwakot just to look at the palace. What will attract tourists to this place if the palace in no longer here?” said Arjun Ghimire, another local. The palace, which was originally nine-storey tall, was also damaged in the 1934 earthquake after which it was restored to its current height of seven storeys. The palace sustained further damage in the 2015 earthquake. Its pillars developed cracks and the roof came unhinged. Currently, the walls and roof of the western part of the palace have collapsed.

“If reconstruction works are not initiated immediately, the palace will fall to the ground,” said Ghimire.

Three months ago, Sushil Gyawali, chief executive officer of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), had informed the locals that the reconstruction work would start from March this year. The NRA had signed an agreement with the Chinese government to reconstruct the heritage sites of Nuwakot including Sat Talle Durbar. Chandra Bahadur Shrestha, executive member of the NRA, said that the Chinese government will start the reconstruction of the heritage sites in Nuwakot after completing reconstruction works of Basantapur Durbar and Durbar High School in Kathmandu. “China has vowed to reconstruct the heritage sites in Nuwakot. They will start working on it soon,” he said.

Since the 2015 earthquake, the palace walls have been propped up with iron poles. Visitors are barred from entering the dilapidated palace. The surrounding buildings like Rangamahal and Garadghar were also destroyed in the quake. Taleju Bhagwati Temple, located around 200 metres north from the palace, also got damaged in the quake.

Published: 03-04-2019 07:17

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