Kathmandu, November 9
Rajesh Shakya, coordinator of Kasthamandap Reconstruction Steering Committee, said that 50 per cent of recovery and rehabilitation work of the historical monument was completed.
Briefing Masamichi Saigo, ambassador of Japan to Nepal, during an on-site visit of the under-construction cultural heritage, Shakya said that reconstruction would be completed within the stipulated time. Its reconstruction was launched on February 10 with the erection of four principal columns. One of the four columns was erected on that day while the remaining three columns were erected later.
Shakya, who is also a Provincial Assembly member of Province 3, said three of the four columns were newly made. Timber was brought from Bardibas and Amlekhgunj. The government has targeted completion of the reconstruction work within the current fiscal at a cost of Rs 198.8 million.
The temple will be built in the same old style. Timber Corporation of Nepal has agreed to provide 17,000 cubic feet timber for the purpose of reconstruction of the three-storey monument made of wood, which was damaged by the April 2015-earthquakes. Only 10 to 15 per cent timber used in the original structure is reusable.
According to Kathmandu Metropolitan City, roof of the monument will be covered with traditional clay-tiles. Reconstruction of Kasthamandap, which means ‘wood pavilion’, requires specially prepared timber. Generally, timber measuring 10 feet is available in the market, but the structure requires 38 feet long timber for renovation.
The government waited four years to decide on the reconstruction of Kasthamandap and Rani Pokhari after it blundered in trying to rebuild them with concrete and steel materials, ignoring traditional design.
Reconstruction of the oldest temple was put to halt in 2016 due to protest of the locals and conservationists after the Department of Archaeology began rebuilding the temple using steel and concrete materials.
KMC then took charge of rebuilding the temple through Public-Private Partnership model. The decision was also rejected by the public after KMC published an advertisement calling for bid from private construction companies.
Furious about the decision, locals demanded that they needed their participation in the reconstruction and that the private vendor should not be given authority to rebuild the temple.
The monument is believed to be built by Malla king Laxmi Narsingh Malla in the 12th century from the timber of a single tree.
A version of this article appears in print on November 10, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.