Bhaidegah temple being rebuilt after 80 years

Kathmandu, November 12

Bhaidegah temple, a jewel among Patan’s many cultural heritages, that stood high for nearly three centuries before being destroyed in the 1934 earthquake, is finally being reconstructed after 84 years.

The idol of Lord Shiva, which the temple housed, is since being kept in a simple dome-shaped temple. The temple has received little attention. Before being destroyed in the earthquake, Bhaidegah temple looked like any other pagoda style temple in Patan Dubar Square. It was a three-storied magnificent temple made of wood, mud and roof tiles.

After almost eight-and-a-half decades, the temple is being reconstructed at the initiative of Sanskritik Sampada Samrakshan Samuha, which was lobbying for the reconstruction of the temple for the last six years.

Twenty original wood carved tunals (struts) of the temple were kept safely all these years in the Patan Museum. The design and architecture of temple will be developed in a way the original struts can be used in the new structure, according to SSSS officials.

Conservation architect and secretary of SSSS Rohit Ranjitkar said, “Since we have the struts intact, they have helped us get an idea about the actual size of the temple and what it must have looked like.”

SSSS officials said the new structure would retain the original architecture. Wood, mud and bricks will be used to rebuilt the temple. While the foundation of the temple has already been constructed, stone and wood carvings are being restored. The rebuilding of the temple has also become easier as Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust has provided technical support.

The temple is expected to be rebuilt within three years at an estimated cost of Rs 60 million. Of the estimated budget, around 50 per cent is contributed by Nepal Investment Bank, Norwegian Embassy and Lalitpur Municipality, according to the SSSS. Officials said that they needed more financial support to rebuild the temple.

Built as a replica of Kashi Vishwanath of India, the temple was built in 1678 by Patan’s Chautaria (prime minister) Bhagirath Bhaiya. According to historians, the replica was made to commemorate the Shiva Linga, which was destroyed by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.