DoA restores 348-yr-old Pratappur temple

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, July 2:

The restoration of the 348-year old temple of Pratappur at Swayambhu that was destroyed in a mysterious fire ten months ago, is almost complete. Situated next to the Swayambhu Stupa, the temple caught fire on August 5 last year and collapsed on September 20 due to heavy rainfall before the government could. decide whether to rebuild or repair it. A special Buddhist ritual was held on November 30 over the remains of the before beginning restoration work. "We have completed the restoration work. Only the final touches remain. We are indeed happy that the work has been completed within the time limit and also the estimated budget," said Rajesh Bhakta Mathema, coordinator of the restoration committee from the Department of Archaeology (DoA).

Mathema said it took seven months and Rs 4.19 million to restore the temple. He added that the technicians had luckily made the necessary blueprints of the structure and its decoration before it collapsed. Around 50 craftsmen and labourers worked continuously for more than half a year to rebuild the temple. Most of these workers belonged to the Newar settlement of Bungamati, said Mathema. "It is very difficult to find quality traditional craftsmen these days. Some, however, are still around as restorations have become frequent, and the work has honed their skills to a greater degree," he added. The temple awaits a lengthy ritual before consecration takes place. Around Rs 220,000 is likely to be spent on that occasion. After the fire, former prime minister Surya Bahadur Thapa had visited the site, and so also the regional director of UNESCO, Dr Richard Angelhardt, who was in Kathmandu then. Both had insisted on starting immediate repair of the monument.