Government collecting info on ancient monuments

Kathmandu, October 8:

The Department of Archaeology (DoA) is collecting information on historical monuments and artefacts scattered across the country and is making preparations to classify them on the basis of their national and local significance.

Although Nepal is known as a country full of temples and rich historical monuments, comprehensive data about their numbers, types and condition are lacking. Archaeologists estimate that Nepal has over 10,000 ancient monuments.

Bishnu Raj Karki, chief archaeological officer of the DoA, said studies were conducted, especially in the three districts of the valley — Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur. There is no dearth of data about monuments of the valley, but very few studies have been conducted on monuments situated in other 72 districts of the country.

With the objective of collecting data, the DoA is selecting a team of 20 people, those with Masters in Nepali culture, history and archaeology.

It will train them to identify and classify historical monuments and artefacts. Members of the team will be sent to different parts of the country to gather information with help from the locals.

The identified monuments, namely temples, monasteries and artefacts, will be classified on the basis of their national, regional and local importance.

Karki said the information thus gathered will also help prioritise the preservation of monuments. “The DoA will preserve the monuments of national importance, while local authorities will look after the monuments of local importance,” he said.

The DoA has come up with an ‘Ancient Monument Conservation Procedures, 2007’ for the preservation of ancient monuments.

“Collected data will not only help classify and preserve the ancient monuments, but will also help update information,” Ram Bahadur Kunwar, an archaeologist at the DoA, said. He added that a three-year monument preservation programme will probably commence in a month from the Far-Western or Mid-Western Development region.