Heritage site sold off to businessman for profit

Kathmandu, July 12:

A historic, religious “temple-house” in the heart of the capital is being turned into a commercial building, courtesy the traditional caretakers who sold off the heritage site to a businessman on the basis of fraudulent documents.

Locals are staging protest programmes to stop the demolition of the ag-old building and raising an outcry to restore it to its original state.

The “Nasaa-dyo chhen” or temple-house, with a group of deities inside it, is now being demolished to erect a commercial building at Keltole, just outside the temple of Seto Machhindranath near Ason Bazaar.

The deity of Nasa-dyo in the house is worshipped by local Maharjan and Kansakar families before they learn to play or practice traditional drums. According to locals, two of the seven statues of the deities have been destroyed.

“We are shocked to find that the temple has been sold off. It is a travesty. We will go to court with all the old documents and get the fake purchase scrapped,” said Tirtha Dhar Tuladhar, an elderly local.

Tuladhar said the present owner would be forced to give up the possession of the monument and that the locals would also make him compensate for the damage he has caused to the temple.

The documents provided by Tuladhar reveal that the temple was handed over to a Kapali family in 1949. Now, the house is shown as personal property of Bijuli Maya Kapali, Asha Maya Kapali, Chandra Maya Kapali, Narayan Prasad Kapali and Mishrinani Darshandhari.

The house was now sold to a businessman Manohar Baniya recently. Neither Baniya nor the Kapali family members could be reached for comment. In addition, a raised platform, a Dabali, where a traditional mask-dance of Gathu Pyakhan is performed has also been termed as the personal possession of Panmati Patawari on the basis of fake documents. Another local Sharad Kansakar added that the traditional caretakers would be prohibited from joining the cultural event and that the people would find another means to keep the heritage site alive.