Kasthamandap to be reconstructed under PPP model

Kathmandu, May 31

The National Reconstruction Authority, Department of Archaeology, Kathmandu Metropolitan City and Campaign for Kasthamandap Reconstruction have signed an agreement for the reconstruction of Kasthamandap, which was destroyed in the 2015 earthquake.

NRA Joint Secretary Yamlal Bhusal, DoA Director General Bhesh Narayan Dahal, KMC Chief Executive Ishwor Raj Paudel and CKR Chairperson Birendra Bhakta Shrestha signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations amid a programme at Singha Durbar last week.

Minister for Industry Nabindra Raj Joshi, who also represents the constituency of the locality where Kasthamandap is situated, informed that the Cabinet had already decided to supply wood through Timber Corporation of Nepal for the reconstruction work. According to NRA, the iconic structure will be rebuilt under public-private partnership model. The quality of construction materials will be ascertained by DoA.

A series of post-disaster surveys and rescue excavations recently conducted by a collaborative team of international and national experts from the DoA had focused on Kasthamandap at Hanumandhoka Durbar Square. The monument that gives Kathmandu its name had collapsed in the earthquake and was then cleared by bulldozers. The quake had destroyed at least 30 per cent of the monument.

After clearing rubble at the site, they identified the monument’s huge foundation walls. Rather than four independent corner plinths linked by double rows of timber pillars, as previously mentioned in architectural reports, they found that the main foundation was two-metre deep and one metre wide, measuring 12 by 12 metres and was set in a clay mortar.

Within this foundation, they excavated several phases of the Shah and Rana renovations and then exposed the brick cross-walls running east-west and north-south. In addition, the cleaning of three of the four central saddle stones demonstrated that their pillars had originally rested on a copper plate on top of each stone as damp-proofing.

Furthermore, each of these saddle stones had a deposit that included a gold foil mandala. Such objects are relatively rare and probably relate to elaborate construction rituals and the creation of cosmological significance, said the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu.