KATHMANDU: Gaddi Baithak, the historic building that is located at the heart of Basantapur Durbar Square and was destroyed by the April 2015 earthquake, has been inaugurated today post reconstruction.
On the occasion of the inaugural ceremony of the renovated Gaddi Baithak building based in Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli highlighted the mythical, historic and cultural significance of the heritage site.
Recalling the mega earthquake that shook the country to its core and induced huge losses of lives and properties including cultural and historic heritages, the prime minister said, helping hands provided by our neighbours and other countries including the United States during Nepal’s dire need was noteworthy.
He thanked the US Embassy in Kathmandu for financially supporting the restoration of infrastructure damaged by the April 2015 earthquake.
PM Oli went on to say that the government was committed to maintaining the standard in reconstruction of quake-damaged structures. He said the country had entered into a new era with the promulgation of constitution through Constituent Assembly. “Now the journey towards development and prosperity has begun following the completion of political struggles,” the prime minister was quoted as saying in Rastriya Samachar Samiti.
The historic Gaddi Baithak, dating back to the Rana regime, stands as a tribute to the European architectural style. It was retrofitted and renovated under the partnership of Miyamoto Global Disaster Relief and Nepal Government’s Department of Archaeology. The US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) had sponsored US Dollars 700,000 for this purpose.
Thanking the concerned agencies for supporting the retrofitting, renovation, and reconstruction of the quake-damaged cultural heritages in the country, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Prasad Adhikari stated that such efforts would contribute towards the conservation of cultural heritages and promotion of tourism.
On the occasion, US Charge d’ Affaires Peter Malnak said that the collaborative effort between Nepali and American cultural heritage experts had presented an opportunity to restore and seismically strengthen Gaddi Baithak.
Furthermore, Malnak said, “Gaddi Baithak is one of the most important structures of Nepal’s cultural heritage and history. The real result was achieved by our governments and communities working together collaboratively.”
The engineering experts on seismic-resilience technique had collaborated with the architecture experts for the restoration of Gaddi Baithak. Likewise, local artisans, traditional construction materials and techniques were employed for the restoration of this historic building.
PM Oli and Charge d’ Affaires jointly inaugurated the newly reconstructed Mahadev Temple, Kageshwor Temple, Laxmi Narayan Temple and Saraswati Temple in the premises that were built in the 17th and 19th centuries.
These Newari style architectural monuments were restored and seismically strengthened by Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust with financial aid from the American government through AFCP which had provided USD 2 million through emergency grant.
According to the American Embassy in Nepal, AFCP is the most significant cultural preservation initiative abroad by the American government and since 2001 it has supported over 850 projects to preserve cultural heritages in more than 125 countries.
In Nepal, over the past two decades, 22 projects were completed worth over USD 3.4 million.