Rebuilding of iconic temples unlikely to start anytime soon

Kathmandu, February 20

Not a single brick has been laid so far to reconstruct the three major iconic temples in Basantapur area almost three years after the 2015 earthquakes razed them to the ground.

Three different government bodies have been entrusted with reconstructing the three iconic temples that stood very close to each other in the World Heritage Monument zone. Kathmandu Metropolitan City is responsible for reconstructing Kashtamandap temple, while Department of Archaeology and Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Museum have been entrusted with reconstructing Jaisidewal and Dasavatar temples respectively.

KMC had earlier allocated Rs 190 million for the reconstruction of Kashtamandap. It had said it would rebuild the temple by the end of 2019.

Chief of Hanumandhoka Durbar preservation programme at KMC Uday Bahadur Pasakhala said, “Reconstruction of Kashtamandap is likely take time as the mayor and senior officials of the metropolitan office are working to finalise working model.”

Reconstruction of the seventh century Kashtamandap has been obstructed several times by the locals, saying the government bodies didn’t comply with standard norms and seek public participation.

Reconstruction of the three-storied Jaisidewal, which was also destroyed in the earthquake, was supposed to be rebuilt by DoA. The department was ready with the design and working maps a year after the earthquakes. But so far, the department has undertaken only minor excavation to conduct study on the temple.

Prakritik, Sanu Suwal and SP JV had won the contract for rebuilding the temple at the cost of Rs 53.4 million last year. But not a single worker is seen around the temple.

DoA engineer Purna Bahadur Shrestha said they were waiting for supply of traditional bricks and large size timber to start reconstruction work. He also said that only 20 per cent of old bricks and less than 10 per cent of the ordinal wooden pillars would be useful for reconstruction.

Reconstruction of Dashavatar temple also remains in limbo. Executive Director of Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Museum said if they were to address the locals’ demand, they could not allow private vendors in the reconstruction project and would delay work.