Rebuilding of several heritage sites in limbo

Bhaktapur, January 4

Art, culture and tradition are the wealth of a nation. However, 20 months since the devastating earthquake, reconstruction of many damaged cultural and heritage sites in Kathmandu Valley have yet to begin.

“Reconstruction of some heritage monuments have already been completed, while work on many others have not yet begun,” informed Surya Kharbuja, architect at the Heritage Division of Bhaktapur Municipality.

He said the gajur (spire) of a temple cannot be restored without performing rituals as per the Newari tradition. “Once we perform the rituals, we will install gajurs and announce completion of reconstruction work.”

The Heritage Division of Bhaktapur Municipality and Monuments and Palace Conservation Office, Bhaktapur are jointly undertaking reconstruction of 17 heritage monuments in Bhaktapur. They aim to complete the reconstruction work by the end of this fiscal.

However, this is easier said than done. The gajur of Harihar Mandir was lost in the earthquake. Simlarly, the gajurs of Tribikram Narayan temple and Sankar Narayan temple need to be redesigned as they were destroyed in the earthquake.

“It is not so easy to make the spires as we need to consult tantrics, historians and culture experts.This could take a long time,” said Ram Govinda Shrestha, chief of Heritage Division of Bhaktapur Municipality. Shrestha also shared that they were facing shortage of trained workers to rebuild the historical structures.

He said many of the trained workers were busy rebuilding their own houses. “We are unable to pay them high wages as a result of which they are reluctant to work for us,” he said.