KATHMANDU, July 17
The Department of Archaeology has sought Rs 200 million from the government for the reconstruction of historical Kashthamandap, which was flattened by the April 25 earthquake.
“We have sought the amount to complete the reconstruction of Kashthamandap in three years,” said Ram Bahadur Kunwar, Spokesperson for the Department of Archaeology.
As per DoA plans, Kashthamandap will be reconstructed with the timber and bricks that were salvaged from the debris, which have been kept at Hanumandhoka Palace Museum and National Museum at Chhauni.
“We need highly skilled manpower — artists, traditional architects, craftsmen, builders — and sophisticated technology and tools to reconstruct the heritage structure. So we have requested the government to provide the budget as soon as possible so that reconstruction could be completed in three years,”he said.
Sal timber and pine woods, which will be required, need to be procured from community and government-owned forests in the Tarai region and Bhaktapur, he added. “Many broken and useless parts of Kashthamandap will be reconstructed with fresh timber.”
According to Kunwar, Kashthamandap will be reconstructed first before other damaged heritage sites of the Kathmandu Valley are reconstructed.
On July 5, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Kripasur Sherpa had also suggested that Kashthamandap should be reconstructed first given its historical and archaeological significance.
Kashthamandap, said to be around 900 years old, was a three-storey structure, which according to the legend, was made up of timber from a single Sal tree. Kathmandu is said to have got its name from Kashthamandap, which is traditionally known as Maru Sattal.
Shriju Pradhan, Chief of Heritage Conservation and Tourism Promotion Section at Kathmandu Metropolitan City, said, “It is one of the oldest artistic architectures and is a traditional resting place for pilgrims, locals and tourists. The restoration of the other heritage sites should be initiated by taking the first step to reconstruct Kashthamandap.”
Pradhan said quick recovery of lost tamrapatra (a historical record engraved on copper plate) is utmost for the historic authorisation of Kashthamandap which had withstood many tremors for the last 900 years, but was destroyed by the massive earthquake of April 25.
A version of this article appears in print on July 18, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.