Sans conservation, Changu Narayan Temple in peril

Bhaktapur, September 4:

Changu Narayan Temple, one of the oldest temples in the Valley, is on the verge of collapse due to lack of repair and maintenance and other conservation efforts.

The premises of the nearly 1,600-year-old temple is gradually shrinking due to soil erosion caused by rampant sand mining in Manohara river that surrounds it from three sides. Chakra Dharananda Rajopadhyay, the main priest of the temple, said the Guthi Sansthan had a shoe-string budget to preserve the temple. “It is in dire need of renovation,” Rajopadhyay said, adding that the walls of the temple have developed cracks.

Traditional caretakers of the temple have quit their old duty and joined other profession over the years.

“The Sansthan never provided us with salary. We cannot survive on cereals produced from the land belonging to the temple,”

the priest said.

According to Rajopadhyay, there was 1,000 ropanis of land in the name of Changu Narayan Temple but the Sansthan and the people, who used to cultivate the land, “transferred its ownership in their own names” over the years. “Two priests used to get 100 muris of cereals from 100 ropanis of land but these days we have to live on only five muris of cereals for the whole year. It is not enough to make both ends meet,” he said.