Shops spoiling beauty of heritage site

Kathmandu, August 15

Hanumandhoka Durbar Museum has rented out space in the core area of the UNESCO World Heritage site at Basantapur for running shops, tea stalls and fast food restaurants.

The museum can rent out space to shops to sell items of cultural and religious importance like handicraft items, paintings and statue. However, only a handful of shops out of the total 36 in the area are found complying with the rule.

The museum collects Rs 25 million annually from these shops.

Each shop pays an annual rent ranging from Rs 35,000 to Rs 500,000 annually depending on the space it occupies.

Chief of the museum Aaruna Nakarmi said, “Since people are not interested in selling handicraft items, we were compelled to rent out spaces to tea stalls and restaurants. We we are utilising the income to run the office smoothly.”

She also said that tourists from SAARC countries preferred fancy stores in Taleju area.

The historic Kumari house at the centre of the square houses a grocery store. Laxmi-Narayan temple is also surrounded by shops.

Shop owners said the area where they had set up their shops were owned by private guthis and they paid rent to the concerned body.

As many as six private guthis rent out spaces to shops at the heritage site.

Chief of Hanumandhoka Durbar Preservation Programme at Kathmandu Metropolitan City Uday Bahadur Pasakhala said, “We are formulating plans and policies to regulate shops in the area. However, we can't restrict house owners in the area from renting out their property.”