Three contract agreements were signed by the Project Director of Central Level Project Implementation Unit (Building) of National Reconstruction Authority and contractors today for conservation and retrofitting of Seto Machhindranath temple, construction of Dharamshala at Budhanilkantha and conservation and development of Kumari Chhen and Kumari Niwas.

The signing event was witnessed by the head of Development Partnership and Reconstruction Wing of the Indian Embassy, project consultant of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (IN- TACH), officials from CLPIU (Building) and other stakeholders. Mayor of Lalitpur, mathadish of Budhanilkantha temple, KMC Ward 25 chair, and representatives of user committees of the project areas also attended the ceremony.

The three projects are part of cultural heritage projects being undertaken by the Government of India for post-earthquake conservation and restoration under a Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Government of Nepal. The projects are being implemented with the grant assistance of US $50 million committed by the Government of India for post-earthquake reconstruction of cultural heritage sites across eight districts of Nepal, said a press release issued by the embassy.

The Seto Machhindranath temple is a significant living heritage site located in Jana Bahal in central Kathmandu. It is one of the main shrines of the protector God of Kathmandu valley and is worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists alike. The conservation and retrofitting of the temple will be carried out at a cost of Rs 626 million.

Located inside Ratnakar Mahavihara, the Kumari Chhen is a historic house of the living goddess of Patan.

The living goddess is central to culture and traditions of Newar Buddhist community and the Kumari Niwas has an important place in the rituals associated with the living goddess. The conservation and development of Kumari Chhen and Kumari Niwas will cost NRs 456 million.

According to the embassy, Seto Machhindranath temple, and Kumari Chhen and Kumari Niwas will be conserved as per Nepal's Ancient Monument Preservation Act with an effort to restore the heritage sites to their past glory and traditions.

Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage has been appointed as the Project Management Consultant for supervising the conservation work. The retrofitting and construction of these two projects will be working closely with the authorities of the Government of Nepal.

Dharmashala at Budhanilkantha lies within the heritage precinct of Budhanilkantha temple, locally known as Narayanthan. CLPIU (Building) of NRA is the implementing agency. Dharmashala will be constructed at a cost of Rs 334 million.

It is expected to facilitate pilgrims and tourists visiting the sacred temple.

Earlier in November 2019, India also built Mathadish building for Budhanilkantha temple at a cost of Rs 21.8 million.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 12, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.