Quake prone

A recent study has revealed that many multi-storey temples in the country are highly vulnerable to earthquakes. The study published in Engineering Structures, a reputed British journal, was jointly conducted by Dr Bijaya Jaishi of the Department of Roads and Professor Prem Nath Maskey of the Institute of Engineering. The researchers found that the multi-storey temples are likely to break up right from the middle in the event of an earthquake. As per their study, loose joints, unsupported walls and large numbers of windows make the temples especially prone to quakes.

But the temples might still be saved at minimal costs if some of their weaker structures are repaired and reinforced immediately. Among the inexpensive methods suggested by the study are building additional walls to support the old pillars, strengthening the joints and reconfiguring the wooden pillars.

Most of the multi-storey temples are located in the UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sites inside the Kathmandu Valley. Hence, they are not only the treasures of Nepal, but of the world in general. This stresses the urgency of preserving and strengthening these cultural monuments. Retrofitting, if feasible, might also be employed to add strength to their structure. It also makes a lot of economic sense to do so as these ancient monuments are a major tourist attraction in the country.