Lost forever: slice of Nepal heritage

Saturday's temblor ravaged a slice of Nepal's cultural and architectural heritage, destroying a host of brick-and-wood monuments, temples and stupas that experts said would be impossible to rebuild.

  • Published 27.04.15
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Kathmandu’s Basantapur Durbar that was badly damaged in Saturday’s quake. (AP)

Kathmandu, April 26 (PTI): Saturday's temblor ravaged a slice of Nepal's cultural and architectural heritage, destroying a host of brick-and-wood monuments, temples and stupas that experts said would be impossible to rebuild.

The casualties include the Kasthamandap temple that gave Kathmandu its name, the landmark Dharahara Tower that turned into a grave for over 200 visitors, and three of the seven monument zones that complete the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage property.

These seven monument zones are the Durbar Squares (urban centres with palaces, temples and public spaces) of the three cities of Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu), Patan and Bhaktapur; the Buddhist stupas of Swayambhu and Bauddhanath; and the Hindu temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan.

All the three squares suffered extensive damage. Prushottam Lochan Shrestha, a historian, said these monuments could be lost forever as rebuilding them is technically difficult and expensive.

"We have lost most of the monuments that had been designated as World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur (Patan)," Shrestha was quoted as saying by the news website eKantipur. "They cannot be restored to their original states."

Several temples, including Kasthamandap - an early 16th-century wooden monument - Panchtale Temple, Dasa Avtar Temple and Krishna Mandir have been demolished in the earthquake. Kathmandu's nine-storey Basantapur Durbar has been damaged badly.

"The Durbar Squares and the Palace and the Dharahara Tower - they represented us, they represented Nepal and its culture and beauty, and it's all gone now," said Luxmee Maharjan, a former journalist who worked for the Kathmandu-based Himalayan Times.

"The loss of inheritance has made bearing the loss of human lives even more difficult."

Many heritage lovers took to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to share old, sepia-toned photographs of the lost monuments. Some posted recent images, juxtaposing them with the structures' appearance after the tragedy.

"This is what's left of the 9 story historic Unesco heritage's Dharahara Tower in Kathmandu," a poster said.

"Truly awful sight. Kathmandu's Darbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in ruins after today's earthquake," wrote another.