India offers to restore Nepal's iconic sites

India offers to restore Nepal's iconic sites

India has offered to help Nepal in restoration of its iconic world heritages sites — some dating back to 1700 years — that were reduced to rubble in last month’s devastating earthquake.

Among the well-known Kathmandu landmarks destroyed in the April 25 quake were the three Durbar Squares – Basantpur, Patan and Bhaktpur – each an example of a range of religious and artistic traditions unique to the region.

Also damaged were temples at the hill-top Buddhist shrine of Swayambhunath dating back to the 5th Century, famous Pashupathinath temple complex, considered as the presiding deity of Nepal.

“The Archaeological Survey of India is already playing a key role in the preservation of the Pashupatinath Temple Complex. That will continue. We are also ready to help in the reconstruction of other heritage sites that were damaged in the earthquake,” Ranjit Rae, India’s Ambassador to Nepal, told Deccan Herald here.

According to estimates by Nepal’s Department of Archaeology, the 7.9 magnitude temblor had damaged 90 per cent of the ancient heritage and it would take at least 10 years to restore them to past glory.

Kashtamandap temple, a three-storey pagoda-type temple built in the 12th century, was also reduced to rubble. Kathmandu owes its name to this temple believed to have been built out of a single tree.

Also razed to the ground were temples dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu in the Hanuman Dhoka complex also known as the Basantpur Darbar Square.

These ancient sites were popular with tourists from across the world.
“Earlier, tourists visited to admire the architectural grandeur. Today people are here to have a look at the ruins and perhaps to see what they have lost,” said Reema Dhakal, who runs a small trinket shop near the temple complex.

At Patan, the three-tiered roof of the Degu Taleju temple lies in ruins. The temple houses the presiding deity of the Malla Dynasty.

Though the Krishna Mandir, built of solid stone, withstood the shock, the adjacent Hari Shanker and Uma Maheswar temples were destroyed by the temblor.

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