Thursday, 16 September, 2021

Nepal’s First War Museum

It is a matter of pride that Nepalis had proven their mettle to protect the nation's territory, sovereignty and integrity by defeating the foreign forces during the Nepal-Anglo War. This is the reason why the country has never fallen into the clutches of foreign powers. Sindhuligadhi is one of the places where the Nepali soldiers had defeated the foreign troops. It was November 1767 when the Gorkha soldiers under the command of Bir Bhadra Upadhyay and Sirdar Banshu Gurung defeated the British troops led by Colonel Kinloch. Under the national unification campaign, King Prithvi Narayan Shah had surrounded the Kathmandu Valley and imposed an economic blockade to weaken his rival Jaya Prakash Malla, the ruler of Kathmandu. To save his kingdom, Malla sought military assistance from the British India.

As the British India troops arrived in Sindhuligadhi to move ahead towards Kathmandu, the Nepali force carried out a guerrilla attack against them. The Gorkha soliders used unconventional war tactics such as unleashing the hornets and using nettles, among others, to conquer the British soldiers. Hundreds of British soldiers lost their lives in the attack while the remaining ones fled. The Gorkha force was also able to capture a lot of arms and ammunition from the enemies. Thus, the Nepali soldiers were able to stop the British troops from fulfilling their mission. The Sindhuli War Memorial Day is marked every year in Sindhuligadhi to commemorate the victory of the brave Gorkhas over the British force. The Nepali Army (NA) hoists the Nepali flag with salutation. In celebration of that important event, a war museum has been built in the historic Sindhuligadhi which lies in Kamalamai Municipality-3 of Sindhuli district.

This is the first museum of its kind to be built in Nepal. The Sinduligadhi fort is located at an elevation of 1,350 metres above sea level. Created by the NA's Barda Bahadur Battalion, the museum is expected to be an important attraction among domestic as well as foreign tourists. The fort was declared as a new tourist destination by the government in 2018. The local government aims to make as much as Rs. 50 million annually from tourists visiting the place once the country's tourism industry reopens. The government has spent about Rs. 70 million for the construction of the museum that houses a theatre displaying the historical importance of the fort home-made weapons used by the then Gorkha Army in the war, canons, historical documents, and uniforms worn by the Nepali and English troops. The museum spreads over an area of about 6,281 square feet. The main palace of Sindhuli fort, which is known as the Rani Durbar, is being reconstructed by the Bagmati Province government from the current fiscal year.

The war museum was inaugurated by President Bidya Devi Bhandari amidst a function organised in Sindhuligadhi on Wednesday. Saying that the museum was an excellent example of civil-military relations, the President said that introducing it to the world was a matter of pride for Nepalis. She also believed that the beautiful Sindhuligadhi could emerge as a destination not only for travellers but also for researchers and students from home and abroad. It needs no reiteration that the museum will help protect the glorious history of Nepal.