Monday, 30 November, 2020
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EDITORIAL

Restoration Of Monuments



With the resurrection of two iconic monuments, Kathmandu has somewhat regained its lost characteristic of being an extraordinary city full of cultural heritage. Reconstruction of the two monuments, the Ranipokhari Pond and Durbar High School, damaged by the Gorkha Earthquake in 2015, has completed after five years. After the restoration, the two sites have added more sheen to the city. The appeal of two fine monuments appears so intense among all passersby, which is evident from the fact that many of them are seen taking photographs of the historical sites that face each other across the busy capital street.
The famous high school of the city came to its superb edifice through Chinese assistance, whereas the Nepal Reconstruction Authority undertook the renovation of the famous pond and the temple, first built in 1669 by the then King of Kathmandu, Pratap Malla. The Durbar High School reconstruction under the Chinese assistance created no problems for the authority, but the story of Ranipokhari and the Balgopaleshwor Temple renovation was a different one. No sooner than the authority initiated the reconstruction, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City officials, local activists and culture activists had sparred over the design of and construction materials to be used for the pond and its centrally located temple. Following protests, the city authority had reportedly given up its move to rebuild the pond by employing the modern mortar technique. Also, the KMC had to give up its plan to construct resort-like restaurants around the historic pond.
After much hullaballoo, common sense reigned and the authority agreed to rehabilitate the pond and the temple in their authentic shape and size as built in the Mall era following traditional methods. Workers from Bhaktapur, who are proficient at restoring old-time ponds in the Kathmandu Valley were called into service while noted archeologists offered their valuable tips to rebuild the temple in its authentic, original Granthkut style instead of Dome Style. After the earthquakes of 1837 and 1933 had damaged the Granthkut-style temple, the two Rana Prime Ministers, Junga Bahadur and Judda Shamsher had overhauled it in a Dome, or Gumbaz, style.
The iconic monuments are the gems of the capital city, known around the world as an ancient city with a bounty of heritage sites. The significance of the city's legacy and culture was further underscored when President Bidya Devi Bhandari inaugurated the two gems of Kathmandu on Wednesday at a special function. The completion also sheds light on the commitment of the government led by KP Sharma Oli to bring back all monuments of the country that got damaged or destroyed by the disasters. Apart from providing all kinds of encouragement and support, the government has negotiated deals with countries and institutions to rebuild the wrecked cultural sites. It is reassuring to learn that the works to reconstruct the two major iconic sites, the Hanumandhoka Durbar and the Dharahara, have been moving on a swift pace. They will soon be brought back to their feet, aiding feathers in the cap of Kathmandu's cultural heritage. Without a doubt, the government's reputation for erecting the wrecked monuments and heritage sites has gone up many folds after the resurrection of the two famous sites.  

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