By Ram Mani Dahal, Hetauda, Jan. 13: The historic elephant stable, also known as Hattisar, in Bhimphedi Rural Municipality of Makwanpur district is being transformed into a museum at full pace.
The elephant stable has been of historic importance since the Rana regime and a tourism destination as well.
The stable at Ward 6 of the rural municipality was deserted for years until last year, when the authorities began preserving the area and decided to transform it into a museum.
The Bagmati Provincial government has led the conservation of Hattisar, which occupies 33 ropanis of land, and the concerned authorities have also joined hands.
The Bagmati Province Ministry for Industry, Tourism and Forest had allocated Rs. 9 million through the Division Forest Office of Makwanpur to conserve and restore the stable to a museum, which is expected to be a major tourism destination in the area.
Hattisar has weapons and howdah, a seat for riding on the back of elephant or camel, used by the then Rana Prime Minister Janga Bahadur Rana and other ministers. The place also has weapons and howdah used by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom when she visited Nepal in 1961. All these antiques have been conserved.
When Queen Elizabeth II arrived in Nepal, she was brought to the Hattisar and taken for hunting on an elephant. There are reportedly 42 howdahs in the Hattisar.
"There is a garden in front of the museum and a stone-paved road from the gate to the building which was constructed by last year. Other necessary standards for a place to be a tourism destination are also almost constructed," said Achyut Lamichhane, assistant forest officer at Makwanpur Forest Division Office.
The budget allocated has also been spent on building walls around the premises and giving the place a new look.
Last year, the authorities had decided to build a statue of Queen Elizabeth II and also two statues of elephants on the premises but the work regarding it hasn’t begun yet.
Officials say that there was some confusion due to the pandemic and procurement process following which the statue work, for which Rs. 2 million is allocated, hasn’t picked up.
"We have begun the process to secure permission from the government of the United Kingdom for constructing the queen´s statue. We will begin the statue-making process only once we receive permission," said Lamichhane.
The Cabinet, last month, had decided that the Hattisar museum, which was being operated under Chitwan National Park, would now operate under Bagmati Province government. The provincial government had filed the proposal in the Cabinet.
During the Nepal Tourism Year 1998, the conservation of Hattisar had begun and process was started to transform it into a museum under the leadership of then lawmaker Hiranyalal Shrestha. But since the conservation couldn’t continue properly, Hattisar had worn out over the years.
However, the recent conservation has generated hope among the locals too that it would continue properly and the Hattisar will be able to show its true historic importance.