February 16: The reconstruction of Kathmandu Durbar Square (Hanumandhoka area), which is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, has gained momentum after easy availability of timber. The reconstruction of the heritage site was facing problems due to lack of timber required for the ancient monuments.
The reconstruction resumed after the import of timber eased two weeks ago. Due to the lack of large and long timber, the work of the palace and the temple was halted. Both of these heritage sites require more than 10 feet long wood.
Sandeep Khanal, chief of the Hanumandhoka Durbar Square Management Office, informed that 80 percent of the construction work of the palace and 70 percent work of the temple have been completed. Altogether 27 heritage sites in the area have been reconstructed. Only 12 of the 70 structures in this area were not damaged by the earthquake. Of the 58 structures damaged by the earthquake, 11 are being rebuilt, the management office said.
According to Khanal, the reconstruction and renovation of 20 structures cannot be done as it is not possible to start the work before the completion of works currently in progress.
The reconstruction of Nautale Durbar (Nine-Storey Palace) in Hanumandhoka Durbar is being done with the grant assistance from the Chinese government. The reconstruction of the palace has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, an agreement has been reached to complete the reconstruction of the palace by 2022.
Similarly, the Gaddi Baithak has been completed with the help of the United States. The Jagannath and Gopinath temples are being renovated under the Bagmati Province Infrastructure Development Program. The Rana-era white building on west of Nasal Chowk and the building between Nasal Chowk and Gaddi Baitak are also being reconstructed by the Hanumandhoka Durbar Museum Development Committee.
Aagamche Ghar and Shiva Temple are being reconstructed with the grant assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Monkali Chowk, Mul Chowk, Nasal Chowk are other important structures currently being renovated.
The Gaddi Baithak, which was damaged due to the earthquake, will now be opened to the public as well. Although it is said to be opened immediately after the reconstruction, it will take some more time as some internal preparations have to be done. The Gaddi Baithak, which was reconstructed by the US Embassy and the Cultural Heritage Fund, was handed over to Nepal in July 2018 and was inaugurated by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on the same day.
Realizing the need for a special kind of separate meeting room to welcome foreigners, the then British Prime Minister Chandra Shamsher built the British Meeting (Gaddi Meeting) in the European style at Basantapur Durbar in 1965. Initially, the building hosted a formal meeting of the king with foreign guests. Its use has reduced as the King settled in the Narayanhiti palace. At present, it is used only when the head of state visits the living goddess Kumari and Basnata Shrawan.