October 27, 2016 12:00 AM NPT
By: Janak KC
This recent photo shows 248-year-old Jajarkot Palace. Photo: Janak KC/ Republica
JAJARKOT, Oct 27: Two centuries-old Jajarkot Palace, which is of great historical and archaeological importance, is on the verge of collapse. In lack of timely renovation, the 248-year-old palace is gradually decaying and fast losing its beauty and color to heat, rain and cold. The weather-beaten palace couldn't remain unaffected by the devastating earthquake of magnitude 7.8 last year, either.
According to the locals, it is not just the ancient structure that is of archeological value but its extraordinary location adds to its magnificence. There is the Bheri river to the south and the scenic beauty of Pipaldada in the northern side of the palace. Locals say that the palace is losing its charm in contrast to the natural beauty on either sides of the palace still intact.
“This palace deserves to be well preserved. But the concerned authorities are not giving due attention to it. Its artistic elements are fading in lack of proper care,” said a local Keshab Jung Shah.
The palace was constructed by the sixth king of the then princely state of Jajarkot in 1825 BS. He was a close friend of the late king of Gorkha, Prithivi Narayan Shah, who unified Nepal.
“The palace was far more beautiful earlier. Now it looks like a common building and if we still do not renovate it, it will totally collapse,” said Shah. “It is really sad that the palace is situated in the center, just near the District Administration Office, but is still neglected,” he added.
Another local Man Bahadur Singh stated that the palace is dear to the locals also because their ancestors had shed their sweat and blood to construct it. During those days, locals had to strictly obey the king's command and contribute labor to build palaces.
“Our ancestors carried bricks on their back to make this giant palace. But today, it looks so small and insignificant,” Singh said. He added that there used to be a grand and beautiful garden around the palace but it does not exist anymore. “How can the beauty remain intact when nobody is interested in its conservation?” Singh lamented.
The palace was seven-storied tall earlier. It lost three top stories to the great earthquake of 1934. According to a researcher Raju Raja Singh, valuable items of the palace have already been lost and the government must take initiative to preserve whatever is left.
“There were valuable idols and sculptures in the palace. There were old weapons as well. Some are in the national museum but many were stolen away,” he said.