NUWAKOT, Jan 31: One of the most important monuments of the country, the historic seven-storey palace of Nuwakot district, is in dire condition and in need of immediate renovation.
The devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake of 2015 and its recurring aftershocks had greatly weakened the palace and its museum. The palace also had survived the great earthquakes of 1990 BS. Although the palace is barely standing without any support, the concerned authorities have not shown any interest in its renovation even after 20 months of the last major earthquake.
The government of China had shown interest in aiding the reconstruction of the Nuwakot Palace about 15 months ago. Yet, months after its commitment, there is no sign of even starting the process of reconstruction.
“Even when China declared that it would reconstruct the palace, no works started yet. This is a huge disappointment,” said Puskar Sharma Rimal, coordinator of Nuwakot Palace Area Conservation Committee. “The attention of our own country's Department of Archaeology (DoA) has not reached this palace in the first place,” he added.
The palace's deteriorating state has significantly contributed to the decrease in number of domestic and foreign tourists of late. Still, the number of tourists visiting the palace reaches hundreds per day. However, they fear to go near to the palace in fear that the weakened palace may collapse anytime.
“Although the palace seems like it is in good shape from outside, the condition is much worse inside. Every corner of the palace museum has cracks on all sides. In some places, the bricks have fallen, making the structure very prone to collapse,” said Rimal.
Bricks are still falling off the palace. Not just the inner parts of the palace, many structures outside the palace have already fallen. The DoA has attributed the delay in reconstruction to the failure in getting enough budget.
The Nuwakot Palace, which was built by King Prithivi Narayan Shah, is 253 years old. Hence, the palace is not just an identity of the district, but is a symbol of the unification of the whole nation. It makes the palace a great attraction for tourists.
“If anyone wants to study or understand the history of Nepal, Nuwakot Palace is like an open history book. Despite its massive importance, the concerned authorities have not shown any interest to renovate it, which saddens us greatly,” said litterateur and cultural expert Shreee Ram Shrestha.