KATHMANDU, Aug 25: Experts and activists have expressed serious objections over the ongoing reconstruction of the historical Balgopaleshwar temple at the center of the Ranipokhari pond in the capital.
They have claimed that the ongoing reconstruction of the historically and archeologically important temple is in breach of archaeological norms that need to be followed while carrying out restoration and renovation work.
They have alleged that the Department of Archeology (DoA) failed to make the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) office follow the norms.
“The reconstruction of the historical temple is being conducted by using modern materials and technology in violation of standard archeological norms,” said senior architect Sudarsan Raj Tiwari while addressing a gathering organized at Shantibatika near Ranipokhari area on Wednesday evening. “If we use modern styles and techniques to reconstruct our historical monuments, we lose the traditional aesthetic values and cannot hand over such precious gifts to our future generations.”
The temple was damaged by last year's devastating earthquake and KMC has been carrying out reconstruction work for the last three months.
Tiwari said that the builder is using modern concrete materials in the foundation and pillars of the temple. He also said that the new construction has covered the historical stone inscription at the temple which describes the history behind the temple.
“They have been rebuilding our monument using the concrete in its pillars and foundation but use of modern materials and technology doesn't guarantee safety and longevity of the monument. Because our traditional construction method has also been proven equally efficient,” he said at the gathering comprising activists and experts of the sector. “So, we should protest against it and create pressure to make sure that such monuments are reconstructed in traditional style using traditional materials.”
Bishnu Raj Karki, an archaeologist and the former Director General of the DoA, also criticized the concerned bodies for failing to implement the traditional style.
“They should reconstruct it in traditional style using traditional materials. We also have reconstructed several historical monuments in this fashion in different areas in Kathmandu Valley in the past. Some of them were also shaken by last year's earthquake and they are standing undamaged,” said Karki.
“This is completely against the norms for reconstruction of historical monuments,” he added.
He said that all the monuments damaged by the earthquakes should be reconstructed in the same style and condition which will preserve our historical values and culture to the next generation and it will be helpful for promoting our valuable culture.
Some volunteer groups and activists joined the protests carrying placards which read, “Save Heritage, Save Ranipokhari, Save Identity.”
Meanwhile, Uttar Regmi, chief of infrastructure development department at the KMC, claimed that they have retained the original shape and styles of the monument while rebuilding it.