Dolakha residents chip in to restore quake-ravaged heritage structuresSix years after the devastating earthquake, authorities including the Department of Archaeology have yet to take any concrete initiative to restore heritage sites.
The local people of Dolakha Bazaar, a historical settlement in Dolakha district, have started the reconstruction of earthquake-ravaged heritages by collecting donations.
The locals decided to reconstruct Kumari Ghar through their own initiatives as the Department of Archeology and the National Reconstruction Authority [which became defunct on December 24] did not take any concrete initiatives for the reconstruction of the heritage even after six years of the devastating earthquake, say locals.
“We had patiently waited for a few years expecting that the Department of Archeology would reconstruct the quake-destroyed heritage but nothing has been done so far,” said Suresh Kumar Shrestha, the secretary of Kumari Ghar construction committee. “It was quite difficult to perform Jatras and festivals after the earthquake damaged Kumari Ghar. So we collected donations and rebuilt our ancient heritage,” he said.
Bhairav Kumari Jatra, an old cultural festival of Dolakha district, starts out traditionally from Kumari Ghar which is open for only five days a year.
According to Shrestha, Kumari Ghar situated in Pingala is around 500 years old and has archaeological significance. “Kumari Ghar has been reconstructed in the traditional style and structure of the Malla period,” he said.
The heritage has been reconstructed at a total cost of Rs 8 million. The local people collected Rs 6.1 million through donations while Ward No 2 of Bhimeshwar Municipality provided Rs 1.4 million for the reconstruction project.
The reconstruction of Kumari Ghar at Pingala was possible at the initiation of the local people, but the reconstruction of another similar heritage, also named Kumari Ghar, in Tasicha is in a lurch. Traditionally, the Bhairav Kumari Jatra starts out once from Kumari Ghar in Pingala and once from Kumari Ghar in Tasicha every three years. According to Shrestha, the locals are determined to reconstruct Tasich-based Kumari Ghar and Natyeshwar, another heritage site in Dolakha Bazaar, since the authorities concerned have paid no heed to the reconstruction of these historical temples.
The devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015, and its powerful aftershock on May 12 destroyed several heritages in Dolakha district. Many of them are yet to be reconstructed and repaired even after six years of the natural disaster.
Dolakha Bazaar, which is around 4 km to the east of the district headquarters Charikot, is full of heritage sites dating back to the Lichchhavi, Malla and Shah eras featuring monuments, traditional architecture and old Newar settlements.
According to the Physical Infrastructure and Technical Office in Charikot, 23 heritage sites in Dolakha Bazaar incurred damage by the earthquakes. “The Department of Archeology reconstructed nine heritage sites so far. Thirteen quake-ravaged heritages are yet to be repaired and reconstructed. Efforts are on to repair and reconstruct them,” said Suresh Raut, the chief at the office. According to him, as many as 86 gompas were also damaged and only 15 of them have been reconstructed as of now.
“The authorities have not reconstructed and repaired Rajhiti, two temples of Narayan, seven Chaityas and other heritages in Dolakha Bazaar. The local people are planning to reconstruct Rajhiti and a pati [traditional rest house] on its premises with the help of donations. The estimated cost to construct Rajhit and the pati is around Rs 3 million,” said Shrestha.