Authorities’ apathy leaves Bardiya monuments in dilapidated stateLocal governments have failed to even identify and conduct studies on ancient sites of archaeological importance.
The design of the 40-foot temple has a striking resemblance to the ruins in Tilaurakot, where Gautam Buddha spent his princely life, and the Bhulbhulaiya Durbar of Lucknow, India. Alongside the temple is a well, which holds great historical and cultural significance for the Tharu community. However, the authorities concerned have shown little interest in the preservation of this ancient monument, locals say.
“Information is scant on when the temple was built. Many believe it to be around 400-years-old,” said Ram Dayal Chaudhary, a local. “For generations, we have been visiting the temple to offer prayers. But now, the temple is on the verge of collapse as no one has made any effort to preserve the ancient structure.”
Until a couple of years ago, locals say, the inscriptions on a stone slab at the temple were visible, but without conservation efforts, the writings have faded. “The inscriptions were in Pali language, but now the writings are not legible. The authorities must conduct a proper study to establish the construction date of the temple,” said Chaudhary.
The Shiva temple is just one of the hundreds of ancient monuments in Bardiya district that is in dire need of renovation and preservation.
The local government’s apathy towards the conservation of ancient shrines, temples, wells among other monuments of historic significance, has left the ancient structure in a dilapidated condition.
“All these monuments, constructed by our ancestors, will be lost if immediate measures are not taken for their preservation,” said Bir Bahadur Chaudhary, a local of Bakotiya. “The authorities are busy renovating the monuments in the city areas but they have neglected the ancient structures in the villages.”
Province 5 lawmaker Kaviram Chaudhary conceded the authorities’ lack of interest towards the conservation of many ancient monuments. “The government has failed to prioritise the preservation of these ancient monuments,” said lawmaker Chaudhary, “We will lose a part of our history if we fail to preserve them.”
Locals also complained about the government’s indifference towards the preservation and study of Barbardiya. As per the local legends, Barbardiya is the burial place of 12 shepherds (herders) and has a historical link in the naming of the district making it one of the places of archaeological importance.
“The local government has not prioritised the identification and study of these ancient places,” said Govinda Chaudhary, a Tharu leader, “It is deeply troubling that the federal and local governments have failed to conduct any sort of studies on these lands of archaeological importance.”