Hanumandhoka Heritage inventory completedA Unesco-supported project to create an inventory documenting objects recovered from Hanumandhoka Durbar Square, a site located at the heart of the rich cultural heritage which witnessed significant destruction in the 2015 earthquakes, has been successfully completed.
A Unesco-supported project to create an inventory documenting objects recovered from Hanumandhoka Durbar Square, a site located at the heart of the rich cultural heritage which witnessed significant destruction in the 2015 earthquakes, has been successfully completed.
Hanumandhoka Durbar Square suffered the total collapse of 10 structures in the earthquakes, and significant damage to many others.
During the rescue operation and subsequent clearing of the sites, the building elements and objects recovered from the square were placed across 23 locations in an assortment of mixed sites, according to the UN heritage agency.
The task of salvaging, sorting and cataloguing the items, which ranged from screening a variety of objects including decorative and large wooden members to smaller pieces and stone idols, was immense, Unesco said.
More than 1,565 artifacts, including three copper inscriptions, five stone idols, and other carved wooden members such as doors and windows were re-assembled where possible. Pillars (thaam), struts, brackets (meth), joist heads (dhalinkhwas), cornices (jhalar) and icons were recovered, with the majority deemed reusable in their original locations.
The sites contained vast mixtures of objects in various conditions, and a team of experts led by Prof Mukunda Raj Aryal and Sukra Sagar Shrestha worked to create
a clear inventory of the monuments.
The project covered eight of the totally collapsed monuments, and two of the damaged structures.
Work on the project began after an agreement was made in November 2015 between stakeholders, including the Department of Archaeology, Hanumandhoka Durbar Museum Development Committee, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (Icomos) Nepal and Unesco.
Unesco entrusted Icomos Nepal with the task of coordination of engaging master carpenters and skilled craftspeople, as well as museum staff, volunteers and labourers. The project received significant funding from the Fok Ying Tung Foundation in Hong Kong as well as from the Japanese Government.
“We are pleased to have successfully completed the inventory of wooden architectural elements from Hanumandhoka and supported the Department of Archaeology’s efforts to recover, safeguard and document those objects,” said Christian Manhart, Unesco Representative to Nepal. “This inventory of the debris from the monuments, and the ability to reuse these original materials will be of great benefit for the rebuilding phase”.
Hanumandhoka is a complex of old buildings in central Kathmandu with structures including the royal palace of the Malla kings and of the Shah dynasty.
It is one of the seven monument zones of the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Site, and represents part of Nepal’s living heritage as a site which has ongoing religious interaction and worship.
Key sites such as the Kasthamandap were included in the project.