Kathmandu, May 6:
Rubble greets you on entering the now-cordoned off premises of the Patan Durbar Square here which was badly destroyed in the earthquake that jolted this Himalayan nation on April 25. However, all the intricately carved wood panels and other artefacts at this Unesco World Heritage Site are “rescued and safe”.
While some are broken and some have developed cracks, the authorities told IANS that all the artefacts and the statues have been rescued and safely kept in the Patan Museum at the site.
At work are officials from the Nepal Army and police who are ensuring that every little valuable is rescued.
“We have been successful in rescuing all artefacts; some, however were broken due to the earthquake,” H.M. Shahi of the Nepal Army told IANS.
Suresh Manlakhe, an official at the Patan Museum, told IANS: “These artefacts date to the 17th century; saving them has been our foremost priority. We might not be able to restore them to their original form, but we will try to reuse them as best as we can.”
Pointing at the arteacts that are now safety stored in the museum complex, Manlakhe said: “Every single piece here is safe.. the count exceeds 10,000.”
The museum is housed in a courtyard within the complex of the Patan Durbar — one of the royal palaces of the former Malla kings of the Kathmandu Valley — in Lalitpur area here. The exhibits here give a peek into Nepal’s long cultural history. The Malla dynasty ruled from the 12th to the 18th century.
The complex also has many temples – some of which could not stand the 7.9 magnitude jolt that has killed over 7,500 people and displaced thousands. The complex also houses the Krishna Temple made of stone – which still stands erect.
Pointing at it, Manlakhe said: “This temple withstood the 1934 quake as well.”
Echoing this, Suhan Keshi, a guard at the durbar said that while the Char Narayan Mandir came down within 15 seconds of the quake occurring, the Krishna temple withstood it.
“It seemed like the entire area was being thrown up and down. I was sitting outside when this wave of destruction came. The Char Narayan temple went down and so did the Hari Shankar temple,” Keshi told IANS, while watching army soldiers clearing the rubble.
“All this destruction you see happened within seconds.. including the pagodas that have fallen off their base,” he said.
According to the authorities, the statue of king Yog Narendra Malla – one of the rulers of the Malla dynasty – sitting in a position of prayer atop a stone pillar – is also safe.
“Though the lower part of the statue has been flattened, the upper part remains intact,” Manlakhe said.
Asked if he feared such valuable artefacts would be looted, Mankhale said: “There is no such fear as the community has come together to guard the area.”
He, however, said that restoration would take time.
“It all depends on the funding…but before that our craftsmen too would take time before they resume work. They have also suffered losses because of the quake..even they need time to restore and rebuild their houses,” he smiled. (IANS)