“Good news” about Rebuilding Kasthamandap

The February 7, 2016 edition of the Nepali-language newspaper Annapurna Post carried the first-ever news story on the reconstruction plans for Kasthamandap.

Some salient details:

  • To be rebuild by the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), using the design, drawings, cost estimates and guidance of the Department of Archaeology (DofA)
  • Cost estimate: approximately USD 1.4 Million (NRS 154,200,000) over three years
  • To be made out of saal wood (Shorea robusta), the same material used in the original construction
  • “Fiber” (fiber-glass?) to be used in conjunction, to make the structure earthquake-proof
  • The Durham University team (involved in a recently-completed UNESCO-sponsored assessment of damage to heritage sites) has hinted that the original construction could be from the seventh century CE, which, if verified, would push back the date of construction to over 300 years, and squarely during the heydays of the Licchavi era. This is a sensational finding, if confirmed.

 

Some comments:

  • In general, this is very exciting news!
  • We commend the swiftness with which the DofA and KMC have created a plan, which was no doubt a challenge given Nepal’s current situation
  • More details on the design selection process and reconstruction plans would be welcome: may we suggest public sharing of these details in an online forum (official web-site/ blog) ?
  • A breakdown of the reconstruction budget, perhaps shared online, would be welcome
  • The use of fiber-glass is intriguing. Why not traditional wood reinforced (when only absolutely needed) with completely concealed metal?
  • We look forward to more announcements/ scholarly publications from UNESCO Professor Robin Coningham of Durham University about the tantalizing hints of an 700-800CE original construction date for Kasthamandap.
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