Kathmandu, May 3 (IANS): Ninety percent of the ancient heritage of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur has been damaged in last week’s devastating earthquake and it will take at least seven to 10 years to rebuild it, according to Nepal’s Department of Archaeology.
These ancient heritage sites and monuments were major attractions of the three cities with classic architecture and rare style, holding historic importance.
Known as the city of temples, Kathmandu lost its old glory like the century-old Basantapur Durbar and nine-storey Darahara tower. Several religious places like Pashupati Nath temple premises and Swayambhunath area also suffered damage.
Old monuments, temples and heritage structures in Durbar Suqares in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur, where the kings in ancient times used to live, were either destroyed or partially damaged.
Director General of Department of Archaeology Bhesh Narayan Dahal said that dozens of temples and palaces were destroyed in the quake.
“We lost the glory of Kathmandu Valley built by our ancestors,” he said, adding that the department has started identifying the status of all monuments, heritage sites, temples and other ancient architecture and to mark them.
Similar damage may have taken place outside Kathmandu and that is why “we have already sent a fact finding team to various districts,” he added.
Though the department has concluded that 90 percent of Kathmandu’s ancient heritage has been destroyed or damaged, it has not yet ascertained how much will it cost to rebuild it.
Some heritage buildings and monuments need immediate repair as they pose threat to people and there are chances of losing all glory if they collapsed, he said.
Some countries like India and aid agencies have expressed their desire to rebuild Nepal’s heritage, but the government is yet to accept the offer.
Over 100 such ancient structures in some old settlements of Kathmandu like Tokha and Shakhu have suffered huge damage.
Ancient art, culture and tradition can be found alive in and around these heritage sites and ancient settlements of indigenous Newar community, which is a dominant population of Kathmandu.