Monday, December 31, 2001

Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Heritage tour

By Razen Manandhar

Whenever one talks about the monument conservation in Nepal, he or she names Bhaktapur Durbar Square as a model — the way of protecting it and cashing benefit of conservation — all has set an example for the country itself.

When Henry Oldfield visited Nepal in 1880, Bhaktapur was "largest and most costly of any in Nipal." And Merry Slusser justly writes in her book —"For the moment, at least, Bhakpapur remains one of the remarkable treasures of the Kathmandu Valley — indeed, of the globe."

The indigenous settlements developed a city in Bhaktapur long before the Lichhivis came into power in the fifth century, the historians hypothesize, though, a few Lichhivi inscriptions and architectural remains have so far been frond from there. Still, we have names of ancients palaces like Tripura and Yuthunium, though we can’t locate where they might have stood in the mediaeval Bhaktapur.

Some historians believe that Bhaktapur is the oldest royal palace of the valley. Still, the oldest found inscription of 594 AD shows that it was a Drung (or big town) called Khopring (the city is still called Khwapa in the local Newar language).

Chronicle Gopalraj Banshavali states that King Ananda Dev established Bhaktapur state in 1146 AD. The predominantly Hindu state was developed in the 12th century and different kings, who came to Bhaktapur’s throne after it became a separate state of the valley in 1482 AD. By the 15th century, the state of Bhaktapur was surrounded by strong walls and moats to secure it from unfriendly neighbours (the wall and city boundary have disappeared). It is "traditionally" divided into two parts — upper and lower — that can be traced in the annual festival of Bisket Jatra even today.

The last three kings Jitamitra Malla, Bhupatindra Malla and Ranajita Malla (1673-1769 AD) were among the kings who contributed the most to decorate the royal square, which we see today.

Not only the palace area, but the whole of the city is full of midaeval temples and residential houses. The stone or brick-paved streets, brick-made houses and temples — all equally decorated with smooth bricks, tiled roofs, carved windows and doors, wooden struts or columns with designs of deities and animals and topped with gilded pinnacles.

Today, the fifty-five window palace is the centre of the protected monument zone. The main palace used to stand elegantly with 99 courtyards but now it has only half a dozen to possess. Mulchowk (supposedly the oldest remaining part of the palace), Bhairav Chowk, Ita Chowk, malati Chowk, Siddhi Chowk, Kumari Chowk are some of them.

After undergoing numerous stages of renovations, it still represents the complicated and miraculous Newari architecture and excellent wood carving, and extraordinary wall paintings. However, it has lost its original spectacle after it was restored following the collapse during the earthquake of 1934. The palace is waiting for renovation and the locals say dirty games among the contractors is the reason behind the delay.

The Yakhseshwor Temple, the Statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, Golden Gate, Taleju Temple, The Golden Spout, The Big Bell, Chyasilin Mandap, Siddhi Laxmi Temple, Vatsala Templeand Chaturbramha Mahavihar are the major monuments at the Bhaktapur Durbar Square.

Along with this we cannot neglect other landmark monuments which lie outside the Durbar Square. These include Nyatapola Temple, Bhairavnath Temple, Dattatraya Temple, Bhimsen Temple, Salan Ganesh Temple, Tekhacho Barahi Temple, Wakupati Narayan Temple, Chhuma Ganesh Temple, Nawadurga Temple, Rudrayani Temple, Mahalaxmi Temple, Hanuman Temple and Kamal Binayak Temple. Apart from that, the Peakock Window and Tucchimala Terracota Window and Talako Potter Square are other spectacles of the historic city.

Lokeshwor Mahavihar, Jyetvarna Mahavihar, Akandasheel Mahavihar, Lumbavarna Mahavihar, Mangal Dharma Mahavihar, Indravarna Mahavihar, Dhimottar Mahavihar, Adipadma Mahavihar, Bishow Mahavihar, Parasannashil Mahavihar, Dipankar Mahavihar, Manjuvarna Mahavihar, Yangalvarna Mahavihar, Chaurvarna Mahavihar, Jetvanr Mahavihar (Tekhacho), Jaya Kirti Mahavihar, Sukravarna Mahavihar, Sukravarna Mahavihar (Kwachukhusi) and Tom Baha are all indispensable parts of the cultural heritage of the city of Bhaktapur.

In the Durwar Square itself, three separate museums, for paintings (in the main palace wing), metal-craft (Chikamapa Math) and woodcraft (in Pujari Math) are allocated.

The efforts of the Bhaktapur Municipality in conservation of the cultural heritage is always appreciable. Kamal Binayak Pond, Bahare Pond, Bharwacho Gate, Jagannath Temple, Shiva Parvati Temple, Chhuma Ganesh Temple, Chaurabahi Monstery and other renovations are some major projects the municipality carried out last year. Of course, the much-criticised entrance fee is the bedrock of the renovations. The only demand the citizens have is that the renovation should not be only toursm promotion-centred, all the city should benefit from the money, not only the streets whey the tourists walk around.

Thursday, December 27, 2001

Maitighar corner to get exotic look with mandala, stupa and water spouts

By Razen Manandhar

KATHMANDU, Dec. 26 – The traditional artisans of the Valley’s Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts have always been competing with each other in their field since ages. But, for the first time, they are joining hands to create an artistic structure to replace the concrete structures at the Maitighar junction.

About two dozen artisans from around the Valley are working day and night to finish this traditional structure to decorate the two-ropani-land at Maitighar, which has just been cleared for the preparation of the upcoming SAARC Summit.

Kathmandu Metropolitan City is working on a war footing to construct an eye-catching landscape with a 64X64 feet Astamangala Mandala, a Stupa and traditional Dhunge Dhara (waterspout), giving a luxurious look to the corner.

"We are doing our best to complete this project before the SAARC Summit," said Padma Sundar Joshi, co-director of Kathmandu Valley Mapping Project of KMC. "And I believe, it will be completed by that time."

The project team is also thinking of constructing a view tower nearby, as the beauty of the colourful Mandala will not be seen from the surface.

According to the technicians of Astra Development Network Pvt Ltd, the oval-shaped land which lies in the middle of the corner will have a Mandala on a dome in south west, a set of three water spouts in south-east and a stupa on a hillock in North.

A dozen of technicians are making the base for the Mandala with around 14,000 kg of iron at Radha Structure and Engineering Works (RSEW) at Thimi, Bhaktapur.

"We have never done such a huge and artistic job before," said Ghanshyam Poudel, the technical director of (RSEW). "But most of the things will be completed within a week."

He said KMC provided them a small drawing of the Mandala, out of which they produced a 100 per cent drawing with computer and the workers made fragments of iron rods from the drawing. "First we tried a one-eight portion of the whole Mandala on elevated surface and started working on the whole thing."

Now the portion of eight auspicious signs, "Astamangala", is being made in the factory but the cost of the whole project is yet to be estimated.

Chief of the KMC’s Public Works Department Jyoti Bhushan Pradhan said that after the iron base is placed on the surface, it will be filled with coloured materials on every chamber, divided by the iron rods. "It is just like making the traditional Mandala in religious occasions," he said. "The only different is that we are not using colour powder but something that will not be blown away with wind."

Artist Lok Raj Bajracharya and his sons at Gwarko of Lalitpur have already completed the construction of a five and a half feet high Stupa with four Dhyani Buddhas.

"As the KMC came here with the proposal a bit late, we will not be able to complete the water spouts before SAARC Summit," said Bajracharya. "But we have ready-made water spouts which will be temporarily fixed at the site."
[Kathmandu Thursday December 27, 2001 Paush 12, 2058.]

Monday, December 24, 2001

Swayambhu hill monument zone

Heritage Tour

By Razen Manandhar

The holy hill of Swayambhu at the north east of Kathmandu City is considered to be older than the valley itself. The origin of the heterogeneous collection of art and architecture, that kept on developing on its own for at least 1500 years, is associated with legends of origin of the Valley. Legends aside, it is a piece of legacy for the whole country and one among the best of the Stupa architectures of the world.

Buddhist hand-written books has adored it with different names like Goshringha, Gopuchha, Bjarakut, Padmagiri and it is popularly known among the Newar community as the Shyegu hill.

The 50 square-metre-big Swayambhu stupa (with idols of Akshobhya Buddha, Vairochan Buddha, Mmaki Tara, Ratnasambhava Buddha, Padmapani Tara, Amitabha Buddha, Arya Tara, Amoghsiddi Buiddha and Sapta Lochani Tara) is the principal monument in the zone. The golden Bajra, Anantapur, Basupura, Bayupura, Harati or Ajima Temple, Buddhism Museum, Gyanmala Sattal, Devdharma Monastery, Karmaraja Monastery, Mangal Bahudwara Chaitya, Nagpura, Pratappura, cluster of Chaityas, Standing Buddha, Agnipura, Abalokiteshwor, Shantipur are other monuments on the top of the hill. And there is Mahamanjusri Temple, Old Swayambhu Stupa etc surround the main temple hill.

The Buddhists believe, thousands of years ago, when the whole valley was a lake, a legendary scholar Mahamanjushi came from China, send the water out a gorge in Chovar and developed the valley as a centre of civilization. According to religious books, the credit of creating Swayambhu goes to the Buddhas who were born thousands of years earlier than Sakyamuni Buddha was born in Lumbini. Bipashwi Buddha planted a lotus on which a "thousand-petalled" lotus emerged.. It later developed five colours, which then turned into five Dhyani Buddhas. Other Buddhas like Shikhi, Bishombhu, Krakuchhanda also visited the hill and paid homage to it. A King Prachanda Dev is said to be the first constructor of the stupa of Swayambhu and other major monuments around it.

According to the Gopalraj Banshavali, the oldest ever found chronicle, it was Brishdev, who constructed the stupa of Swayambhu for the first time. The oldest inscription found there is of King Mandev, the Licchibi king of 5th century AD. All we can say is that the hill and the stupa became a place pilgrimage, Buddhist learning centre and a altar of Buddhist creed, mainly of Mahayana sect as early as 11th century.

In the course of time, the stupa of Swayambhu had to undergo numerous incidents that destroyed and distorted its original beauty. Some, who renovated the main stupa or added new monuments in the vicinity included, King Shiv Singh Malla, King Pratap Malla, King Parthivendra, King Bhashkar Malla and others. Later, King Ranabhadur Shah, King Girban Yuddha Bikram Shah and King Rajendra Bikram Shah also continued the glorious tradition of the Malla kings. Even Ananta Jiv Bharo, Abhay Singh Bharo and others, from the public contributed for renovation of the stupa. The traditional artists and their skill did amazing task to keep the sucha a huge pile of mud and brick intact for hundreds of years on a top of a hill which has its forest thinning year by year. The tradition, still alive, either beautify the monument or blemish the ancient monument.

The birthday of Lord Buddha is the main festival of Swayambhu. And, the Gunla (August-Septempber) is the month-long festival when thousands of pilgrims attend the stupa and scores of musical troupes play special drum called dhaa. Once in a 12 years, an exceptional Samyak-mahapuja takes place which is graced by His Majesty King also.

But, it is disappointing that the original shape and architecture of Swayambhu is being lost mainly in last several years. After being enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a Swayambhunath Conservation Masterplan (Swayambhu 2000) was recognised by the government in 1989 that was supposed to be complete by the year 2002. The masterplan suggested the government to demolish dozens of eyesore structures and to restrict any new construction.

However, the government has not demolished a single building. Instead, new concrete buildings, Mane-gumbas ae being constructed along with serious encroachment of public land. Similarly, the whole hill is being covered by piles of garbage. Only one of two traditional building recently got facelift in last several years.

The holy hill is not in need of money for renovation. A German project that provided assistance for renovation of Swayambhu stopped giving money because it is has enough to self dependant. As other monuments, Swayambhu also charged entrance fee from the visitors but it still lacks fasilities. A ridiculuous fight took place between the federation of "religious" bodies and the municipality when the latter tried to manage the money collected from entrance fee.

This is going to affect the whole valley in near future. The reputation the valley gained after being recognised as a World Heritage Site will be lost if UNESCO delists it in the coming general convention in 2002.

With ‘useless’ committees dissolved, Lumbini lies abandoned

By Razen Manandhar

KATHMANDU, Dec 23 - The renovation work at Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha and a 2500-year-old archaeological site, has run into troubled waters after the committees formed to oversee the work were dissolved a month ago.

With no monitoring body around, all restoration work at the Temple of Mayadevi and surrounding areas have come to a standstill in Lumbini, one of UNESCO’s four World Heritage Sites in the country.

On November 23, the Minster for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Bal Bahadur KC, dissolved the eight voluntary organizations set up to renovate the temple of Mayadevi, calling them "useless", say officials at the Lumbini Development Trust (LDT), the authority in charge of development plans for Lumbini which has the Culture Minister himself as Chairman.

"It’s only in the newspaper that we read about the dissolution of the committees, we have not yet received any such formal notification," says Professor Sudarshan Raj Tiwari, the coordinator of the LDT’s Technical Committee.

Professor Tiwari says the voluntary committees formed seven months ago were a remarkable achievement of the LDT, one that could rope in professionals to work selflessly towards the upkeep of Lumbini.

Special plans for Lumbini were mooted back in the 1967, when the then UN General Secretary U Thant put forth the idea of Lumbini as an international centre for peace. By 1978, a Japanese Professor, Kenzo Tange, had come up with a master plan that covered 1150 bighas of land divided into three zones: for a garden, monasteries and a research centre. But nothing exceptional has taken place in more than two decades.

Nabin Chitrakar, Chairman of one dissolved committee which was looking after promotional aspects, says that Lumbini has now been deserted after many worked for their "personal benefits". He says millions of dollars might have been spent on studying various aspects related to the development of Lumbini. The kind of money that came by way of international donations is incalculable, says Chitrakar.

"Till now, there have been 20 major studies on Lumbini and 22 bank accounts in its name but we don’t even know where they are," he added.

Chitrakar says after Nepal entered an agreement with the Japanese government that a Japanese Buddhist Federation would fund the renovation of Lumbini, a series of problems cropped up as governments kept changing every other year, and there was no communication between the Federation and the Nepali government.

"One after another glamorous plans poured in—from Nepali as well as foreign designers—to beautify the shrine. Each tried to outdo the other, while the politicians and the so-called Buddhists scholars made lots of profit out of the ruins," says Chitrakar.

The sacred garden where Lord Buddha was born 2545 years ago has indeed been subjected to all kinds of renovation ideas. Such as covering the birth marker stone with bullet-proof glass, covering the whole archaeological area with a special rectangular or square tent, and constructing a gold-roofed temple.

Chitrakar also accuses the international experts who "dropped in at the site" as hampering the renovation process. He says an authorized technician from Japan was responsible for delaying the development plans by many years because he never got to submitting the technical report.

Former treasurer of LDT and a member of the Upper House, Laxmi Das Manandhar, says none of the politicians have been sincere in seeing through the restoration work on the temple of Mayadevi, and all that they have done is to hold seminars.

"The LDT does nothing more than making and breaking committees. It should at least do something for the idol of Mayadevi, which has been lying in a cow-shed-like hut for the last five years. Even the pilgrims don’t want to go there," says Manandhar. "The permanent temple might take another decade to complete. But by this time, a temporary temple could have been erected."

The voluntary committees that have been dissolved are: the National and International Coordination Committee; Economic Management Committee; Recruitment Committee; Archaeological Conservation, Research and University Establishment Committee; Promotion Committee; Technical Committee; Employee Security Committee, and the Mayadevi Temple Renovation.

LDT Vice-Chairman Omkar Prasad Gauchan says these bodies have been dissolved for "Lumbini to have a new beginning".

Millions of Buddhists and all those who respect heritage sites, can only hope that it indeed is true.

Saturday, December 22, 2001

In the thick concrete jungle, wood is dead

By Razen Manandhar

KATHMANDU, Dec 21 – Nepal might be a country known for its forest wealth, stretching from the east to the west, but it is seldom these days that people build houses using wood. One of the reasons they give is that timber is more expensive than concrete, cement and iron rods.

Devendra Dangol, the chief of Urban Development Department of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, says that out of the over 3,200 houses being built in the capital presently, over 90 per cent are using concrete as the base material.

"The house owners feel proud to have a dhalan (concrete) house. I don’t know whether it is necessary at all, but all the masons and consumers seem to prefer using concrete to wood and other local materials for building houses," says Dangol.

Architect Sharosh Pradhan of SP and Associates says he does not use timber in his construction work because it is too costly. "When we suggest timber for structural use such as beams and columns, the cost gets doubled," he says.

Quality timber is available in the market at prices ranging from Rs 250 to Rs 1000 per cubic feet.

According to workers at the Timber Corporation of Nepal (TCN), the price of timber grows not because of its scarcity or rising demand but because of the bureaucrats and the "commission game" that has been going on for decades in the TCN and other related government bodies.

"The dealers, whether private or government staff, have to pay a specific price to the government as royalty, which is actually very low. Then different parties claim the contract to cut timber at a particular area. For this, these parties have to bribe the officers. In the long process of passing from one contractor to another, the price of timber increases," said a TCN employee. He also added that the government could earn as much as Rs 440 million from the unused timber lying around in different parts of the country.

But Professor Sudarshan Raj Tiwari, the former Dean of the Engineering Faculty at the Tribhuvan University, says the low use of timber has also got to do with the fact that increasingly, the architects are in favour of concrete buildings.

"Most of them have studied in Western countries and are taught about using new materials for building houses. They love to experiment with what they have been taught, and there is a tendency to show off as ‘foreign-returned’," says the Professor.

"Concrete structures are not necessary for small houses. Wood is strong enough for a house of 3-4 floors, and we are indeed rich in wood resources," he says.

Programme Manager of WWF, Ukesh Raj Bhuju, says there are both positive and negative sides in the case of using either wood or cement for house constructions. "We need to cut trees to build wooden houses, and in the case of concrete, we have to put up with smoke of cement factories," says Bhuju.

The general thinking is that hard wood such as Sal are expensive or difficult to procure. But the fact is the government has quite a big quantity of wood lying chopped in jungles or timber depots unsold.

Harishankar Shrestha, the General Manager of Timber Corporation of Nepal, says there are choices of wood, and clients can reduce the cost by 50 per cent if they choose "second class" wood which is "not bad" for buildings.

The Joint Secretary at the Ministry for Forest and Soil Conservation and Spokesman Uday Raj Sharma also says that scarcity of timber is not the reason for the mushrooming of concrete houses. "Millions of cubic feet of timber are decaying in the jungles and in the depots of TCN. There must be some other reason for people not using timber these days," says Sharma.

A recent report, Forest Resources of Nepal (1087-1998), states that the country has a wealth of 108 million cubic feet of Sal trees, the most preferred species of wood for strong structures and the one which has the largest reserve among the eight types of "economic class" trees.
[Kathmandu Saturday December 22, 2001 Paush 07, 2058.]

Monday, December 10, 2001

Temple complex of Lord Pashupatinath

Heritage Tour

Razen Manandhar
Since thousands of years, the 264-hecate-big complex of Lord Pashupatinath temple by the bank of holy river Bagmati, which shelters around 500 Hindu temples, and also residences of the a thousand or so local people related, have been the centre of creed. Beside being the prime centre of devotion for the Hindus of the Himalayan Kingdom, it has been one of the most adored pilgrimage for the Hindus of India too.

A popular legend has it that a gifted cow used to drizzle milk on a particular knoll by the Bagmati River, on the first step of flourishing of civilization in the Kathmandu Valley thousands of years ago. That was the time when cow herdsmen ruled the valley. One among them became quite curious about the knoll and he dug the place one day, just to discover a "like-a-light" idol of Lord Pashupatinath. The historical cronicles atest that the form of the linga, as the idol, have came into existance in as early as by the begining of the 5th century. However, the present one should not be older than that of 1350 AD as that was the year when a Muslim invader shattered the holy idol into pieces.

After that most of the kings who ruled the country in the past paid homage to the Lord and either re-constructed the prime temple or added individual temples to beautify the complex.

The temple is one among the seven major monument zones that makes the Kathmandu Valley a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Apart from the main shrine, the temples of Basuki, Unmatta Bhairav, Kotilingeshwar and some other are inside the temple courtyard. Guheshowri, Vishowrup, Gorakhanath, Ram, Kirateshwar, Rajrajeshowri, Batsaleshowri, Panchadeval, Bankali and Shitala lie around the holy shrine. And the temples of Battais Putali, Jaya Bageshowri, Charumati Bihar, Chabahil Lokeshowr, Chabahil Stupa, Chandra Vinayak, Bhandareshowr Mahadev, Tamreshowr Mahadev are some among other major shrines of the protected monument zone.

The Pashupatinath Temple area is an abode of rituals and festivals around the calendar. Mahashivaratri is the most widely celebrated festival in the Pashupatinath area. Balachaturdashi, Haritalika Teej, Haribodhini Ekadashi, Harishayani Ekadashi and Mukhastami are some of the local festivals.

A committee was formed in 1977 for the development of the holy area and Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) was founded in 1986 to launch and integrated development of the whole area. A Bagmati Area Development Project is spending quite a lot of money to clean the river that flows along the temple area. There are over 200 youth clubs and social organisations are working in the Pashupati area development. Quite a big number of people, including some well-known industrialists have come up with enthusiastic proposals to improve the area.

But almost all have cooled down before the dreams are materialised. The 15 years old state-funded Trust is still selling the dreams and other clubs are juut dormant. The real status of the prominent Hindu shrine of the Hindu State that lies in the centre of the capital city comes under the leaders’ notice only when their close relatives die and they have to sit there for an hour. Then it can not be unusual that their sentimental proclamation to develop the area dries as the monsoon passes.

The PADT has started collecting entrance fee from the tourists several months ago but any remarkable improvement is yet to be seen. There are scores of temples waiting for restoration, some lucky ones were also granted with too slow projects. The security in the archaeological area is almost nil. News of art theft are on the rise. The Trust plans to improve the area by chasing away the local people, who in fact are a part of the living heritage of the temple area. Thy are not allowed renovating their houses and a nightmare of being dislocated haunts them every night. Illegal construction around the area are going on. Even the monkeys and oxen have been victim of the deteriorating environment. The queue of beggars, hawkers, drug-abusers and pseudo-jogis are what today feature the holy area. Under this circumstances, the holy region which is also a major heritage site too, needs more sincere hands to protect and preserve it.

Friday, December 07, 2001

Patan Durbar Square

Heritage Tour

By Razen Manandhar

Asmall but rich in uniqueness city lies just six kilometres south of the capital. The city of Patan or Lalitpur, named Yala in local language, was a separate state three hundred years ago and the kings ruled from the Patan Durbar Roayl Palace till Nepal was conquered by King Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1769.

The Patan Durbar Square is called Chaukot Durbar and Mangal Bazaar, which is derived from Manigla or Manigvala, the ancient name of the palace. It is no less significant than that of the Hanumandhoka of Kathmandu though it is smaller in spatial distribution.

Probably there had been a administrative office by the 7th century as the King Narendra Dev had addressed the area as Yupa Grama in his writing. A chronicle adds that a 11th century king Bara Dev started living in the palace as his father abandoned the throne. Similarly, contexts that King Rudra Dev constructed different courtyards in the palace by 1170 AD but lacks strong conformations.

On the foundation of chronicles, what today is seen there is mostly the creation of three of the prominent kings of the state of Patan King Siddhinarasimha Malla, Sri Nivas Malla and Yog Narendra Malla in 1619 to 1705 AD.

The present status of the Durbar Square has three courtyards - Mani Keshar Chowk, Mul Chowk, Sundari Chowk, the Bhandarkhal Garden and Kamal Pokhari in its complex.

The major temples can be found in and around the palace are : Bhai Degaa, Maharani Pokhari, Octagonal Krishna Temple, Shiva Pagoda, Hari Shankar Temple, Shiva Temple, Narshimha-Vishnu Temple, Jagat Narayan Temple, Krishna Temple, Vishwonath Temple, Bhimsen Temple, Mani Ganesh Temple, Degutale Temple, Taleju Temple, Shiva Pagoda, Ganesh idol, Hanuman idol and Hanuman idol.

The Big bell, Statue column of King Yognarendra Malla, Statue column of Garuda, Mangal Water spout are also the parts of the complex. Besides, the public building of Taha Phalcha, Aayoo Guthi House and the platform of Mani Mandap also have their significance being the public places which shows the cultural proximity the palace permits to the public.

The Patan Museum is sophisticated but it also stands as an example of the intrusion of the foreign technology in conservation of the archaeological monuments. Many archaeologists objected in the form the conservationist gave to the inner courtyard of the Keshav Narayan Chowk.

Further, Shiva Pagoda Temple, Temples of Saugal, Ibahabahil, Machendranath, Minnath, Purnachandi, Kwalakhu area, Hiranya Varna Mahavihar, Kumbheshwor, Chapat Ganesh Rudra Varna Mahavihar and Mahaboudha Temple are some other temples which are close to the historic palace and they all combine to make the Durbar Square a zone of UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But though, this Durbar Square is waiting for conservation. Shops for modern appliances are rented in the Durbar Square and a rows of curio shops, squat upon the main area. One side of the palace is used as a school whereas the other side is left idle, after using it as a district court. The precious doors and windows are decaying and the local Royal Palace Protection Office, a section of Department of Archaeology is waiting for budget to renovate the heritage zone. The masterpiece Tusaa Hiti or Sundari Chowk is closed for several years afer a constly documentation, in the pretext that some international agency would come and renovate it for our sake.

Lalitpur Sub-metropolitan City started levying entrance fee from the tourists in Janaury 2000. Out of the money, it has recently stated renovating several temples outside the palace. But Department of Archaeology is yet to show its existence in the World Heritage Site. The modern buildings are rising in the vicinity against the Protected Monument Zone Act. The whole complex is standing without a single security personal to safeguard the mass of priceless monuments.

Amazingly, it is one of the most favoured platform for the Cummunist leaders to hold mass meeings. Even the radicals, who show their existance by dismantling historic temples in remote districts, choose the velnerable zone to hoist cycle-and-hammer flag on temples being renovated.

"In 1997 work on heritage conservation plan for Patan began with funding from the German Technical Corporation (GTZ) under its Urban Development through Local Efforts programme. Its publication, Patan heritage Conservation Action Plan, 1998, was prepared by Sandy Kentro Associates. This provides detailed suggestions for strategic, physical, and managerial planning with significant inputs also from the Department of Archaeology, but fails to relate its own recommendations to the historical background of earlier planning proposals for the Patan World Heritage Monument Zone," states an evaluation report of International Safeguarding Campaign for the Kathmandu Valley 1979-2001.