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.]