By Indira Aryal Bhaktapur, Aug. 9: After the devastating earthquake in 2015, the cultural and historical sites of Madhyapur Thimi are quietly getting a facelift thanks to the efforts of the local body in the reconstruction of archaeological and historical heritages. This area had always remained under the shadow of the more famous medieval attractions in Bhaktapur. Conservation of many of Madhyapur Thimi’s heritages had also been neglected for the past three decades. Various archaeologically-important temples, monasteries, rest houses and palaces in Madhyapur Thimi lay in dilapidated condition and some of them had been in complete ruins for decades. But now, when visiting this city, one can witness renovation and reconstruction works bringing moribund monuments back to life. Many structures are being repaired and rebuilt but they still wear the quintessential traditional look. All this is being done under the master plan for the renovation, preservation and promotion of historical and cultural monuments devised by the Madhyapur Thimi Municipality wherein it has identified such sites and is moving ahead for their protection. Mayor Madan Sundar Shrestha said that the municipality was all set to implement a ‘cultural master plan’ to protect tangible and intangible heritages of the city. He said that he was working seriously towards the protection and restoration of historical monuments in the area and informed that all works were being carried out with the help of the locals reflecting the old technology and style. The result of this effort has been a rejuvenation of the cultural spirit of Madhyapur Thimi so much so that even locals can feel the changes in their vicinity. Resident Chandra Krishna Prajapati, 60, calls the changes remarkable. “The temples, the twin ponds (Dui Pokhari) and the surroundings are neat and clean. This was not the situation around 10-15 years ago.” The changes in this traditional city are also for attracting tourists and changing the narrative about ‘visiting Bhaktapur’ to mean visiting Madhyapur Thimi too. Mayor Shrestha explained, “Many people believe that visiting Bhaktapur means only going to the Durbar Square area. But there are many other monuments, cultural sites and heritages on the way to Bhaktapur, too, and anyone can drop by the Madhyapur area to explore the clean and attractive surroundings.” “People are also taking an interest in the municipality’s role in the restoration of Madhyapur’s
heritages that were destroyed and could not be preserved before the 2015 earthquake. They feel it is for the benefit of future generations,” Shrestha said. Till now, the municipality has constructed Shankhadhar Park, Balkumari Temple, Bishnu Kunda, Twin Ponds, Living Museum, Siddhikali Temple, Buddhist Monastery, and local wells. Works on reviving other ponds are also in full swing. “We have allocated Rs. 330 million in the current fiscal year for reconstruction, conservation and protection of monuments, historical heritages and temples. Around Rs. 180 million was spent last year for this purpose,” he said. The Mayor informed that the lead taken by people’s representatives at the local level had been instrumental in maintaining the originality of the significant heritages.