Wednesday, 19 June, 2024

Thimi undergoes exemplary heritage restoration


By Indira Aryal
Bhaktapur, Aug. 7: The cultural and historical sites of Madhyapur Thimi Municipality in Bhaktapur district have witnessed significant facelifts and renovations over the last four years. The efforts made by the local body in the reconstruction of archaeological and historical heritage are remarkable.

The newly reconstructed and renovated ponds, temples, pati-pauwas (resting places) and old durbars stand in their renewed glory adding to the beauty of Madhyapur Thimi. After being neglected for over three decades, these cultural gems have been restored to their former grandeur thanks to the relentless efforts from the local government and public participation.
A few years back, Madhyapur Thimi was in a sorry state with crumbling old structures, most of which lay in complete ruins.

Now, the municipality has started excavating, renovating and rebuilding ponds and filling them with water, which has been a plus point for both the internal and external tourists.
Similarly, the municipality has removed the iron bars that fenced the famous and historical Balkumari, Kumari and Lokeshwar temples, which were placed a few years ago to curb increasing theft. Dhime Baja, Dhime Khal, Puchah, Tongue Piercing Jatra, Rath Puja, which are essential parts of the Municipality, have also been preserved, claimed Mayor of the Municipality Madan Sundar Shrestha.
All such preservation attempts are being carried out under the master plan for the renovation, and promotion of historical and cultural monuments devised by the Municipality. The Municipality has identified sites, which require preservation and renovation and has been rebuilding structures accordingly."

Mayor Shrestha said that the municipality is all set to implement a ‘cultural master plan’ to protect the tangible and intangible heritage of the city. “We are working seriously towards the protection and restoration of
historical monuments in the area. All works are being carried out with the help of the locals using old technology and building methods so that we don’t compromise the original style of the historical sites,” he added.
The result of this effort has been a rejuvenation of the cultural spirit of Madhyapur Thimi so much so that even locals have started witnessing changes in their vicinity.
Local Rupesh Shrestha calls these changes remarkable. “The temples, the twin ponds (Dui Pokhari) and the surroundings are neat and clean. The changes in this traditional city are also for attracting tourists and changing the narrative about ‘visiting Bhaktapur’ to mean visiting Madhyapur Thimi as well,” he explained.

Heritage sites that were destroyed and could not be preserved before the 2015 earthquake are now getting a new lease of life, Shrestha said. Mayor Shrestha explained, “Many people believe that visiting Bhaktapur means only going to the Durbar Square area. But there are many other monuments, cultural and heritage sites on the way to Bhaktapur, too, and anyone can drop by the Madhyapur area to explore the clean and attractive surroundings.”
So far, the Municipality has constructed Shankhadhar Park, Balkumari Temple, Bishnu Kunda, Twin Ponds, Living Museum, Siddhikali Temple, Buddhist Monastery, and local wells. Work on reviving other ponds is also in full swing.

According to Mayor Shrestha, seven out 15 ponds have been renovated, 37 out of 49 falchas have been reconstructed while six out of 13 parks have been upgraded. The remaining work will be completed within this fiscal year, he said. A total of Rs. 750 million has been spent on the reconstruction, conservation and protection of monuments, historical heritages and temples.
“We have allocated Rs. 330 million in the current fiscal year for this purpose. Around Rs. 180 million was spent last year alone,” he said.
The Mayor informed that the lead taken by people’s representatives at the local level has been instrumental in maintaining the originality of the invaluable heritages.