Kathmandu, February 28: Works to conserve and retrofit the Seto Machhindranath temple in Janabahal in Ward no. 35 of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) began here today with a Bhoomi Puja, a ground breaking ceremony.
The restoration of the historic temple in the heart of the city which was badly damaged in the 2015 earthquake is being carried out with the financial assistance from the Indian government worth Rs. 62.6 million.
Chief Executive Officer of the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) and Indian ambassador Vinay Mohan Kwatra jointly laid the foundation.
The restoration of Seto Machhindrantha is the first of 28 cultural heritage conservation projects being undertaken with a reconstruction grant of Rs. 5.8 billion committed by the Government of India.
All the 28 sites were identified by the Government of Nepal and both India and Nepal signed a Memorandum of Understanding in this regard in August 2017.
Speaking at the ceremony, CEO Gyewali said that the temple will be retrofitted by using traditional technology and construction material. Informing that the reconstruction and restoration of 465 archaeological heritage sites have completed, he said the works on rebuilding heritage sites under the Indian government assistance will be carried out soon.
Saying that Nepal’s heritage sites are the basis of long standing relations between the two countries, Indian ambassador Kwatra expressed satisfaction that India could help in restoring these important heritage sites.
Mayor of KMC Bidhya Sundar Shakya informed that the KMC has been assisting in restoring various heritage sites in the capital.
The Department of Archaeology is responsible for the design and monitoring of heritage reconstruction and retrofitting while the NRA’s Central Level Project Implementation Unit (Building) has the responsibility to rebuilding big heritage sites. These sites will be reconstructed and retrofitted as per the guidelines prescribed by the Ancient Monument Preservation Act.
The reconstruction works will be carried out by using traditional construction material and maintaining their originality, traditional importance and by keeping intact the local traditions, values and beliefs, according to Shyam Kishor Singh, Project Director of the CLPIU (Building).
It is believed that Seto Machhindranath temple was built in the 10th century during the Malla era. This is temple famous for social and religious harmony, as the devotees from both the Hindu and Bouddha religions worship here.
Secretary at the NRA Maniram Gelal and KMC Deputy Mayor Hari Prabha Khadgi were among those present at the ground breaking ceremony.