Hari Bhusal, chief at the Gorkha Durbar Herchaha Adda, the government office that oversees the maintenance of the historic palace, said the construction work of the outer periphery of Gorkha Durbar is at its final stage.
“Workers have been installing the roof of the four-storey palace since last month. The roof works will be completed within two weeks now,” Bhusal said.
Currently, 16 workers including craftsmen are busy installing the roof of the palace. “Some finishing touches will be done in the inner part of the palace after completing the roof works. It was important to complete roof installation to protect the artifacts and artwork inside the palace from monsoon rains,” said Bhusal.
The works related to inner plastering, construction of steps (elevation surface near the outer periphery of the palace’s wall) and reinstallation of some artifacts inside the palace are yet to be done. “The materials used by King Prithvi Narayan Shah and his throne among other artifacts will be set up as before,” said Bhusal.
The historic Gorkha Durbar was ravaged by the 2015 earthquakes. The reconstruction work was initiated by the Pachali Siwa JV Construction on December 17, 2017. As per the contract, the construction company should have completed the reconstruction work by mid-December 2019.
But the work was left incomplete and the construction company failed to meet the set deadline. The deadline was then extended by six months and then further until mid-December 2020.
According to Narayan Bohara, a technician at the Department of Archaeology, the contractor was given a contract extension, under the Public Procurement Regulation 2007, after being fined for missing the earlier deadlines.
The Pachali Siwa JV Construction was awarded the reconstruction project at Rs 43.7 million. The reconstruction of Kalika Temple and Rangamahal, which lie atop a narrow hill along with Gorkha Durbar, is yet to start. The earthquake had severely damaged both the structures situated on the Durbar premises.
Bhusal said the difficult topography makes it challenging to initiate simultaneous reconstruction works of all the structures. “We will soon start the reconstruction work of Kalika Temple,” said Bhusal.
The walls in the eastern and southern sides of Kalika Temple have developed cracks and the tiles in the roofs are damaged. Galvanised zinc sheets are being used to protect the temple from rains.
By Hariram Upreti in The Kathmandu Post – June 27, 2021