Nepali craftsmen and artists with expertise in traditional art and architecture have called for urgent action to recover and restore the cultural heritage and ancient monuments of the Kathmandu Valley devastated by the 7.9 magnitude earthquake on April 25.
Various artists and craftsman, engaged in various forms of traditional artworks including wood carvings, stone sculpture and carvings, wall paintings, are planning a recovery process of the destroyed monuments, including documentation on destroyed monuments and protection of recovered valuable pieces from the earthquake-hit sites.
Raj Kumar Shakya, a senior artist associated with Sumeru Art Village–a community of over three hundred of the best artisans working in the Valley–said that the group had already begun consultations on rebuilding and
restoring of the damaged cultural heritage and ancient monuments such as Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Durbar Square, Hanumandhoka Durbar Square, Swayambhunath, BouddhanathStupa and Changu Narayan temple.
“We have decided to organise orientation and training programmes both to the artists already engaged in this profession and newcomers who are interested in traditional artworks and architecture,” Shakya said, adding, “We have the expertise and knowledge on our traditional artworks and architecture. It is important for us to come together in rebuilding the lost culture and tradition.”
Cultural heritage and ancient monuments dating back to 4th century like two-tiered pagoda style Changu Narayan temple in Bhaktapur was among the five Unesco World Heritage Sites either destroyed or damaged in the earthquake.
“For an artist, it was difficult to see the ruins of damaged cultural sites and artworks. But we know we can rebuild it soon,” added Shakya.
Rohit Ranjitkar, chief of Kathmandu Valley Trust Preservation (KVTP), said that though the earthquake had severely damaged Valley’s cultural heritage and monument sites, the KVTP representatives along with the support of local communities and security personnel had helped salvage the valuable artifacts from the sites. “There are bricks, carved wooden structures, stone sculptures and many other valuable artworks that could be reused for restoration works in the coming days,” Ranjitkar said. “We have world-renowned artists with required know-how to help us rebuild the ancient monuments that were destroyed in the quake. I am sure we will accomplish it.”