Wednesday January 24, 2018

Heritage lost: UNESCO battles looters at Swayambhunath temple in Nepal

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Image: The Associated Press
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By NewsGram Staff Writer

At the heart of Swayambhunath temple in Nepal, the iconic central stupa still stands firm at the hill top, but the ancient structures inside this famous Buddhist shrine have turned into debris. The United Nations has sent a team on a rescue mission to prevent the looting of artifacts from this World Heritage Site.

The seven-member UNESCO team is assessing the damage, with priority being given to keep a check on looting of artifacts from the destroyed site. “We are doing an inventory of stones and terracotta objects that have crumbled due to the earthquake. The first concern for us is to prevent the objects from looting and for this we are trying to get keys of one of the stores at the temple so that we can store these objects,” David Andolfatto, UNESCO consultant, told a news agency.

Image: The Associated Press
Image: The Associated Press

“Right now we are not thinking of restoration because for that we need money and restoration can be done only when we have rescued the objects. At the moment, we are doing the rescue work,” he added.

Swayambhunath Temple is also called as Monkey Temple and it is one of the ancient sites where both the Hindus and Buddhists worship together.

According to UNESCO, there are seven monument zones in Kathmandu, which include three Durbar squares in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan, and four religious sites: Swayambhunath and Bauddhanath and Hindu temple complexes at Pashupatinath and Changu.

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Facts about Indian Railways you can’t miss

India proudly boasts of world's largest railway network. Not only that, but the India railways itself can boast as the biggest employer in the India. 

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Facts about Indian Railways you shouldn't miss. Wikimedia Common
Facts about Indian Railways you shouldn't miss. Wikimedia Common

India proudly boasts of world’s largest railway network. Not only that, but the India railways itself can boast as the biggest employer in India.

Railways is a major part of India, not only because of its importance as a means of transportation but also because of its political and economic significance.

Here are some interesting facts about Indian Railways which might surprise you :

  • The New Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express is the fastest train in India. The train runs at an average speed of 91 kmph and touches a top speed of 150 kmph on the 195 km Delhi-Agra stretch. The Nilgiri Express with an average speed of 10 kmph is said to be India’s slowest train.
Indian Railways is one of the most important and controversial transport in India. Wikimedia Commons
Indian Railways is one of the most important and controversial transports in India. Wikimedia Commons
  •  Indian Railways-owned the longest railway platform in the world at Kharagpur with a length of 2,733 feet. Now, breaking the record, Gorakhpur station has recently taken its place with a length of 4,430 feet.
  • Two historical railway elements are included in the UNESCO’ World Heritage site list – the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, and the Indian Mountain Railways.The Indian Mountain Railways includes three railways – the Darjeeling Himalayan Railways, Nilgiri Mountain Railways and Kalka Shimla Railway. All three trains have been functional for some 100 years. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is famous for its classic fusion of Gothic art with Indian architecture.
Indian Railways is on UNESCO list too. Wikimedia Commons.
Indian Railways is on UNESCO list too. Wikimedia Commons.
  • The Vivek Express (Dibrugarh to Kanyakumari) travels the longest distance of 4273 km. The shortest run is taken by a few scheduled services between Nagpur and Ajni – a total of 3 kms.
  • Mathura junction has the maximum number of routes emerging from it. The 7 of them include – Broad Gauge (BG) line to Agra Cantt, BG line to Bharatpur, BG line to Alwar, BG line to Delhi, Metre Gauge (MG) line to Achnera, MG line to Vrindavan and MG line to Hathras.
  • The railways function on a high operating ratio of 94%, that is, it spends 94 paise on every rupee that it earns.
  • The mascot for Indian Railways is Bholuor Bholu the guard elephant, which was designed by National Institute of Design. It was introduced on 16th April 2002.

    Bholu - the elephant guard was revealed in 2002. Wikimedia Commons
    Bholu – the elephant guard was revealed in 2002. Wikimedia Commons
  • The oldest working Indian locomotive still in use is the Fairy Queen, which worked with a steam engine.
  • India has eight Railway Museums – in Delhi, Pune, Kanpur, Mysore, Kolkata, Chennai, Ghum, and Tiruchirappalli. The National Railway Museum in Delhi is the largest rail museum in Asia.
  • Toilets were introduced in 1909 in the lower classes of trains, after a letter by certain Okhil Babu that described the ordeal he faced due to the absence of lavatories.