Nepal, Jan 18, 2017: The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that shaked up Nepal, killed nearly 9000 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings – including what many consider to be the country’s oldest Hindu temple in Changu Village. Gradually locals are rebuilding their beloved Changu Narayan temple with help from a British architect, who also helped in the restoration of Angkor Wat in Cambodia through the World Monuments Fund.
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It is believed by the locals that Hindu god Vishnu once appeared at Changu Narayan, the fifth-century temple dedicated to the deity. Only priests had the allowance to enter the intricately carved wooden structure before the earthquake. When locals witnessed the devastation inflicted on the World Heritage Site caused by the natural disaster, they felt their lives had ended. But they didn’t give up hope, and began to restore to its previous store as much as possible. 61-year-old Gyan Bahadur Bhadal, who is a member of a group of villagers maintaining the temple, told AP, “I see now our world coming back alive.”
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Architect John Sanday has always been intimidated by Changu Narayan for decades, and also mentioned he was very emotional visiting the site after the devastating earthquake, which damaged 600 historical monuments, palaces, and temples in Nepal. Out of those 600, Sanday decided he would take on the temple as a project, and take up the role of a technical adviser for locals. He stated, “Sure, it’s peanuts, a little temple, so why is it so special? The detail. The grace. It’s one of the few World Heritage Sites that hasn’t been completely destroyed by development.”
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So far locals have painstakingly cleaned and made some repairs to the temple, but there’s still a lot of work left to be done. The community needs to raise around $300,000 to reach their goal regarding the restoration initiative. Inspired by the dedication of the locals, Sanday has already assisted rebuild a guardhouse-sized shrine. Now he’s looking beyond the shrine to the temple and he is convinced that it is not impossible to save the ancient building.
– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang