GYAN P NEUPANE
PATAN, Feb 28: A team of Nepali and Austrian conservationists has restored the Malla-era idols of King Yoganarendra Malla and his two wives atop a stone pillar located inside the Patan Durbar Square.
The team on Monday completed the restoration of the historical stone pillar by reinstalling the statues that had collapsed during the devastating earthquake of April 2015.
Conservationists from Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust (KVPT) and Austria-based University of Applied Arts took proper care to reinstall the statues on top of the 8.21-meter pillar in the same way as it looked before the destruction.
“We have successfully reinstalled the ancient statues of the royal couple after months of relentless efforts,” said Bhes Narayan Dahal, director general of the Department of Archaeology (DoA), on Monday. The conservationists worked under the supervision of the DoA.
The pillar is located in front of the Degu Taleju Temple inside the Patan Durban Square. Yoganarendra Malla reigned Patan from 1680 to 1705 AD.
“I must thank the KVPT and its team for such a wonderful work and I encourage them to work in other areas also,” said Dahal.
The idols placed on a lotus-shaped artifact had fallen off the pillar during the earthquake, sustaining damages and also partly damaging the pillar.
“Some parts of the idols were damaged after the earthquake. We have repaired the damaged parts by plating gold to give back their original looks,” said Rohit Ranjitkar, a conservation architect at the KVPT. “The Austrian group helped us in reinstalling the idols,” he added.
According to him, they spent Rs 2.2 million for the entire conservation work. “The conservationists from Austria volunteered for the project,” said Ranjitkar.
He said that the team also scanned the inner parts of the pillar and identified the condition after the devastation. According to Ranjitkar, inner parts of the stone pillar are strong and intact, which encouraged them to reinstall the idols.
“The idols were reinstalled for the prestige and pride of the Malla era,” said archaeologist Shukrasagar Shrestha. “Several pillars of the same design were also erected in Bhaktapur Durbar Square and Kathmandu Durbar Square during the Malla era,” he said.
The trust, which has been working for the conservation and restoration structures of archeological values, sought help from the Austrian team to restore the pillar.
First appeared in Republica national daily