Patron: Prof. Dr. Ing. Niels Gutschow
At the northern end of the square two arcade buildings, raised on a platform, flank the stairs leading down to the Manihiti step-well, the details of which demonstrate that it had been at this site since the 7th century. Till today the supply with water is ensured. Both buildings are halls with sixteen columns. They are therefore called “arcades with sixteen feet” (Sorakuttepati). The northern and wider hall was used for royal councilling and as the coronation site. At this site the hall stood as one of the nine Jewels of the square for over a thousand years. For 1701 documents tell us about a fundamental renewal, the roof was renewed for the last time in the early 1980s. The fragile colonnade of both buildings could not resist the earthquake. They collapsed into the step well, one week later all valuable fragments were salvaged. Today, only the bare platform reminds us of their former existence. All historical parts are preserved. The rebuilding of the Manimandapa needs new roof, which has to be designed by engineering standards. The columns will have to be connected with the threshold stones by stainless steel pins. The total cost will come up to 52.000 Euro.
An old picture of Manimandapa (Clarence Comyn Taylor, 1863, courtesy Royal Geographical Society, S0003109)Manimandapa after the earthquake (photos by Rohit Ranjitkar)
Process Report May 2016 In October 2015 the damage at twelve column was assessed. The copy of one totally destroyed column was ordered and the careful repair and restoration of the remaining eleven columns was achieved by four carpenters till early April. On 25 April the former Prime Minister Prachanda Dahal visited the Darbar Square in the company of a couple of ministers and on that occasion he laid the foundation stone for the rebuilding of the Mandapa. The cornice above the columns is also repaired in the meantime. For the time being the windows of the upper level are restored. The rafters are being prepared, roof tiles are acquired from demolished houses – till end of December the rebuilding will be there again. It will be the first rebuilding of a collapsed monument in Nepal.
In June 2015 the Kathmandu Welfare Trust applied for the necessary approval/permission for ten projects within the area of the Darbar Square at the Social Welfare Council. In early April the Department of Archaeology approved the planned activities. For the time being there is an ongoing debate about the issue of seismic strengthening. The “guidelines” promulgated by the Department of Archaeology in mid April are rather restrictive but enable to come up with proper compromises.
Work x Work & Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust published an Audio and Visual Journey on Architecture in Nepal - Personal Stories of Culture and Living Heritage: http://kvptstories.org/ It includes among other things a portray of Niels Gutschow, historian, documentarian, & architect. He joins in documenting the historic temples of the Kathmandu Valley and preserving it’s culture.
New Process Report, June 30, 2016See the full report by Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust here.