UNESCO along with a UK University has started excavations at some of Nepal’s most famous monuments to provide a better understanding of their history and the condition of their foundations -- more than a year after the devastating earthquakes struck the country.
UNESCO, with a team of international and national experts from the department of archaeology and Durham University, UK, is undertaking excavations at the Jagannath and Gopinath Temples in Hanumandhoka Durbar Square.
Through the excavations, it is continuing a mission they initiated last year to restore the country’s cultural heritage.
“The continued archaeological investigation of subsurface heritage and evaluation of the foundations of earthquake- damaged monuments are a key part of the process of the rehabilitation of the Kathmandu Valley’s World Heritage of Outstanding Universal Value in advance of its reconstruction,” said Christian Manhart, UNESCO representative to Nepal.
“Due to the economic and social values of Nepal’s sites which lie at the crossroads of ancient civilisations of Asia, UNESCO has intensified its efforts in the ongoing programme of reconstruction and rehabilitation of iconic monuments,” UNESCO quoted in a recent press release.
Last year, UNESCO led a team from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo that undertook architectural evaluations of the two-tiered Jagannath Temple.
Built for Vishnu as the ‘Lord of the Universe’, with its outer shrines dedicated to Surya, Siva, Ganesh and Bhagavati, some historians believe it to be one of the oldest temples in Hanumandhoka.
The installation of an inscription by Mahendra Malla on its eastern base records the date as 1563 AD.
At present, less is known about the Gopinath Temple which is positioned directly to the north.