Prince Charles comes to Nepal heritage rescue
The Prince of Wales hosted a charity luncheon at Clarence House to launch a campaign to restore the Patan royal palace in Kathmandu.india Updated: Aug 18, 2006 13:44 IST
Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, opened the doors of his residence wide to help out Nepal's exquisite yet endangered architectural heritage.
The Prince of Wales hosted a charity luncheon at Clarence House, his London residence, to launch an international campaign to restore the Patan royal palace complex in Kathmandu Valley, a chain of palaces and temples built by Nepal's Malla kings, who ruled between 12th and 17th century.
The event, attended by 120 guests, including the creme de la creme of Nepal's society, raised $170,000 at $800 per plate.
The guest list also included Beatrix Ost, artist and filmmaker, and her husband Ludwig Kuttner, who have pledged $100,000.
The restoration project is the initiative of a New York-based non-profit organisation, the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust, founded in 1990 by an American architectural historian, Eduard Sekler, who had first visited the valley almost three decades before that and fallen in love with the indigenous architecture.
Since its inception, the trust has been working to restore over 20 buildings, including Buddhist and Hindu shrines.
At the luncheon Charles, who had visited Nepal in 2001 with his late wife, Princess Diana, remembered his trip and expressed his happiness to have been of help in supporting the restoration work.
The trust estimates that it would cost about $2.3 million over eight years to restore the remaining structures and extend the museum at the royal palace complex.
A major grant is expected from the Robert Wilson Challenge Grant Programme that would provide matching funds of up to $400,000 for those raised by the campaign.
The luncheon was followed by a small exhibition-'Selections from the Nepal Architecture Archive'-that was on view at Clarence House.
Among the Nepali luminaries who attended the luncheon were Prabhakar Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana and Gautam Rana, scions of the Rana dynasty of the all-powerful prime ministers, who ruled Nepal from 1847 to 1933 and kept the Shah kings under their thumb.
Though after a public revolt in 1950 ended the Rana rule and brought the exiled king Tribhuvan into power, half a century later, the Ranas are getting even with the Shah kings.
The reconstruction will start next year with the help of Unesco, which has already declared several Kathmandu buildings and shrines as world heritage sites.
First Published: Aug 18, 2006 13:44 IST