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Reconstructing the past

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016
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Pic: Alina Tandukar

Pic: Alina Tandukar

The monument that gave Kathmandu its name, a building supposedly constructed from the timber of one big tree, was destroyed in last year’s earthquake. Ten people in Kasthamandap were killed in the structure that was built for the first time 1,300 years ago.

Excavations at the site have revealed layers of foundations of various buildings that have stood here over the centuries. Earthquakes hit Kathmandu every 100 years or so, and this time the rebuilding has been accompanied by an elaborate ceremony to consecrate the foundation.

A special Saptabidhanottar puja and prayer ceremony was held this week to honor the mandap-shaped nine pit foundation of Kasthamandap. Five priests representing the Pancha Buddha assisted by 15 others conducted the ritual in line with tantric Vajrayan Buddhist tradition while 125 priestesses in red uniform recited the Pancharakshya Scripture to invoke the five protective methods that are believed to prevent any possible misfortune in the reconstruction. Similarly, 30 priests recited the Sadharma Pundarika Scripture for immediate solution of potential problems.

The ritual was possibly performed for the first time since Kasthamandap was built in the 8th century, and was organised by the Campaign to Rebuild Kasthamandap and  Bouddha Darshan Adhyayan Pucha of Srikhanda Tarumul Mahabihar held

Birendra Bhakti Shrestha of the Campaign appealed to the public to reject the government’s system of awarding reconstruction contract to the lowest bidder, as that would result in poor quality reconstruction which in turn could lead to the heritage sites being unlisted from the UNESCO world heritage list.

The Dharani scripture was also recited to pay homage to members of a blood donation program who lost their lives in Kasthamandap when it collapsed on 25 April, 2015.

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