Since taking office, Kirtipur Mayor Ramesh Maharjan and his team have renovated and rebuilt more than 20 falcha in the Municipality, which has a population of 70,000.
“A tangible heritage like falcha is an integral part of our identity,” says Maharjan. “It was important to restore them to their original style, but they are also a part of our intangible heritage, providing a place for the community to gather, especially for older residents to relax.”
Architects and engineers from the municipality were involved in the study and design of the rest stops, with a particular focus on maintaining the traditional look and ambience of the falcha.
“In the past, many of the falcha were turned into concrete structures and the essence was lost, we wanted to make sure that was not the case this time,” adds Maharjan.
As Kirtipur’s falcha are restored, the rest stops are once more filled with people, mostly senior citizens from the neighbourhood, to chat, or watch passersby and children play nearby.
Come evening, the historic town resonates with the sound of Dafa Bhajan as old and young gather in neighbourhood falcha to perform devotional songs accompanied by traditional instruments.
“Without falcha, it would not be possible to continue this tradition,” says Badri Lal Shrestha, who on a recent Saturday evening was busy playing madal on the ground floor of a renovated falcha for an impromptu performance.