To the right on the first floor is the personal room of the King and Queen which is modest, almost frugal. A 1990s National tv set faces a king-sized bed attached to a mirror that goes up to the ceiling. The side table has a dial telephone along with a framed image of Khaptad Baba. The bathrooms are simple with pink tiles, a bathtub, a small mirror and ordinary sink.
Next to the door is a small cot for King Birendra’s favourite pet, Jit the German Shepherd. Jit died soon after the royal massacre. “It was depression,” Gurung says.
Princess Shruti and Prince Nirajan lived on the second floor. To the right of the hallway is Nirajan’s chamber: his study room, bedroom and a small terrace with a punching bag, where he often practiced boxing. Nirajan was 23 when he was killed.
The Prince’s study room had stickers of cartoon characters Goofy and Mickey Mouse. He has a collection of Laughing Buddha figures on his shelf, and picture frames on the wall. Everything is as it was 20 years ago – even Nirajan’s class schedule for Kathmandu Management College pinned to the wall and a weekly schedule printed in dot matrix: ‘Wake up at 6.30 and head to bed by 23.00. Friday wake up at 10 am and FRIDAY NIGHT from 19.00 to 23.00.’
If truth to be told, Kunda Dixit
Princess Shruti’s room is different. She was two years older than Nirajan, and it is more feminine: pink flowered closets, family portraits, single bed, study table with VCR tapes which she often shared with her brother. In the driveway below Shree Sadan are three small toy cars — black, red and white – in which the three siblings often played when they were children.
The opening of Shree Sadan has been delayed by the pandemic and bureaucratic hurdles. But Director of the Narayanhiti Palace Museum Bhesh Narayan Dahal says they are being sorted out: “Yes there were a lot of delays and mismanagement, but we don’t want to wait any further. There is much more of an emotional connection with the royal family in Shree Sadan and it is a searing memory of the tragedy.”