Monuments of the Kathmandu Valley Before and After the 2015 Earthquake

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Monuments of the Kathmandu Valley: Before and After the 2015 Earthquake is a sort of post mortem of how the historic temples, shrines, monasteries, stupas, rest houses and Rana palaces were rebuilt from the ground up – with both good and bad examples. But it is a tribute to Ranjitkar and his colleagues that restoration has been sensitively done, reusing salvaged material, and employing modern items only when necessary for structural purposes. Cement was not used, and stainless steel dowels only inserted inside stone columns to make them safe. Ranjitkar is director of the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust (KVPT), and within minutes of the earthquake at 11:56 on 25 April 2015, he was out on Patan Darbar Square, helping rescue not just those trapped under the rubble but also mobilising Patan’s community to carry valuable stone carvings, wooden columns and fallen bronze idols for safekeeping in the nearby Patan Museum. In the week after the earthquake, he stopped Nepal Army bulldozers from clearing the debris from the 12th century Hari Shankar temple and the 400- year-old Char Narayan temple so items could be retrieved. Many of these were classified and restored to the exact place on the temples. In the store room of Patan Museum were artifacts from the 1934 earthquake which were also put back in their right places. Destructive earthquakes happen every 80 years or so in Nepal and this allows the skills, craft and knowledge of restoration to pass from one generation to the next. This book is a part of that tradition. Ranjitkar provides numerous examples of damaged wooden struts and tympanum that were replaced, repaired, and missing pieces recarved from scratch.