Restoring Heritage: Tripureshwor Mahadev Temple Premises

In the heart of Kathmandu, a sacred site has been grappling with a sorry state of neglect and destruction. The Tripureshwor Mahadev Temple, a symbol of cultural and historical significance, stands wounded by the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes and the ongoing challenges posed by squatters resorting to burning its buttresses for firewood. This alarming situation calls for urgent attention and collective action to preserve our heritage.

Built in 1818 by Lalit Tripura Sundari in memory of her deceased husband, King Rana Bahadur Shah, the Tripureshwor Mahadev Temple holds profound historical and cultural importance. It is not merely a structure of bricks and mortar but a testament to Nepal’s rich heritage, showcasing the architectural brilliance of its time. The temple premises, once a sanctuary of spirituality, now bear witness to the ravages of time and man-made negligence. Even the day of Shivaratri saw minimal presence of devotees getting to the temple.  The 2015 earthquakes left the temple damaged, and the subsequent attempts at renovation were stalled due to budget constraints. The sorry state of the premises has exacerbated with squatters resorting to burning the temple buttresses as a source of firewood.

Kathmandu University had stepped up, signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Guthi Sansthan and the Department of Archaeology to rebuild the temple. Kathmandu University had proposed to renovate the temple and build additional satals on the temple’s premises to  run its music department in 2014 itself. The university’s commitment to reconstructing the temple and developing the surrounding areas for its music department breatheing new life into this historic site. However, the university too felt budget crunch and the restoration of the temple and building the nearby areas for the Department of Music is stalled.

In recent days, there have been news of people burning of temple buttresses, this is not merely an act of desperation for survival; it symbolizes the larger issue of neglect and lack of awareness surrounding the importance of cultural heritage. Such actions not only accelerate the deterioration of the temple but also erase traces of our shared history and identity. It is crucial for the community, government bodies, and stakeholders to come together to address the sorry state of the Tripureshwor Mahadev Temple premises. The ongoing reconstruction efforts by Kathmandu University serve as a beacon of hope, emphasizing the need for collective responsibility in preserving our cultural and historical treasures. When we visited the temple premises during Shivaratri, a women there was hopeful in that Balen Shah the new mayor of the Kathmandu Valley has visited the site twice and has promised to help with the renovation and restoration of the temple.

The sorry state of the Tripureshwor Mahadev Temple premises serves as a wake-up call, urging us to reflect on the importance of safeguarding our heritage. While the challenges are immense, the ongoing reconstruction efforts by Kathmandu University stand as a testament to the power of collective action. It is our duty to ensure that future generations can marvel at the architectural splendor of the temple and learn from the rich history it encapsulates. Let us unite to restore and protect our cultural legacy for the sake of our identity and the generations yet to come

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