Three quarters of an hour bimbling through Thamel, we arrived at the roundabout before Durbar Square. At first glance all looked well until we saw the huge cracks in the building behind and the tell-tale tarpaulin covering a nasty scar.
After paying our six pounds fifty each entry fee (a tiny drop in the renovation pot), we headed toward the entrance to see a huge amount of scaffolding in front of us. Inside the square, many, many knick-knack sellers. Durbar Square is actually made up of two sub-areas, the outer complex is renowned for numerous interesting temples, while the inner complex is the old palace area made up of ten courtyards. Prior to the great earthquake of 1934 there were thirty five courtyards.
The scaffolding we had seen (now behind us) covered Basantapur Durbar. Also known as Nau-talle durbar, it was built by King Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1770. This dominant nine-storeyed Kathmandu Tower was built along with three other towers named after three other ancient cities of the valley, Kirtipur Tower, the Bhaktapur Tower and Lalitpur Tower. So pleased to see workers busily renovating, a massive undertaking. Seems incredible that the buildings here have stood the test of time but the earthquake of 2015 did so much damage.
To the left – utter devastation but somehow the shell of the building defiantly stands.
On the opposite side of the square the Sanskrit University is supported by sturdy props.
Props also support this building at the end of this part of the square. This one looks fairly sound.
Kumari-ghar, a gorgeous, lavishly decorated building that Bear just had to ‘trigger finger’ one of the guardians as we passed. We stepped in to the quadrangle, supported by props (in and out). Built in 1757 by King Jaya Prakash Malla, Kumari-ghar is the home of the living goddess who is considered to be an incarnation of the goddess Taleju.
The three-storey building is lavishly decorated with fine woodcarving. We could take a picture of the goddess-appearing window (not allowed when she appears), today she was due at four o’clock, we were happy just to see the window. Several tour guides wanted us to do the full Monty and offered their services. We declined and minced on.
On the corner, Gaddi Baithak. The eastern side of the palace is closed off by this white neoclassical building. This imported European style building was built as part of the palace by Chandra Shamsher in 1908 during the reign of Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah.
We moved on and saw a variety of conditions.
Pigeons thrive, no matter what.
Nagara Ghar, partially damaged. A pair of huge drums on a raised platform used to warn of trouble, as the Durbar Square Armoury was close by. The outer wall on one side has been destroyed on one side. Verdict – repairable and hopefully the second drum can be replaced.
Shiva-parbati Temple. Very pleased to see this uncommon little shrine in fairly good condition. Built on a three step brick platform and guarded by two handsome chaps and Mahedev and Parvati peeping from the upstairs window. Constructed during the reign of King Rana Bahadur Shah.
Kal Bhairav. This huge stone image of Bhairav represents the deity Shiva in his destructive manifestation. It is undated, but was set in its present location by King Pratap Malla after it was found in a field north of the city. This is the most famous Bhairav and it was used by the government as a place for the people to swear the truth.
I took a picture of Bear then one over his shoulder as I wanted one of the monks without getting involved.....
Me in the rubble and a lady utterly soundo.
Out of the square into the colour of the vendors, a Chelsea cushion was a bit of a surprise. Above, yet more scaffolding.
A corner shop with an intriguing window.
Colourful balloons with stunning antiquities and shrines. Time to bimble back to our digs somewhat sad at all the damage.
ALL IN ALL SUCH AN UPHILL BATTLE