Char Narayan Temple

Completed Project
Patan, Nepal

A partnership to help restore Char Narayan Temple

Nepal is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world, and its rich heritage would not have survived over the centuries were it not for painstaking reconstruction after these tragic incidents. Since the most recent earthquake, community members have once again been galvanized into action, while the 2016 World Monuments Watch called attention to the need for sustained international concern in the face of a daunting set of challenges.

Thanks to support from American Express, WMF worked with the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust on the reconstruction of the Char Narayan Temple in the center of Patan’s Durbar Square. The sixteenth-century temple collapsed completely in the 2015 earthquake. In the aftermath of the collapse, the army and the police helped community members salvage and secure its fragments, including historic carved door and window frames, which were later reassembled. The sacred site was accurately reconstructed using salvaged materials while concealing carefully designed seismic reinforcement measures. Those range from enhanced timber joints and steel reinforcement through brick masonry layers to concealed beams that tie the structure together. The project serves to demonstrate how design features like these can be appropriately integrated in the reconstruction process for other similar sites. 

Char Narayan Temple Stories for Watch Day in 2017

On April 26, 2017, two years and a day after the great earthquake of 2015 shook all of Nepal and wrought so much damage on the cultural heritage of the Kathmandu Valley, a Watch Day event commemorated the ongoing efforts to restore the Char Narayan Temple. Organized by the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust, Watch Day consisted of the launch of an audiovisual feature about the temple’s history and a guided tour of the project site and the nearby workshops where the wooden elements are being restored. Additional guided tours were carried out the next month, in collaboration with a local school.

New support enhances conservation

In February 2019, the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust announced $2 million total in funding to support preservation efforts at five WMF projects, including Char Narayan Temple. Funds went towards the rebuilding and seismic reinforcement of the site.

Following years of extensive reconstruction work, completion of conservation work at the beloved temple was celebrated with a ceremony in January 2020. The long-awaited completion marks a return to worship for many in the community of Patan, and honors the resilience of the Nepalese people. 

Last updated: August 2020.


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