The City of Beauty
Patan is Nepal’s third largest city, and is located in the south-central area of Kathmandu Valley. Officially called Lalitpur, which translates as the City of Beauty, Patan is known for its rich cultural heritage. Its Durbar Square is inscribedby UNESCO as one of seven monument zones within the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Site. Over the years, Patan has retained a significant population of artists and craftspeople amid urbanization and demographic change in the region.
Salvaging the remains
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 are currently being re-assembled as part of the restoration project supported by American Express.
Protection from future earthquakes
The sacred site will be accurately reconstructed using salvaged materials, while also concealing carefully designed new seismic reinforcement measures. These measures range from enhanced timber joints and steel reinforcement to brick masonry layers that conceal beams which tie the structure together. Once complete, the project will serve as a model for how similar sites can also be reconstructed.
Char Narayan Temple, like other temples in the royal square, is still in use and thus considered “living heritage.” As a result, the restoration team has to be particularly sensitive to safety issues while the community continues to worship and spend time in and around the temple.
The value of local partnerships
World Monuments Fund has been working in partnership with Kathmandu Valley Trust in Nepal since 2006, first to produce a preservation plan for the Patan Royal Palace Complex, which was then carefully restored to welcome the public to discover its beauty and significance. After the earthquakes in 2015, it was a great relief to find that the buildings which had been restored by KVPT using seismic strengthening techniques weathered the earthquakes with little or no damage.
Thanks to American Express and generous supporters like you, World Monuments Fund has helped communities recover in places like Patan over five decades, from the 1966 Venice floods to Babylon, Iraq today. While humanitarian needs come first, restored cultural heritage is a powerful force that galvanizes communities during the years it takes to rebuild.