Dozens pray at reconstruction site of Kathmandu temple

Kathmandu, April 18 (IANS) Almost a year after a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake jolted Nepal, scores of people gathered at the Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu on Monday to pray for the success of ongoing rebuilding efforts.

Marking the Unesco Day of World Heritage on Monday, the Nepalese pilgrims gathered near the reconstruction site of what was once Asia’s largest 36-metre-high stupa, once believed to fulfil the wishes of anyone who prayed there, according to The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT).

The devotees handed over crumpled currency notes as monetary donation for bricks and sent lucky red prayer wheels spinning as smoky clouds of burning herbal incense filled the streets at the base of the revered stupa.

“The aim is to encourage local communities and individuals throughout the world to consider the importance of cultural heritage to their lives, identities and communities,” said a statement published on Unesco’s website.

Nepal has been a member of Unesco since May 1953 and is home to ten Unesco heritage sites, including the Hindu Pashupatinath ‘Lord of Animals’ temple in Kathmandu Valley, the red brick-tiled architectural palace of Patan Durbar Square at the centre of Lalitpur city and the 4.8 km-long ‘Birthplace of Buddha’ in the monastic zone of Lumbini.

A number of the sites damaged by the earthquake last year have already reopened for visitors post-restoration of their structure after the temblor that claimed more than 9,000 lives.

The Unesco Director General Irina Bokova will this week meet Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli to further discuss post-earthquake reconstruction and the rehabilitation of national monuments.

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