Monuments and conservation problems in the Kathmandu Valley

Constance Stromberg


The vast cultural heritage of Nepal includes countless temples, monuments and sculptures. Within the past two decades major restoration projects have helped preserve several important structures. UNESCO, in collaboration with His Majesty’s Government (HMG) of Nepal, has funded several surveys and conservation proposals. However, the prevailing attitudes of HMG towards foreign assistance and the concern of foreign agencies that funds will be misused have combined to cause a slowdown in cooperative conservation efforts. This presentation will briefly cover some of the restored monuments, including Hanuman Dhoka in Kathmandu Durbar Square and the town of Bhaktapur, in their present condition.

Monuments in need of conservation will be discussed Including Changu Narayan, the oldest temple in the Valley; and Krishna Mandir, an important stone temple in Patan with severe salt problems. Preservation problems that are not often encountered in the West will be discussed. Included here are use of monuments for religious purposes and dally life; monuments that are being destroyed by the sacred pipal tree growing within them; and the loss of ancient skills because the sons of craftsmen do not wish to follow in their father’s footsteps.

This presentation will also briefly cover the Central Conservation Lab within the Department of Archaeology (HMG), and the need for a training program for the technicians working there.

1989 | Cincinnati