Indian Changunarayan temple on verge of collapse

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The ancient Changunarayan Temple in Bhaktapur is at risk of collapse due to the landslide on the hill slope around the temple structure.

The Changunarayan Temple complex which is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites is coming under the increasing risk of landslides due to the illegal quarrying of sand on the hill slopes around the temple and on the bank of the Manohara River.

Extraction of sand at the bank of the Manohara River which flows just below the ridge where the temple is situated has been going on for years and it has increased over the past few years.

Although the Metropolitan Police Range, the District Development Committee, the District Administration Office and local bodies have made efforts to stop the illegal sand extraction, their efforts have not paid.

During the rainy season, landslides occur on the hill slopes around the temple. Land near a place called Eksaya Aath Sindhi (the 108 steps) some 300 metres west of the temple has caved in due to landslide, said Ram Sundar Bhadel, a local.

Bhadel said the local Bhimsen Temple collapsed four years back due to landslide at the place. He said the Shankhadaha area to the south of the temple is on the verge of collapse.

The monument preservation and maintenance office of the Department of Archaeology here said it is doing the needful since the last three years for protecting the temple complex from landslide. The office also said a retaining wall has also been constructed to the south of the temple.

Local Development Officer Prabha Pandey said the District Development Committee, Bhaktapur has initiated the work for checking the illegal quarrying of sand from the Manohara River bank as the first step towards protecting Changunarayan Temple from the risk of landslide. She said the DDC Bhaktapur has been doing this in coordination with the police.

She said in that connection people involved in illegal quarrying of sand and the vehicles used in transporting the sand have been impounded and action taken against them from time to time.

The Changunarayan Temple which is located on a hilltop some eight kilometers north of the ancient town of Bhaktapur was constructed during the reign of the Lichchhivi dynasty king Manadev. It is one of the famous four shrines dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu in the Kathmandu valley.

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