As Kathmandu Metropolitan Authority, including mayors and officials, are trying to push for demolishing historic Bagdurbar saying it has no historic value, many new and historic revelations are coming to the forefront.
“Bag Durbar unfolds many interesting facts of the history. Bag ki Kanchi Maharani” ( Daughter of Jung Bahadur Rana ) married to Prince Dhirendra, son of Upendra, who used to reside at this beautiful Durbar of Amar Singh Thapa and Bhimsen Thapa . She used to stay at this property, Bagdurbar, hence called “Bag ki Maharani. Mayor Bidhya Sundar Ji, be aware you were nominated to preserve the Heritages of the Country but not to destroy all. Not a single brick would be allowed to remove from this Historical Durbar Bagdurbar whether You Call it Hari Bhawan or whatever? Even Hari Bhawan has History where our respected queen Mother and a crown princess of Nepal were born and you cannot build a single durbar with Neo Classic Architect like Bagdurbar. We have seen disaster of Rani Pokhari during Your Mayorship and one after another our heritages have been pulled down PITY!!!” writes Chanda Rana on her Facebook wall.
Saguna Shah, who was born in Bagdurbar and grew up there, also joined the protest. With #Standingagainst #ThedemolitionofBaghdurbar! She reveals very interesting part of the palace. “It is appalling to imagine the demolition of my roots- from where I am and to where my heart belongs,” said Shah. “I wonder how many people are aware that Prince Upendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev was never cremated. He still remains a mystery behind the closed door which exists in one corner of the Palace that is called Bag Durbar,” said Shah.
Although a group of conservation activists organized a silent protest program in front of Kathmandu Metropolitan City office urging KMC officials to preserve historic Bag Durbar, it seems to have little effect on the mayor.
KMC mayor Bidya Sunder Shakya has already made it clear that they will demolish Bagdurbar and build new buildings. “This palace has no historical importance and KMC will build new buildings keeping all the architecture including the front face of durbar,” Shakya told New Spotlight.
Till KMC withdraws its plan, agitators said that they will continue their agitation. “We organized the protest program to prevent the demolition. This is a voice to the cause of saving Bagdurbar for its historic, artistic and architectural values,” said Chanda Rana, a leading conservation activist.
Save Bagdurbar Group, a group consisting of people from different walks of life, calls people to join a silent gathering at the main entrance of Bagdurbar to press Kathmandu Metropolitan City to change its decision to demolish the historical palace.
Along with building pressure, the conservationists are also going for a legal battle. “We are considering filing a petition at Supreme Court against demolition. Since the palace is almost over 150 years, it is against existing acts and rules,” said Sanjaya Adhikary, a young lawyer and heritage activist.
Hosted by Save Bagdurbar, the peaceful, silent gathering at the main entrance of Bagdurbar, holding placards with various slogans draw the attention of people about the need for preservation of heritage, art, architecture, culture and history.
“Although this protest was just as a token, we are able to show strength of heritage lovers of Kathmandu,” said an activist of Save Bagdurbar Alok Siddhi Tuladhar.
“As Kathmandu Metropolitan City has announced its plans to float a tender to demolish Bagdurbar, we don’t have any option other than to build pressure to prevent that from happening,” said Tuladhar.
“This is the first step on the street, to express our concern in a decent way, to make issues to be heard by the concerned, knocking at the door to correct the wrong,” said Rana. “I have been fighting for preservation of our heritage, the heritage of the country, no matter which era the heritage was built in,” said Rana.
“Contradictory to my bitter experience on our blockade protest rally when we were even deprived of medicine and fuels, the participation of people was highly encouraging,” said Rana.
As the pressure is building from the public, it will have a political cost for mayor of Kathmandu Municipality Bidhya Sunder Shakya, who is still determined to demolish Baghdurbar.