Changu Narayan World Heritage Site
The 2015 earthquakes in Nepal destroyed many ancient temples and monuments in the Kathmandu Valley area. These are sites that represent important places of community and social congregation. FONA’s role is to convey the historical and social significance of the heritage site and connect international partners to support its conservation and rehabilitation.
Cultural sites in crisis
The disaster caused devastating damage and loss to sites listed World Heritage by UNESCO. But for the Nepali people, they also lost their history, their place of worship, faith and national pride. On an international level, this is a loss of great cultural significance.
Nepali communities cannot rebuild these important sites alone. FONA believes that international collaboration for local support is integral in ensuring the survival of Nepal’s unique cultural heritage.
I am shocked by the earthquake’s devastating impact on the unique cultural heritage in the country, in particular extensive and irreversible damage at the World Heritage site of Kathmandu Valley.
- Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO
The importance of Changu Narayan
Changu Narayan is an extremely important hill sanctuary of great historic and artistic significance. It is one of the seven Monument Zones of the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage site. The Changu Narayan Monument Zone comprises a traditional Newari settlement, and a Hindu temple complex with one of the earliest inscriptions in the Valley from the fifth century AD.
While the restoration of every site is important, Changu Narayan has a significant historic connection with Australian architecture experts. In our research at FONA, we found a historical connection between Australia and the Changu Narayan World Heritage site dating back to 1986. At that time, a group of Australian architects from TAFE visited Nepal to survey the temple and monument zone, and document the site in a set of architectural drawings. In 2015 FONA, together with these same architects, presented the architectural drawings to the Prime Minister of Nepal to assist with the site's reconstruction.
With the support of Nepal, UNESCO and the Heritage and Environmental Conservation Foundation, FONA has committed to building this relationship further, ensuring the total restoration of the Changu Narayan temple and regeneration of its surrounding community.
Please click here to see all of the Australian architectural plans for the Changu Narayan site.
Bringing together world class expertise
A core aspect of FONA’s mission is the collaboration of global experts for local impact. We are leading discussions between UNESCO, Nepal and Australian governments with the aim of securing financial support from the Australian Government.
The main temple was damaged and distorted by the 2015 earthquakes, and many other buildings in the complex were completely destroyed. FONA is connecting Australian expertise to local Changu Narayan builders and securing financial support for reconstruction efforts.
In addition to this, FONA has partnered with the Heritage & Environment Conservation Foundation Nepal (HEC Foundation) who have developed a master plan for a comprehensive conservation, sustainable development and training programme.
Regenerating the community
At FONA, we believe that the best way to completely restore the Changu Narayan temple is to strengthen more than its foundations, we want to revitalise the community that thrives around it. The temple precinct is a busy hub, and fostering this community will be key to the regeneration of this area.
The Sustainable Development and Training Project developed in collaboration with the HEC Foundation will focus on equipping local communities with the skills to develop micro-businesses that foster cultural tourism and boost the local economy. This could include training local guides to explain the history, myths and legends of the area, establishing comfortable home stays that encourage visitors to stay longer, demonstrations of local arts and crafts to promote local business, and fostering marketing skills so that Nepali people can promote the many festivals that happen at the temple in the calendar.
How you can help
Australia has the world class expertise to play a key role in not only rebuilding the monument but ensure it remains standing for thousands of years to come. Currently, experts are providing emergency assistance to secure the site, assess the extent of the damage and draw up a detail repair and restoration plan for the Changu Narayan temple and village.
The architectural drawings above of the Changu Narayan temple show in detail the magnificence of this cultural relic that must be preserved.