Bansagopal Temple, from the 17th century, in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square
Nepal served as the link between Hindu India and Buddhist China and remained a closed place until 1950. What Nepal lost from the lack of contact with the outside world, the rest of us gained from Nepal as the country and especially its capital Kathmandu are incredibly well-preserved in all their medieval glory.
Lucinda Lambdon of Vanity Fair takes a peek at how Nepal is intent on preserving its medieval charm in The Once and Future Kathmandu:
The movement to preserve the valley’s architectural wonders has gathered momentum ever since. In an act of astonishing bravura, in 1969, to celebrate the wedding of King Birendra, the German government backed the restoration of the Pujari Math, a Hindu priest’s house, and later undertook the restoration of more than 200 buildings in the town of Bhaktapur. In 1972, unesco began restoring the vast Hanuman Dhoka Royal Palace, in Kathmandu’s Durbar Square. There have subsequently been heroes aplenty, but here I must reserve my plaudits for the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust, founded in 1991 by Harvard professor emeritus of architecture Eduard Sekler and American architect Erich Theophile, on whose heads I place glistening laurels; for, to date, the trust has saved, or helped to save, some 50 buildings. The most prominent supporter of the cause is Prince Charles, who helped launch K.V.P.T.’s plans for Patan’s Royal Palace complex by hosting a fund-raiser at Clarence House and making a donation from his personal trust. Restoration of the complex began in May of this year.
Read the rest of the article and see the photographs at this link.