Patan Museum to reopen next week

KATHMANDU, APR 09 - An extended Patan Museum will open for public from the first week of Nepali New Year. After four years of rigorous work, the restored Mulchowk and Sundari Chowk on the southern block of the existing museum is ready to welcome heritage aficionados and tourists.

Over 100 craftsmen were involved in the restoration process every day for four years. The restoration was funded by the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) under the special large grant of 1.1 million US dollar.

While the gates of old Keshav Narayan Chowk and the recently restored courtyards are separate, museum officials say both sites can be accessed with same ticket.

With access of two new additional blocks, the museum has also decided to increase the entry fee from April 14.

“We will have to increase the manpower to take care of the larger area while the running and maintenance cost will also increase. Considering this, we have plans to revise the entry fee” said Suresh Lakhey, the museum officer.

As per the fee revision, foreign nationals will have to pay Rs 400 each to enter the museum; Rs 300 will be charged to foreign students. Similarly, visitors from China and Saarc member nations can buy a museum ticket for Rs 250. A Nepali national can enter the museum for Rs 20 and for Nepali students, the ticket price has been set at Rs 10  per person.

The museum which currently operates with 25 staffers also plans to add 10 more employees. Last year, the museum had collected around Rs 9.6 million from ticket sale,  and renting out the courtyard for various programmes.

“Since we are a self-sustaining entity, we use 50 percent of the collection for the staff  salaries and another 50 percent for maintenance and electricity,” said Lakhey.

He added that two new courtyards will not be available for rental purpose or staging programmes. “We have only decided to rent it out for suitable programmes like Kartik Naach and other cultural events. That, too, hasn’t been finalised.”said Lakhey

Four hundred years ago, the Mulchowk courtyard was built by Malla King Shree Niwas, son of Siddhi Narsingh Malla. While Siddhi Narsingh avoided the conventional construction of the main courtyard, his son Shree Niwas envisioned the necessity of a main courtyard for his palace.

Experts say Mul Chowk was used for sacred and sacrificial purposes. The courtyard was declared off-limits for public after 1934 earthquake.

Similarly,  Sundari Chowk was the resident palace of Siddhi Narsingh Malla which boasts the octagonal Tusahiti in the centre, with a golden dhara (tap).

Last year, artifacts and treasures dating back to the Malla period were also discovered at the Mul Chowk section of the palace. Over 200 antiques were extracted by a team of experts during the renovation work.

Chambers where the antiques were recovered had remained closed for over 50 years. They were located to the southeast and west lawns of the courtyard. Museum Officials say that these artifacts will be part of the museum display.  

Preservation works at the Royal Bath and Sundari Chowk of the Patan Durbar Square were jointly carried out by the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust and the Department of Archaeology.

Posted on: 2014-04-09 08:15