Project Background
Patan Durbar Square monument zone, the heart of Patan city, is one of the seven monument zones of Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Site, enlisted by UNESCO in 1979. The major attractions in this area include the 17th century palace complex and several other temples and shrines noted for their exquisite carving. This monument zone is also an excellent example of a medieval town with winding streets opening up into lively urban square with unique architectural character that is still distinctly in evidence. One of the finest examples in this square is the 17th century Krishna temple, the first Shikhar style structure in Nepal with 21 spires and constructed entirely of stone with carvings depicting the Hindu epic Mahabharat.

Although much of the 17th century urban patterns and the public structures still exist in commendable state, Patan Monument Zone is losing much of its vernacular architecture that is mostly under private ownership. The significance of this unique architectural heritage which includes the associated minor architecture, such as the traditional private houses has not been fully appreciated by its residents. Patan has been a vital city for almost two thousand years and this long history has brought in many changes in its architectural style along with the political changes as well as the influence of the outside world. Historically, these changes were slow and adaptive to the vernacular styles, materials and technology. However, in recent years these changes have been quite drastic with the introduction of foreign materials and technology. The change and expectations of the changing contemporary lifestyles has also had devastating effects on the traditional fabric of this historic city. The beautiful old buildings, the fine examples of the rich Newari architecture, are vanishing day by day and being replaced by unsympathetic concrete structures.

Lack of knowledge of the value of historical houses is also hampering in the conservation of this historic city. The cost of restoration is perceived to be higher than that of demolishing and replacing them by new concrete houses and the homeowners are not given any financial incentives to restore their buildings. Rules and regulations are not strong enough and their implementation is very ineffectual.
Designed by iCube Galleria