Thailand offers help to restore shattered ancient temples in Nepal

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BANGKOK, 11 May 2015 – Officials from the Ministry of Culture, the Fine Arts Department and the Department of Religious Affairs as well as national historians and architects are integrating their efforts to help restore World Heritage sites in Nepal ruined by the recent earthquake.

Minister of Culture Weera Rotephotchanarat said that on 25 May, UNESCO will send officials to conduct surveys to evaluate damages on the World Heritage sites. The Culture Ministry has sent UNESCO a letter offering Thai support in the restoration mission. It has also informed the Embassy of Nepal in Bangkok about Thailand’s readiness to deliver the support.

Weera added that if UNESCO and the Nepalese Embassy agree to the Thai offer, the ministry will ask for the greenlight from the cabinet to proceed with its project immediately. However, the Nepalese government is currently busy with assistance to survivors and has not so far allowed any group to undertake the restoration of its archaeological remains.

The Minister added that the Fine Arts Department is working with historians to study the architectural structure of various World Heritage sites in order to define maintenance approaches as well as a safety system to protect the remains from future earthquakes.

As for the Thai Buddhist temples such as Muni Vihara located in Bhaktapur, the minister said they received little damage. On the contrary, Ananda Kuti Vihar, a Theravada Buddhist temple of Nepal, was heavily destroyed in the quake.