Thinking of Rebuilding Kasthamandap? Love thy mud, wood and brick!

As the earth trembled violently on that day, a blood donation program was about to conclude at Kashthamandap with the participants collecting to line up for a photo session when the cherished heritage building which gave its name to the town and the valley, collapsed, killing 10 persons. Press reports indicate that there were over fifty persons in the monument at the time of the earthquake. “For a second I had no idea what was going on. I didn’t know whether to run or sit, everything and everyone seemed to be moving. Bricks and mud started falling down on us and nearby temples began going down one by one, ” recalls Amit Awale who was able to run before the Kasthamandap temple collapsed and rescued three others including a nurse, a colleague and a blood donation participant (News Report, 2015). Almost as immediately, calls for earthquake resistant reconstruction of the monument were made seeming as though a autopsy by those who knew had concluded that the building was inherently weak and our forefathers knew little more than nothing of earthquakes resistant construction! While the tragic collapse does demand setting performance standards of safety of life when reconstructing, it cannot be a foregone conclusion that the original structure did not do so. One should also not forget that Kashthamandap had been shaken several times and by much larger earthquakes earlier and had stood up well until 2015. such performance itself should be telling enough for experts not to decry its design but look elsewhere for the reason thereof. Moreover, if it is the Kashthamandap that we are thinking of reconstructing, protecting its values has to be the primary priority and increased earthquake resistance a desirable side gain.

Read or download the article on rebuilding Kashthamandap.