Saturday, June 7, 2008

sanjay Dhakal in spotlight

Changing Role
(The Narayanhity royal palace stands testimony to various phases of history of modern Nepal )
As the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly (CA) held on May 28 implemented the declaration of republic and instructed the government to take over the Narayanhity royal palace to turn it into a national museum, all eyes are now on the palace from where the ex-King Gyanendra has been asked to shift within two weeks.
The modern structure of Narayanhity royal palace was built in the early sixties under close watch of then King Mahendra.
Even though the Shah dynasty started ruling the unified Nepal from 1768 AD, it was only sometime after 1880 that then minor King Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah was moved to the Narayanhity palace from Hanumandhoka Durbar, which had remained the official seat of Shah Kings till then.
Palace : Changing role with changing time
The Narayanhity, in fact, was gifted by then powerful Rana prime ministers to Shah King, who till then was only a titular ruler.
Subsequently, the palace continued to undergo expansion and transformation. However, its major transformation took place in early 1960s.
Remembers Shankar Nath Rimal, an engineer who was involved during its construction, "It is a huge complex with lots of bungalows like Mangal Sadan, Shree Sadan, Trishul Sadan, Mahendra Manjil and there were also reports that Tribhuwan Sadan was settled for new construction. When we constructed it, the main Narayanhity palace alone was around 1000 foot long."
The palace, located in Durbarmarg of the central Kathmandu, is spread over 750 ropanis of land. Rimal remembers there could be over 1000 rooms in total in the buildings within the sprawling complex.
Apart from the buildings and bungalows, the palace is also said to be a storehouse of documents and details of historic and archaeological significance.
"The original copies of Panjapatra (which then Shah Kings signed to authorize the rise of new Rana prime ministers) and Lal Mohars used to be kept in Lal Bakas, which used to be stored in Foreign Ministry. But few years ago when I inquired the Ministry officials about the Lal Bakas in course of my research, I was told that perhaps they could be in the palace," said Triratna Manandhar, a historian.
As the government has decided to turn the palace into a national museum or use it for national interest, the attention has now shifted to securing the historically and archaeologically significant documents once the ex-King vacates the place.
The Narayanhity royal palace had remained as the symbol of history and power of Shah dynasty in later years. It has gone through many historic occasions like the 1990 dialogue between then King Birendra and political leaders, which ultimately restored democracy, and the February 1, 2005 royal proclamation by then King Gyanendra, by which he took over full executive powers only to issue another proclamation on April 23, 2006 withdrawing himself from power politics. From that day onwards, the monarchy's power had been on steady decline reaching to the culmination of CA declaration of May 28, which ended the 240-year-old Shah dynasty. Unfortunately, this palace is also the same place where then King Birendra and his entire family was shot dead in palace killings. This grisly incident had occurred in Tribhuwan Sadan in June 1 of 2001. As the sun sets on Shah dynasty of Nepal, the role of the Narayanhity palace is also set to change – whether as the national museum or as the presidential palace.

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