Eighteen months after an earthquake destroyed hundreds of historical sitesacross Nepal, the country has celebrated the restoration of the first major one, the Buddhist monument topped in gold that towers above Kathmandu.
One of the largest of its kind and a popular tourist attraction, the Boudhanath stupa was repaired, not with government funding, but with private donations from Buddhist groups and help from local volunteers.
The government has faced strong criticised for the slow pace of reconstruction across Nepal and its failure to repair the vast majority of the country’s heritage zones.
The Nepalese prime minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, praised the private restoration effort in a speech at the monument, and said it should serve as an example for the rest of the nation and was proof that Nepal could rebuild its heritage.
He added: “This example puts pressure on us in government to reconstruct all the houses and temples that have been damaged.”
Believed to have been built in the 14th century, Boudhanath was shaken by amagnitude 7.8 earthquake in April 2015 that killied almost 9,000 people and displaced millions. Its sprawling white stupa, topped with four pairs of hypnotic eyes that stare out across the capital was largely spared, but the gold spire that sits atop the dome was severely damaged.