Chabahil locals have formed a committee to restore the crumbling Charumati Stupa, which had developed cracks because of heavy vehicular traffic on the nearby road.
The 4th century stupa has relics dating from the Lichhavi period and is regarded as a site of great religious and archaeological importance, rivalling that of nearby Pashupati. What is unique here is that the impetus for restoration has come from the locals who have watched with dismay as the stupa was overwhelmed by urban expansion, and last year actually started falling apart.
Individual donors have come forward and we are even getting cash from devotees, says Rajendra Kumar Shrestha, secretary of the renovation committee. The estimated cost of Rs 600,000 is expected to go up since the construction required special bricks and traditional mortar. Because of the lack of money, only the upper part of the stupa is being rebuilt.
Priceless ancient artefacts, coins, and manuscripts have been found during the renovation work, and archaeologists say more could be found if the whole stupa could have been rebuilt. It has also been discovered that Charumati, like the rest of Kathmandu Valley shrines, have been reverred by both Hindus and Buddhists. Hindu deities like Bishnu and Narayan have been found among the Buddhist relics.