Cracks in the facade
“Nepal has experienced dramatic change in the past few decades, the pace of which exceeds that of any other time in its history. Indeed, the changes that have occurred between the 1950s and the present may exceed those of the preceding five centuries,” Scott Faiia writes in the Photo feature of our February issue where he compared his photographs of Kathmandu today from the pictures he had taken over the years. (If you haven’t had a chance to check them out, you can see the set here. There’s also an album at our Facebook fanpage.) It’s a point that’s forcefully illustrated by recent events. Scott has emailed us with an update of a pair of pictures we ran. In the piece he wrote, in reference to a building in Boudhanath, that despite the structural fidelity, “[t]he addiction of signboards and new shops has markedly changed the building’s character.” Now, however, that facade may be visited with more drastic changes:
I was out at Boudha over Losar and walked by the building that was included in the photo essay of the February issue of Himal South Asia. The photos in the article were twenty one years apart but the physical structure of the building had not changed. I was quite shocked to see that the building was no longer there. Unfortunately it has been destroyed and a new modern concrete structure is under construction. We will have to wait to see what the exterior of the new building will look like. Hopefully it will blend harmoniously with the environment there.
I will be checking with the local community to see if they are aware how the new building was designed. I will also check with UNESCO to see if there are any regulations for construction at this World Heritage site.
Scott would appreciate any updates of this building or any other buildings in the area. If you have any pictures comparing the past and present environs of the Boudhanath, post them on our Facebook fanpage (http://www.facebook.com/himal.southasian) or send us a mail to our web editor at email@example.com. Scott will also keep us updated as he investigates further.