- Raj Kumar Prajuli
Kabrepalanchowk: The United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESCO) has expedited the process to enlist Nepal’s historically, religiously, culturally, and archeologically enriched ancient city of Panauti in the list of world heritage this year according to Panauti Municipality.
UNESCO is reported to have been awaiting the decision of the Nepal government’s cabinet meeting in the final phase of the enlistment process.
According to Nepal based UNESCO chief, Kristian Manhart, the process for the enlistment of Panauti was initiated last year only. The UNESCO Chief said so after visiting the Panauti’s historical, religious and archeological heritage recently.
The Panauti municipality has also allocated a budget after UNESCO hinted at the city’s enlistment in the world heritage. The UNESCO readily accepted to enlist Panauti in the list of world heritage for its unique Nepali types of houses and old Hindu temples and monasteries.
These varieties of Buddhist and Hindu religious monuments found here are considered to be the most spectacular medieval monuments and sites worth observing for tourists and archeologists.
The Panauti city is also deemed to be the most fascinating and the most artistic town found in Nepal after Kathmandu valley.
History of Panauti town
The ancient Panauti town is located 32 km southeast of Kathmandu. Earlier it was known as Panchal desh, Punyamatinagar, Punanti, Punyawati, Palaati, and later known as Panauti.
It is also known as Uttar Prayag because of its religious importance. Panauti is a typical Newari town located at the confluence of two rivers Roshi and Punyamati.
The local people still believe that a third invisible river Lilawati, which is visible to seers, converges at the confluence making a trijunction called Triveni ghat, a sacred site for Hindus.
The history of Panauti goes back to Satya Uga or the age of truth when King of Gods -Indra fell for the beauty of Ahilya, the wife of sage Gautam Rishi. Indra disguised as Gautam Rishi indulged in love with Ahilya. Gautam rishi returned and saw his wife Ahilya in the arms of Indra.
Gautam immediately cursed Ahilya to turn into a rock and cursed Indra to have thousands of sores and female external genitalia in his body which disfigured his body.
Later on, Indra and his wife worshiped Mahadev and Parvati at Triveni ghat located at Panauti and finally appeased Lord Mahadev and Indra was absolved of sin. Since then the Panauti became the sacred place for Hindus.
The evidence such as ancient stones, scriptures from Khopasi shows that the settlement of Panauti dates back to the era of the Lichhavi and Kiranti periods too.
The city of Panauti stands on a single rock which made this city unaffected during the earthquake of 1843 and 2015.
Panauti is one of the 15 historical and tourist-centered hubs in Nepal which were proposed before UNESCO for endorsement of enlistment as world heritage.
Other national heritages such as Pashupatinath, Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, Bhaktapur Palace, Swyambhunath, Boudhanath, Changunaryan temple, Chitwan National Park, Lumbini, Sagarmatha National Park are already recognized by UNESCO as world heritage.
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