Nepal was not a British colony but this style of architecture entered into it right from the time of Bhimsen Thapa.
The popularly known Gorkha earthquake is receding fast into the pages of history, but the scars left by it have in no way faded from the damage and destruction it caused. In fact, the scars appear deeper than before due to the reconstruction work only appearing to take off after being grounded for a long time. There are several factors responsible for this state of affairs, but one of them is the lack of conceptual and historic clarity of post reconstruction works, particularly of historic buildings like the Singha Durbar.
Nepal was not a British colony but this style of architecture entered into it right from the time of Bhimsen Thapa. It was emulated in the Bagh Durbar when constructed in 1805 with a tiger caged near the entrance and hence the name. The devastation caused by the 1934 and the 2015 earthquakes in the majority of such palaces exposed their seismic vulnerability.
Any building which is hundred years old is labeled as historic and the Singha Durbar should be conserved properly as it has already seen 114 springs so far ignored which may invite public outrage. When Ananda Niketan constructed in the year 1892 was slated for demolition in the nineties, the conservationists had the last laugh as they brought the callous authorities down to their knees through its retention.
Conservation consists of several degrees of intervention measures two of which are Consolidation and Anastylosis. Consolidation also called retrofitting seeks to strengthen the existing structure in the event of future calamities.
The Shiva Temple of Golmadi, Bhaktapur was consolidated by introducing a reinforced concrete ring beam after its dome fell off like a cap blown by wind. Anastylosis also known as reassembly is about making an exhaustive recording of the monument, demolishing it and constructing it back to its original form and façade without the slightest departure through using only the original materials to all extent possible. The Shiva temple of Nasaman Dabu, Bhaktapur was conserved following this modus operandi.
Considerable time was lost in deciding whether to go for retrofitting or reassembly. Retrofitting was given a nod which cannot always be executed with perfection as amply demonstrated by the restoration of the Rabi Bhawan, the youngest of the neo-classical palaces constructed in the year 1941 suffered cracks in the 2015 earthquake and had to be retrofitted.
The Singha Durbar is representative of British architecture in Nepal and should be held in high esteem as Nepal would still have remained under suzerainty when it came into being in 1792, unlike a fully sovereign state now, had not Britain signed a treaty of peace and perpetual friendship with Nepal in 1923. This is also an occasion to pay tribute to that country that stood by us enabling us to exist at par with the other countries of the world.