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From Nepal to Cambodia in heritage conservation

Annie Joshi, who is the national coordinator for the World Heritage listing of Tilaurakot, is also working on the archaeological site of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
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Having spent her childhood in the vicinity of Patan Durbar Square, Annie Joshi had a keen interest in art, heritage and tradition. After graduating in Architecture from Pulchok Engineering Campus in 2009, his focus gradually shifted towards 'Heritage Architect'.

From Nepal to Cambodia in heritage conservation

She went to Europe to learn, understand and study more about heritage architects. Anne enrolled at Insa Paris Waveville, a school for heritage-focused conservation and new heritage education. She returned to Nepal after completing a two-year post master's degree in French. Today, Annie spends most of her time conserving Buddhist heritage. For the past three years, she has been working as a national coordinator in the work of listing the Shakya Republic and Tilaurakot, where Prince Siddhartha spent his youth, in the World Heritage List.

38-year-old Annie understands that making a structure heritage-friendly is a difficult task. Even more difficult is maintaining the vibrancy of heritage in old structures. It is through this challenging work that she commits herself to working diligently that Annie is introduced as a heritage architect. Anne has a special skill in unearthing history, preserving it and bringing it to life. Anne's expertise in preserving monuments and cities and heritage sites of historical importance is truly admirable. Because of this specialized attachment, she also got the opportunity to work as a consultant at UNESCO for a year.

According to Annie, it is a very important issue how to look at the Anekan structures in the city from the point of view of heritage and what to do to protect them. "Although it is a little easier to protect visible physical structures from the point of view of heritage, it is difficult to protect invisible physical structures," she said. Apart from Tilaurakot, Anne is currently working at Angkor Wat, an archeological site in Cambodia. She has been involved in the documentation of the archeological significance of Angkor Wat through UNESCO. 'Apart from documentation, it is also my job to suggest what can be done for tourist attractions in that historical place,' she said, 'for that, I have been visiting Cambodia lately.' Dhaleka was a structure of archaeological, historical and cultural importance here. Due to her subject expertise, she was active in the reconstruction of Kasthamandap as a specialist heritage architect from 074 to 079. Annie says that there is no detailed map of the foundations of Kathmandu's heritage structure. "But after the earthquake, this work has started from Kastamandap desert," she said. Annie said that after the earthquake, some archaeologists including senior archaeologist Ravin Cunningham came to Nepal from the UK and rescue archeology was also practiced at that time. She also had the opportunity to learn more about the preservation of archaeological structures by participating in studies, research and excavations conducted by the Department of Archeology and Durham University. "Earlier, we only had the history of the wooden mandap up to the eleventh and twelfth centuries," she said, "During the study during the reconstruction, we found scientific evidence that the foundation was only as old as the seventh century." Annie said that such facts show how important study and research are.

She said that before the reconstruction of the wooden pavilion, the old structure was studied in detail, so it could be erected in its original form. She said that during the study of Kastamandapa, she also studied the hundred thamas on the ground floor. She said that from this study, one of the thams is from the fifth century and one of the main four thams is confirmed to be from the fifth century. "Professor Ian Simson of the University of Stirling in the UK dated wood scientists. From which the wood was found to be from the 5th to the 10th century,' says Annie, 'this fact confirms that wood from different periods was used in the kastamandap.'

According to Annie, along with the reconstruction of the Kasthamandap, there has been a documentation of this heritage with detailed facts and figures. Final preparations have been made to print it in Nepali, English and Nepali languages ​​in collaboration with Annie. Until now, there was no written document of the structure of Kastamandap. Now it is not published as an authentic document, said Annie.

Annie has also worked in the protection of Gaddi meeting in Vasantpur. Before the reconstruction of the kastamandap, she was involved in the strengthening of the Gaddi meeting which was damaged by the earthquake. Heritage experts from Japan and Italy also came to Nepal to facilitate the meeting. In this she was a consultant as a heritage engineer. According to Annie, the Gaddi meeting has been renovated with modern technology so as not to damage the old structure. Anne has also worked as a heritage expert in the documentation of the structures inside the Hanumandho Palace.

Today, Annie spends most of her time protecting Buddhist monuments. Annie, who is working as the national coordinator for the listing of Tilaurakot in the World Heritage List, is busy documenting the material obtained from its excavations and interacting with various experts to get their opinions.

Since 2013, excavations have been going on at Tilaurakot in various stages with the help of international archaeologists. A UNESCO Nomination Dossier (Proposed Nomination Document) must be submitted to confirm the historicity of the site in order to inscribe it on the World Heritage List. The nomination dossier is being prepared by Duncan Marshall, a world-renowned Australian heritage expert. Anne's responsibility is to collect and authorize all kinds of facts, investigative reports, documents and evidence needed for the dossier to bring Duncan Marshall's work to a conclusion. According to Annie, Marshall is not only good at writing the nomination dossier, but also at presenting it strategically.

The nomination dossier to put Tilaurakot on the World Heritage List has been submitted to the UNESCO headquarters in France in the first week of February. Anne's activism is not limited to this. He is also involved in the discussion of listing Upper Dolpa as a World Heritage Site. Since 2018, she has participated in such discussions four times. Annie said that Upper Dolpa is an original place from the point of view of culture and tradition and said that it can be placed on the mixed (culture and nature) site of the World Heritage List. The nomination dossier was sent to UNESCO around 1990 with the National Parks and Wildlife Department taking the initiative to place Upper Dolpa in this list.

After sending the dossier, the UNESCO mission also came to Nepal to study more about it. But at that time, after the then Maoists attacked Dunai, the headquarters, the UNESCO team that was on its way to reach Upper Dolpa returned by helicopter. She said, "Now that the community has become active and interested in restarting the process, I am enthusiastically participating."

प्रकाशित : फाल्गुन १७, २०८० ०९:१६
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