Reconstruction of the famous Manakamana temple in Gorkha district is now in the final stage. Although renovation of the temple completed a few days back, works to pave the stones in its yards are going on. However, due to the unexpected inflow of the pilgrims, especially after Dashain, the works have been disrupted.
The officials of the Manakamana Area Development Committee (MADC), which are responsible for the development, preservation and renovation of all the temples and religious sites, including the Manakamana temple of Lakhan Thapa Rural Municipality, blamed the media for the unexpected surge in pilgrims.
Although the ManakamnaTemple Renovation Committee that functions under MADC has completed rebuilding the temple, many works, including the establishment of the idols of the main Goddess and other goddesses inside the temple, have remained incomplete, said Giridhari Sapkota, Executive Director of MADC.
“But the media reported that all the reconstruction works completed and the idols of gods and goddesses have been established inside the temple, which led to the crowd of the pilgrims,” Sapkota said. On Friday, around 5,500 pilgrims and on Saturday nearly 6,000 pilgrims reached the temple using the cable car, according to an employee of the Mankamana Cable Car.
According to Sapkota, when an unexpected number of pilgrims appeared in the premises of the temple on Friday, works to pave the stones had to be halted. The number of pilgrims increased again on Saturday. The MADC said both the print and electronic media disseminate the misleading news, which resulted in the rise of the pilgrims to the temple.
“We have only completed the construction of the temple, but offering worship inside the temple has not yet begun. But a large number of the pilgrims are arriving here hearing that worship began inside the temple,” Sapkota said. Not only the media, but also the employees of the Manakamana Darshan Pvt. Limited at Kurintar were heard giving wrong information to the pilgrims about the reconstruction work.
“Recently, the Manakamana temple has also become popular destination for the Indian pilgrims. On Saturday, nearly 50 pilgrims from West Bengal State of India were seen standing in the queue to get on the cable car at Kurintar.
The renovation work on the Manakamana temple began from 2011. Then the reconstruction cost was estimated at Rs. 80 million. However, after the 2015 earthquake caused a further damage to the temple, the reconstruction cost increased by almost two folds.
“Rs. 120 million has already been spent when only 90- per cent of the reconstruction works have been completed,” Sapkota said. Of the total expenditure, Rs. 80 million was collected from the donors, and the government provided Rs. 40 million which was spent to buy gold and timber. A total of 18-kg gold was used in the roof of the temple, and the 15-kg gold was bought from the donation. Many people also donated gold for the temple.
According to Sapkota, one man recently donated 5 tola of gold for the renovation work. The temple saw the highest number of pilgrims on April 24, 2015, a day before the powerful earthquake. The MADC had allowed many pilgrims to sleep in its offices as the hotels were unable to accommodate them on the night of April 24. “When we were discussing ways to manage the increased number of pilgrims on Saturday, the quake rocked,” Sapkota recalled.
Fortunately, no casualty and serious damages to the house in Manakamana Bazaar occurred in the powerful quake. “Only one a house collapsed here on the May 12 quake. However, many of the pilgrims ran towards their homes leaving their shoes and bags here,” he said.