Lichchhavi-era relics found in Panchkhal

Laxman Kafle


Panchakhal Municipality has become the talk of the town over the weeks after recovering ruins and artifacts of the Lichchhavi period at Shreerampati area.
The exaction site is located at Ward No. 7 of the municipality in Kavrepalanchowk district. The Lichchhavi era ruins were recovered while carrying out excavations by a team deployed by the Department of Archaeology (DoA).
While ploughing the field, local farmers had traced the ancient monuments. They requested the concerned authority to carry out excavations.
The team carried out excavations with the support of locals a month ago. It took almost two weeks for the team to complete the excavation work. The team found a 24-inch tall stone wall of the then Palace (Shreerampati), a compound wall outside the palace and other historical ruins.
According to Uddav Acharya, senior archeological expert, who was one of the members of the team, they brought the materials retrieved during the excavation to the department for carrying out further tests and verifications.
“Various materials, including clay pots, hand-made grinding stones, Shiva Linga, stone spouts, water supplying pipes and traditional bricks were also found at the place. All the retrieved valuables might be dated back to the Lichchavi era,” he said.
“More facts about the palace will come out after further excavation and study,” he said.
Last year, local Shree Krishna Dhimal submitted a written letter along with Manank coins found there to the DoA for conducting excavations. The ruins dated back to the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth centuries of the Lichchavi-era. The Shilapatra (stone inscriptions) of the period were also found during the excavation.
A 1.5-km pipeline from an old well to Kitani Chour, which is known as Ranipokhari, was also found at the site. Likewise, another 1.25-km water pipeline was also discovered from Jheekukhola-Shreerampati to Ranipokhari.
Narayan temple and Lichchhavi-era temple of Palanchowk Bhagawati are also there. That showed that there was a renowned palace where the then king ruled there, Acharya told The Rising Nepal. pachkal
Based on the preliminary findings of the excavation and ideas of local senior citizens and ancient name of the places, the site might have historical values.
The trade route to Tibet had passed through the area. Evidences show that there were exchanges of trade between Nepal and Tibet.
Some coins of the era of King Mandev and a coin during the era of Amsuverma were also found during the excavation.
‘Bhogini’ was written on one part of the coin while there was a picture of a lion on another side of the same coin. Bhogini is Pali language of that era, according to him.
Acharya is in the process of submitting the final report of excavation to the DoA shortly. Based on the discoveries and observations, there was required to further excavation to find out the actual facts about the place.
“Locals have been cultivating crops in the area where Ranipokhari was been located. A brick kiln is also in operation at the Ranipokhari area”, said Puskar Dhakal, Chairman of Panchkhal Municipality-7.
According to the locals, there was also a place called Ranipani as the place was named after the then queen. She used to go there for fetching drinking water.
The Panchkhal Municipality has started carrying out a study of the area by forming a Palanchowk Valley Archeological Research and Preservation Committee. Mayor Mahesh Kharel is ex-officio chairman of the committee while Dhimal is its member-secretary.
In the beginning, local farmers had found pieces of utensils, foundation of a house, some bricks and coins while planting crops. Then, they demanded preservation of the heritage, Dhimal said.
They had taken initiatives for excavation of the place after locals found bricks, coins and pots which were hundreds of years old. The palace is believed to have been in existence even during the tenure of King Mandev and King Amsuverma.
The municipality has now realised the need to develop a master plan for the preservation of this historical site.
“The support from political leaders, locals and the municipality is a must to conduct further excavation and preserve it,” he said.
The invaluable historical ruins of the place are being destroyed due to the operation of brick kilns in the area.
After unearthing the relics from the area, the municipality has stopped operating excavators in the area for controlling further damages.
(Laxman is a TRN journalist.) 

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