One of the main aims of our project is to provide archaeological assessments that can help inform architects and engineers in the reconstruction and conservation of earthquake damaged monuments. Recently, a team of experts from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo undertook architectural evaluations of the two-tiered Jagannath Temple within Hanuman Dhoka. Dedicated to Vishnu, the temple is famed for its erotic carvings, and is thought to date to 1563 AD, based on an inscription of King Mahendra Malla located on its eastern plinth.
Now the focus of work by architects and engineers sponsored by a Japanese-Funds-in-Trust-for-UNESCO project, UNESCO is also sponsoring our archaeological team to undertake exploratory excavations of the foundations of the Jagganath Temple, as well as the Gopinath Temple, which is located to its north.
From our work to date, we have identified that the current dimensions of the platforms of the two temples are later adaptations, and that earlier pavements and platforms run underneath the footprints of the monuments we see today. We will continue to excavate to identify the depth of the foundations and also whether there were earlier phases of human activity and occupation in this area of Hanuman Dhoka. Working alongside architects and engineers, the excavations will provide a full view of these monuments, from their foundations below the ground to their architectural superstructures, helping aid their future renovation and rehabilitation.