Explore the enchanting Galkot Durbar

29, May 2023 | nepaltraveller.com

A visit to Galkot Durbar is not just an encounter with architectural remnants; it is an opportunity to reflect upon Nepal's past and appreciate the efforts required to preserve its heritage

Nestled in the picturesque region of Galkot, Gandaki Province, Nepal, lies a historical masterpiece known as Galkot Durbar. This magnificent palace, built by the Kingdom of Galkot, once reigned as the crown jewel of the Chaubisi Rajya, a confederation of 24 states. Though time and neglect have taken their toll, Galkot Durbar continues to captivate visitors with its timeless charm and rich heritage.

Galkot Durbar, often hailed as Galkot's pride, sits majestically between Harichaur Bazaar and the surrounding mountains. In recent years, it has emerged as a popular attraction for tourists seeking a glimpse into Nepal's glorious past. Originally constructed in 1979 BS using a blend of pebbles, mud, bricks, and wood, this architectural marvel now bears the marks of time's passage. Nevertheless, its faded grandeur still enchants all who visit.

Stepping foot into Galkot Durbar, one is immediately struck by the dilapidated state of this once-magnificent palace. The weathered walls, discolored by rain and sun, tell tales of bygone eras. The palace's gate itself offers a glimpse into the sorry condition that awaits within. As you wander through the premises, you will find the walls, pond, garden, granary, resting place, and temple in a state of decay. The steps and stairs, once sturdy and regal, now show signs of their inevitable decline. The once-vibrant pond now stands devoid of water, robbing it of its former beauty. The palace garden, once adorned with colorful blooms, has lost its vibrant charm. The doors and verandas, victims of neglect, have succumbed to rot. The rooms and walls bear the marks of disfigurement, stripped of their former glory. Even the roof of the palace, once a symbol of its grandeur, now shows signs of wear and tear.

Located in Harichaur of Galkot municipality-5, the sprawling grounds of Galkot Durbar cover an expansive area of approximately five ropanis. In its prime, until 2017 BS, this heritage structure was home to members of the Galkot king's family, who lovingly cared for their ancestral property. However, with the abolishment of the Galkot principality by the first people's-elected government in 1959, the palace began its slow descent into neglect.

Over time, as new systems took hold in the country, the palace fell into disrepair. The passing of King Bharatbam in 2039 BS marked a significant shift in the palace's custodianship. Responsibility for its protection shifted to Madhavbam, a member of the third generation. Tragically, Madhavbam fell victim to the rebel forces during the decade-long armed conflict in the country from 1996 to 2006. With his demise in 2059 BS, the Malla family, the last remaining caretakers, were forced to leave Galkot and relocate to Kathmandu, leaving the palace abandoned and defenseless. This marked the beginning of challenging times for this once-regal site.

According to Madhavbam's son, Manjeshbam, the turbulent years saw the looting of all historic documents and valuable objects from the palace. At present, these relics are in the possession of Manjeshbam's mother, Saroja Malla. During their occasional visits to Galkot, the family spends time at the palace and expresses their commitment to its restoration and protection. However, various obstacles have delayed their renovation plans. Manjeshbam has made a heartfelt pledge to undertake the necessary efforts to revive this historical gem.

Dating back to 1989 BS, Galkot Durbar stands as a two-story palace adorned with stones, bricks, and timbers. Its spacious layout accommodates structures that once served different administrative purposes. Behind the palace, you will discover a sprawling garden and a temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Narayan. Regular puja ceremonies continue to be conducted in this sacred space, adding to the palace's mystical ambiance.

Despite its present state of disrepair, Galkot Durbar beckons intrepid travelers to explore its rich history and experience the remnants of a bygone era. As you stroll through its weathered corridors and moss-covered courtyards, you will be transported to a time when the palace stood as a symbol of power and prestige. Galkot Durbar's faded splendor and serene surroundings provide the perfect backdrop for those seeking a unique and off-the-beaten-path destination.

A visit to Galkot Durbar is not just an encounter with architectural remnants; it is an opportunity to reflect upon Nepal's past and appreciate the efforts required to preserve its heritage. As plans for restoration continue to take shape, the palace's eventual revival will breathe new life into this cultural treasure, rekindling its former glory for generations to come.

photo credit: myRepublica - Nagarik Netwo,Lokaantar,Tourism Mail

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