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PADT collected Rs 540,879 during Mahashivaratri

KATHMANDU:  Pashupati Area Development Trust said it collected Rs 540,879 in offerings made by devotees visiting Pashupatinath temple on the day of Mahashivaratri.

An estimated 700,000 devotees visited the temple on the day to offer prayers at the temple. PADT officials said the monetary offerings were collected from Pashupatinath temple, Basuki temple, Hanuman temple, Nawagraha and other temples in the Pashupatinath temple complex during Mahashivaratri and the following day.

As per the recent amendment to Pashupati Development Trust Act, monetary offerings, donations, gifts and amounts raised during regular or special pujas in Pashupatinath should be made public.

PADT has also set up digital boards outside the temple to make public monetary offerings made at the temple. It, however, did not display the total amount collected in offerings during Mahashivaratri and the following day, stating that it had not counted the money.

However, a PADT source said counting of money had started the same day and almost 60 per cent of the amount had been counted by the evening of Mahashivaratri.

The money offered at the temple is counted in the presence of representatives from the cultural preservation division at PADT, accounts section at PADT and Nepal Police.

The amount of money collected, however, appears surprisingly low compared to number of devotees visiting the temple during the festival. This leaves ample ground for suspicion of irregularities.

An administrative officer at PADT, however, said that unlike what people thought, many devotees did not make monetary offerings.”

During festivals like Mahashivaratri and Teej, visitors are not allowed to stand for more than a minute at the temple’s gate. So, many people do not get the time to make monetary offerings,” he said.

PADT has also not made public the number of devotees visiting the temple during the festival. The office made different arrangements maintain a record of the number of devotees. Apart from volunteers deployed for the purpose, PADT had also set up digital gates at the entrance of the temple to maintain an accurate record of visitors.

Milan Kumar Thapa, treasurer at PADT, said the final report on the festival would be made public relatively late this year.

According to PADT officials, the first review meeting of the festival is unlikely to be held until March-end as high-ranking officials like Member Secretary Pradeep Dhakal and Executive Director Ramesh Upreti are on leave.

–  By Ujjwal Satyal, TKP

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136 archaeological spots uncovered in Kapilvastu

KAPILVASTU:  The latest archaeological excavation carried out under the aegis of the Department of Archaeology has discovered that Kapilvastu has the highest number of archaeological sites in the country. It has identified 136 archaeological sites in the district.

Department’s spokesperson Ram Bahadur Kunwar said that this is the first time so many archaeologically significant sites have been found in Kapilvastu district. Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, which is a World Heritage Site, also lies in Kapilvastu district in Province-5.

According to him, Rupandehi has 99 archaeologically important sites and Nawalparasi around 40 such places.

Some of the major archaeological sites in the Kapilvastu district include Tilaurakot, Aaraurakot, Kudan, Niglihawa, Sagarhawa, Gotihawa, Dohani, Prachin Stupa, Sisahaniya among others.

The ruins of the palace of the king Suddhodan, the Buddha’s father, who ruled over the ancient kingdom Tilaurakot covering 34 bigahs area is now a protected zone. The Department has also acquired the land plots around the area belonging to the locals where it plans to carry out archaeological research.

The monuments more than 100 years old are considered as ancient monuments and the artefacts older than a century as archaeological artefacts, archaeology officer Subhadra Bhattarai said.

The latest archaeological exploration in Tilaurakot has found pieces of earthen ware, statues, silver coins and some metal artefacts. Laboratory test of these artefacts revealed the presence of human civilisation around this area dating back to 800 BC.

Artefacts from the period of the Maurya dynasty rule have also been found in Tilaurakot and other places in Kapilvastu.

Kapilvastu Municipality mayor Kiran Singh said that excavation is underway to find various evidences in line with international standard so as to have Tilaurakot also enlisted in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.


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EC decides to hold Presidential election on March 13

KATHMANDU:  The Election Commission (EC) has decided to hold the presidential election on March 13. The election act has authorized the EC to announce the date for the election of president and vice president.

According to constitutional provision, the election for President and Vice-President should be held within a month after the formation of Federal Parliament.

Prior to announcing the date of presidential election, the EC officer bearers had held a consultation with Prime Minister KP Oli.

According to the constitution, the elections of President and Vice-President should be held on different dates. There is also a provision that the election of Vice-President should be held a week after the conclusion of presidential election.

The President and Vice-President will be elected through a voting by Electoral College comprising members of federal parliament and provincial assembly members.

The weightage of House of Representative will be 79, while the weightage of provincial assembly wil be 48.

According to EC spokesperson Nawaraj Dhakal, the date for presidential election has been fixed for March 13. The list of the voters will be published on March 5.

The date for filing the nomination has been set for March 7 and the final list of the candidates will be published on March 8.


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