The British foundation ARCADIA awarded Christiane Brosius (Heidelberg University) a grant of 775,000 euros for the documentation of endangered historical sites in Nepal. Over a test period of two years, 400 temples, monasteries, and other building types will be documented and inventoried. The project will focus on cataloguing buildings that have been destroyed or damaged by earthquakes and urban change and emphasise the need for their preservation or reconstruction. Under the direction of Prof. Brosius, 16 specialists from the fields of architecture, anthropology, history, indology, and digital humanities from Heidelberg and Kathmandu will collaborate to achieve this goal.
The online database of the "Nepal Heritage Documentation Project", which will be freely available, will comprise descriptions, pictures, inscriptions, and architectural drawings of the buildings and will serve as a resource for recommendations on how to preserve endangered sites or reconstruct historical buildings. "The absence of proper documentation and the lack of an accurate register of Nepal’s cultural heritage have severely handicapped the reconstruction of the destroyed buildings after the earthquake in 2015," states Rohit Ranjitkar, a cooperation partner in the project and one of the leading experts on Nepal’s cultural heritage.
At Ruperto Carola, the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS) is leading the project in cooperation with the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, represented by Axel Michaels, and the Heidelberg University Library. In Nepal, the chief partners are the Saraf Foundation for Himalayan Traditions and Culture, the Department of Archaeology of the Government of Nepal, the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust, and UNESCO Nepal.
Christiane Brosius, professor for Visual and Media Anthropology at the HCTS, explains that the project "will substantially strengthen Asian and Transcultural Studies at Heidelberg University, especially in respect to research on cultural heritage".