Crown yet to be on display at Palace Museum

11/12/2016

Kathmandu, Nov.12: Even seven years after the Royal Palace was turned into a museum, the government has not made public the crown of former kings and the royal scepter at the Narayanhiti Palace Museum (NPM).

In February 2009, the Royal Palace was turned into a museum by the Maoist-led government.

The museum had a plan to put on display the crown worn by former kings and queens, the royal scepter as well as 12 other items associated with the royalty right from the time the Palace-turned museum was opened to the general public.

But due to lack of budget to arrange for an electronic security system and policy, the museum has so far failed to display them.

“The Narayanhiti Palace Museum had prepared an all security system more than a year back to display the royal items. But the installed security system was damaged by the devastating earthquake last year,” said Rohit Kumar Dhungana, chief of the Narayanhiti Palace Museum.

The museum chief, Dhungana, said that the dates to make public the items of royalty were postponed several times for different reasons.

“I still don’t know when these royal items will be put on display. The joint security team of the Police, Army and Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation need to first approve the security system,” he said.

All tasks related to the museum security system were completed long ago by installing them inside the Rupandehi and Surkhet rooms of the museum. As per the plan, these two rooms have been managed with high levels of security to protect the items on display.  

A bullet-proof glass showcase, imported from India, has been set up. A 32 mm bulletproof glass has been used to build the showcase while 42 mm bulletproof glass has been used for the windows of the two rooms along with an electronic security system in them.

But in the absence of coordination between the concerned agencies, the plan to display the royal items could not be carried out, and then the earthquake partly damaged the freshly installed security system.

Dhungana said that the damaged system was being repaired despite the budget constraints.

“Once we are done with the repairing tasks, we will call the joint security team to inspect it and approve it. If the team finds weaknesses in the security system, we will improve on it,” he said.

It is said that the crown is decorated with precious diamonds, pearls and gems and embellished with a soft white tail of the endangered African bird of paradise.

The crown along with 12 other royal items are now being guarded by the Nepal Army inside the Narayanhiti Palace Museum.

Presently, about 134 close circuit (CC) cameras have been set up inside the Narayanhiti Palace Museum as part of the security.

The museum has added 34 CC cameras at the Rupandehi and Surkhet rooms because they are to display other items associated with the royalty, Dhungana said.   

Some Rs. 10 million has been invested for installing the electronic security system to provide security to the crown and the scepter.

A total of 2.2 million visitors, including from the SAARC counties, China and other countries, have visited the museum, and it has collected Rs.180 million in revenue so far, according to the museum official.

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