By John Sanday

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The Lalitpur Tower The repair programme on the Lalitpur Tower posed some of the most interesting technical problems so far encountered. Unlike the two towers in the first stage, where the problems of repair and renovation were not clearly visible. the failings of the Lalitpur Tower were a major attraction visible from along the main street (Juddha Sadak). Its notorious lean of over 15° from vertical was caused by the 1934 earthquake. It had not collapsed because, Fig. IOa. shortly after it was damaged, some engineers, reputedly from Lalitpur Tower.

It is difficult to recognize the features of the monkey as it is covered in an ever thickening layer of red tikka, an offering that devotees place on its forehead. Periodically, a new red cape is draped over its shoulders and the specially decorated umbrella is changed yearly. To the right of Hanuman, the gilded door of the main entrance to the palace is flanked by a pair of stone lions, ridden by Siva to the left and Shakti to the right. They probably date from Malla times. The door. however, is of a later period as an inscription Fig.

This used to be the early residence of the Shah kings. They moved from the quarters formerly occupied by the Malla kings into this section of the durbar during Prithvi Narayan Shah’s reign. The structure was greatly enlarged and to commemorate his conquest of the valley and the unification of Nepal, Prithvi Narayan Shah built, or more likely extended, the present Basantapur Tower to its present height. According to the inscription over the main entrance, the Basantapur in its present form was completed on 21 March I770 and named Basant, meaning spring, as this season was being heralded in by the festival of Basant Panchami.

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