Nepal royal palace turned tourist spot


After deciding to turn Narayanhity palace into a museum, Nepal’s Maoists on Sunday opened another 240-year-old Shah dynasty palace in Gorkha district to the public.

Once the address of the Shah dynasty, the historic Gorkha palace was opened to the public with Maoist chief Prachanda unveiling a signboard with “Federal Democratic Republic Nepal” written on it.

Prachanda and senior Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai also toured the centuries-old palace for the first time.

Prachanda lauded the efforts of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, King Gyanendra’s ancestor, to unify the country. “Nepal might not have been a republic had Prithvi Narayan Shah not unified the country,” the Maoist chief said.

He also expressed his gratitude to the residents of Gorkha district, responsible for establishing the Shah dynasty’s rule in Nepal.

The sprawling Gorkha palace assumed great significance in the country’s history because King Prithvi Narayan Shah had launched his unification campaign from the palace and later went on to annex smaller states and gave a final shape to Nepal.

The new government has already decided to turn Gyanendra’s Narayanhity Palace into a museum. A high-level team of government officials on Sunday visited the Narayanhity Palace and assessed its security.

At present, soldiers of the Nepal Army guard the palace but are likely to be removed after Gyanendra vacates the palace.

The Constituent Assembly has given Gyanendra 15 days to vacate the palace.

The visit of the top government officials comes in the wake of comments by home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula that Gyanendra will be vacating the palace in coordination with government officials.