KATHMANDU: Narayanhiti Palace Museum situated in the heart of Kathmandu has emerged as a major tourist destination of late with thousands flocking to find how the recent monarchs lived.
Till date, around 3.2 million domestic and foreign tourists have visited the museum that was once a heavily guarded historic palace. The museum has so far collected over Rs 270 million in revenue from the visitors. Among foreigners, 78,800 were from SAARC countries and 186,007 from other countries.
The royal palace was transformed into a museum after Nepal abolished the monarchy in 2008 and was opened to the public in February 2009.
The museum that houses several artifacts, historical photos, and belongings, has 52 rooms with only 19 currently open to the public. Walking through the rooms, one can get vivid imagery of the lavish lifestyle of the royals.
The building, called ‘Tribhuvan Sadan’, where the royal massacre took place on June 1, 2001, was demolished after the massacre. The building has been rebuilt.
Most of the visitors to the building question who was responsible for the royal massacre that claimed the lives of ten members of the royal family including King Birendra and Queen Aishwarya 18 years ago.
An investigation following the massacre had held the then crown prince, Dipendra, responsible for the murder of his parents and seven others. But, people still don’t believe that the Dipendra was responsible for the gruesome murder and are still demanding a ‘fair probe’ into the massacre.
Museum Chief Adwet Prakash Shrestha is excited with the growing number of tourists visiting the palace-turned-museum.
He, however, is worried about the government’s apathy towards the museum.
The entry fee for Nepali is Rs 100 while students have to pay Rs 20 only. The entry fee for SAARC nationals is set ar Rs 250 Other foreigners have to pay Rs 500 to enter the museum.