Heritage Recovery

Bringing our goddesses and gods back home

Heritage Conservation and Preservation

Repatriating lost and stolen Nepali objects of art and reverence to restore faith, culture, and endangered tradition


Restoring ownership back to the community

Lalitpur Declaration on the Recovery of Heritage, 27 May 2024

View Declaration

About Us

Welcome to NHRC

Nepal Heritage Recovery Campaign (NHRC) is the 1st formally registered Nepal-based organisation, where a group of heritage enthusiasts has come together to support the government of Nepal in bringing back its lost and stolen heritage.

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Nearly 40 years later, the stolen god of Patko Tole makes a historic and triumphant return

December 4, 2021
A huge crowd gathered around the two-tiered temple of Laxmi-Narayan in Patko Tole on this historic day as the sounds of jhyalijhyamta filled the air.
70-year-old Chandraprava Shakya, standing next to the temple with a huge smile on her face, said: “Laxmi-Narayan travelled to America, but he missed being home.”
On Saturday, the 800-year-old stele of Laxmi-Narayan, stolen in 1984, was finally reinstated to its original plinth. At 11, the Patan Museum courtyard was packed to the walls as devotees and attendees witnessed the handing-over of the statue from the Museum to the residents of Patko Tole. 

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Campaign stories


“To bring our goddesses and gods back home”

The Nepal Heritage Recovery Campaign as its primary task proposes an international effort to document theft of statuary and other tangible heritage from Nepal; develop and maintain a comprehensive database; maintain required communication internationally; work to ensure the restitution of the deities, as far as possible, back to the niches, plinths, and portals from where they were stolen; to work to place the returned objects in a dedicated museum or gallery where local restitution is not possible; and to alert institutions and individuals that hold looted tangible heritage of Nepal about the true ownership of the artefacts.

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“Together for restitution”

The Founding Members of the Campaign have long been involved individually as well as collaboratively to combat idol theft. The seven individuals represent a spectrum of activities, from community leadership to conservation architecture, journalism, museum curation, and cultural activism. The first Chairperson of the Campaign is Riddhi Baba Pradhan, former Director General of the Department of Archaeology, Government of Nepal. Satya Mohan Joshi, the eminent cultural historian, has agreed to serve as the Patron of the Campaign.

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Recovery in progress

Total Located Objects


In memory of….

Curator Dina Bangdel and archaeologist Sukra Sagar Shrestha were working with some friends and colleagues to launch an ‘international campaign for the restitution of stolen statuary of Nepal’. A room was identified in the Patan Museum’s Mul Chowk for which permission would be sought to serve as the secretariat office, and Sukra Sagar Ji had been persuaded to lead the campaign as a whole. Dina Ji would provide her expertise in iconography and international reputation as curator in helping to design the campaign. The plans for the campaign entered a period of hiatus when the April 2015 earthquake devastated the urbanscape and templescape of the Valley, diverting focus to reconstruction. Over this period, the passing of both Dina Ji and Sukra Sagar Ji was a blow to the incipient campaign.

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Thank you to the scholars

The Nepal Heritage Recovery Campaign would have never been able to take off without some of the important publications made by researchers and scholars. The following books have profoundly helped the campaign.

1. Nepalese Stone Sculptures, Vols. 1 & 2 by Ulrich von Schroeder (2019)
2. The Antiquity of Nepalese Wood Carving by Mary Slusser (2010)
3. Die Götter verlassen das Land. Kunstraub in Nepal (German edition by Jurgen Schick 1989)
4. The Gods are Leaving the Country: Art Theft from Nepal by Jurgen Schick (1998)
5. Stolen Images of Nepal by Lain Singh Bangdel (1989)
6. Art Of Nepal by Pratapaditya Pal (1985)
7. Nepal Mandala: A Cultural Study of the Kathmandu Valley, Vols. 1 & 2 by Mary Slusser (1982)
8. Nepal: Where the Gods Are Young by Pratapaditya Pal – 1975

There are many other important publications as well and we will list them in our site soon!
These books are huge contribution to Nepal, we would like to thank all the researchers and scholars for their publications.

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