Saving Nepal’s hiti heritage

Iku hiti where water from stone spout is still being used for drinking, bathing, washing and cleaning. Photo: RIISHTA SHRESTHA.

The hiti of Kathmandu Valley have been named to the 2022 World Monuments Watch, a selection of 25 heritage sites of worldwide significance whose preservation is urgent and vital to the communities surrounding them.

Despite urabnisation, many of Kathmandu’s ancient sunken water spouts and the netowrk of channels that supplied water to them are still functioning and form a vital part of the city’s water supply system.

Heritage concervationists say the inclusion of Kathmandu Valley’s hiti by the Wold Monuments Fund (WMF) in its Watch2022 list will encourage Nepal to continue to its work in the preservation and promotion of the heritage of the valley. Foremost among the conservation groups is the Chiva Chaitya Organization (CCO) which has been working for restoration of Kathmandu Valley heritage.

“We feel that inclusion of hiti of Kathmandu Valley in the Watch2022 of the WMF has given due respect to the importance of Nepal’s heritage on the world stage,” says Prabodh B S Kasaa of the CCO. “We believe that the necessary recognition of the hitis by the WMF is because of the contribution of individuals and organisations working in preservation and promotion hiti."

Bénédicte de Montlaur of the WMF says that saving endangered cultural heritage has never been more important. He adds: “The daunting global challenges facing heritage in the twenty-first century require innovative, sustainable, and replicable solutions. By supporting communities in preserving the places they treasure most, we can strengthen social bonds and foster a greater understanding that our futures as global citizens are inextricably linked.”

These sites powerfully demonstrate pressing global challenges of climate change, imbalanced tourism, underrepresentation, and recovery from crisis, underscoring the need for greater action to support heritage places and the people who care for them.

WMF is a leading organisation devoted to safeguarding the world’s most treasured places to enrich people’s lives and build mutual understanding across cultures and communities. The organisation is headquartered in New York with offices and affiliates in Cambodia, India, Peru, Portugal, Spain, and the UK.

Launched in 1996 with founding sponsor American Express, the Watch is announced every two years and includes heritage places nominated by individuals and community-based organizations across the globe. The program has been a proven tool for raising awareness of sites in need of protection and galvanizing action and support for their preservation.

Representing 24 countries and nearly 12,000 years of history, Watch2022  encompasses a broad range of examples of how global challenges manifest and intersect at heritage sites, providing opportunities to improve the lives of communities as they adapt for the future.

The full list of 2022 Watch sites is online here: and

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