Balgopaleshwor temple to get Rana-era look

The Department of Archaeology has instructed the contractor to restore Balgopaleshwor temple in the middle of Rani Pokhari to its Rana-era design.

Locals and activists had protested the reconstruction model of the pond and the temple and demanded that the temple be built in its original Malla-era design.

According to historians and activists, the temple was rebuilt by Jung Bahadur Rana in 1905 making changes its original design.

DoA sent a letter to the contractor after considering the decisions made by the Supreme Court on January 16 and the decisions made by the Cabinet on December 28, 2017.  DoA has instructed the contractor to reconstruct the temple as per the working plan forwarded by the DoA earlier. The letter has also been sent to National Reconstruction Authority and Kathmandu Metropolitan City.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli and Justice Hari Krishna Karki had asked the government to submit monthly progress report on the reconstruction of Rani Pokhari to ensure that the historic pond’s originality was not altered.

Similarly, the Cabinet had asked KMC to start reconstructing Rani Pokhari as per the plan approved by the DoA keeping the historical, cultural and archaeological importance of the pond intact.

The reconstruction of the Balgopaleshwor temple that was destroyed by the 2015 earthquake grabbed the attention of public and activists when the KMC started rebuilding the temple using modern construction materials.

The reconstruction task was hence halted on September 2016 and was handed over to the DoA. The DoA with a complete working plan then started to build the temple using traditional equipment and materials.

The KMC which was authorised to reconstruct the pond proposed to build a recreational zone at the pond and started embanking the foundations of pond using concrete and other modern materials. This move of KMC was vehemently opposed by locals and KMC had to halt the reconstruction and form an 11-member research committee to study if the pond could be restored to its original design.

The committee submitted a report which recommended that the pond and temple be built in Malla-era design. The report, however, was not signed by three members of the committee.

However, speaking about the DoA’s recent decision about the reconstruction model of the temple, KMC Spokesperson Gyanendra Karki said they could not go against the locals voice.

“Our mayor has made it clear that the temple will be reconstructed in its original Malla-era design and that is our final decision,” he added.

Acting Director General of DoA Damodar Gautam said, “We have made decision about the reconstruction model as per the decision of Supreme Court and the Cabinet, so there is no need to create much fuss about it.”

A representative of the constructing company, Worldwide Kandel KN KG JV, Krishna Kandel said they would start the reconstruction process of the temple from Sunday onwards.

According to Kathmandu Metropolitan City officials, the company has been paid 20 per cent of

Rs 62 million as a part of the deal to start reconstruction work.