Kathmandu, October 12
Although the Tihar festival is just a week away, the government has yet to fix the venue for Bhai Tika in and around Rani Pokhari for people who don’t have their own brothers and sisters. According to Department of Archaeology, it has been holding meetings with the stakeholders since the last few days but no venue has been fixed so far.
Bal Gopaleshwor temple, which situated in the middle of the Rani Pokhari, used to be opened to the public only on the day of Bhai Tika every year. But after the damage caused by the 2015 earthquakes to the temple, people were compelled to celebrate Bhai Tika outside the gate of Ranipokhari in 2015 and 2016.
Spokesperson for the DoA Ram Bahadur Kunbar said the department would fix the venue for Bhai Tika celebration at the earliest.
“Reconstruction of Bal Gopaleshwor temple will be completed by April-May of 2018 only. So there is no possibility of opening the temple to the public on the day of Bhai Tika,” Kunbar told The Himalayan Times, “We are trying to fix the venue on the Ranipokhari premises through dialogue and a venue will be fixed at soon as possible.” He informed reconstruction of the temple had just begun two months ago. The temple would be constructed at the cost of Rs 16 million.
Department of Archaeology had taken over the responsibility of reconstructing Bal Gopaleshwor temple on October last year from the office of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City. The reconstruction of iconic Ranipokhari was halted in September 2016 due to differences between the DoA and KMC over the use of roller-compacted concrete by the latter for construction of pillars and foundation of the temple.
The DoA had directed the metropolis to put reconstruction work on hold after the KMC erected RCC pillars “against the original design prepared by it”.
The UNESCO was also very concerned about “inappropriate rebuilding of historic structures, in particular Ranipokhari, in a letter to the KMC and the DAO. The historic structure of religious importance dating back to 1670 AD is one of the most famous landmarks in Kathmandu.
Earlier, KMC had announced its decision to pull out of the reconstruction project. The temple had suffered severe damage in the earthquake last year. KMC had contracted Worldwide Kandel KN KG JV, a private construction company, to reconstruct centuries-old temple and the pond at a cost of Rs 62.9 million.
The temple, commissioned by King Pratap Malla in 1670 to console his queen, who was bereaved of their son, will be rebuilt by the DAO without losing its originality, said an official at NRA.
A version of this article appears in print on October 13, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.