Kathmandu, July 14
Rani Pokhari in the heart of the capital city has retained water after more than three years, following incessant rain for the past few days.
Kathmandu Metropolitan City had drained the water out of the pond using motor pumps in January 2016, as part of its ambitious plan to develop it as a recreation site for generating high revenues. KMC’s decision to turn the historic site into a modern facility had drawn flak from locals and conservation activists, forcing it to drop the plan.
Traditional method was chosen to reconstruct the pond. The Department of Archaeology, National Reconstruction Authority and the KMC have hired a group of 60 traditional workers from neighbouring Bhaktapur city to reconstruct the pond in traditional style.
The workers have been filling the bottom of the pond with layers of black soil and sand, a method that was used to build ponds in Kathmandu valley in the ancient period.
Krishna Prasad Dumaru head of the reconstruction team said, “We have used black soil and sand for the reconstruction of several ancient ponds which has been a success. The workers are filling the pond bed with layers of black soil and sand. They are working to restore the damaged embankment of the pond with traditional bricks,” he said, adding reconstruction work of the pond will be completed in a few months.
The workers had built a miniature pond inside Rani Pokhari as a sample to convenience the authority of their method, one and a-half-month ago and no sign of water leakage was noticed in it.
“Since the sample pond worked perfect we are confident that Rani Pokhari will retain water,” said Damaru.
The DoA has expressed confidence that the reconstruction work of Rani Pokhari including a temple in its centre will be completed by October, this year.
The temple in Rani Pokhari was opened once a year on the occasion of Bhai tika during the Tihar festival in the month of October, before the 2015 earthquake.
Damodar Gautam Director General of DoA said, “We are confident that all the structures in Rani Pokhari will be complete by Tihar.”
He also said contract had already been awarded for a private constructor to build the temple.
“The temple will be built in traditional granthakut style of Malla era as demanded by the locals,” said Gautam.
The temple was built by King Pratap Malla in granthakut design in 1670. The original temple was later destroyed in the earthquake of 1934. After the earthquake the temple was later reconstructed following gumbaz model by Rana rulers.
After 2015 earthquake locals of Kathmandu had demanded that the government rebuild the temple in granthkut style as was originally built by Pratap Malla.
A version of this article appears in print on July 15, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.