Historical relics disappearing in Lalitpur

Lalitpur, July 20

Nearly 25 stone spouts and ponds recorded in Lalitpur’s historical documents have disappeared without any trace of existence.

Locals fear that more than five other stone spouts and a dozen historical ponds in the district might also be destroyed soon.

Hariram Joshi, a culture expert, said urbanisation of the area has led to the destruction of many historically important spouts and ponds. “More than 25 ponds and spouts have been destroyed in the past few decades,” he said.

Currently, there are 63 spouts, 5 ponds, and 10 wells in Lalitpur, but only 30 spouts are functional. The ponds and wells are also gradually drying up, a survey report of the sub-metropolitan city shows.

Joshi said, “The stone spouts in Lalitpur were built before 1300 BC, most of them during the Malla era. The Na Hiti spout in Patan is the oldest living spout in the country, built in 1900 BC,” said Joshi.

“The municipality destroyed the Raj Kulo, which supplied water to ponds and wells. The water in Raj Kulo came from Chapagaun. But after the government constructed the Ring Road in Lagankhel, the kulo was destroyed in the process and water supply stopped,” he claimed.

“Even the sub-metropolitan city office was constructed by destroying a pond. The spout near the Tri-Padma High School, Lakhe Pukhu of Pimbal, the spout of Gabal, and the spout of Jwagal have all been destroyed while building temples, roads, and gardens.

There were four stone spouts inside the Himalaya Hotel, but they were destroyed for commercial purposes,” he added.

Every year, millions of rupees are allocated for the renovation of cultural heritages, which also include stone spouts and ponds. But neither the sub-metropolitan city nor locals have paid any attention for their protection.

“We allocate budget as necessary, and there is no practice to allocate budget for stone spouts and ponds,” said Bhesh Narayan Dahal, director general at the Department of Archeology.

“The sub-metropolitan city announced a stone spout clean-up campaign but it has not been able to save even a single spout in a month,” said Ravi Manandhar, a local, criticising the government’s apathy in conserving the cultural heritages.