Rani Pokhari to undergo excavation for three days

  • Research will be centred on reconstructing the temple as per Malla-era model

Kathmandu, January 1

The 11-member expert committee that was formed to give suggestions on the reconstruction model of Rani Pokhari conducted its first meeting today and decided to excavate the area for three days to find archaeological details. The committee will then submit its report on the basis of its findings.

The committee today decided to start a ‘generic excavation’ of the pond for feasibility study needed to reconstruct the pond in the Malla era modality. Historians and archaeologists are of the view that there are man-made wells at the bottom of the pond which can be traced to bring the pond to its previous form. The committee has also called for expert opinions on reconstruction model of the pond.

Members in the committee are also working to reconstruct the Dharma Kuth — a Shikhar styled temple in the pond. But the committee has not taken any formal decision on reconstruction of Balgopaleshwor temple that lies at the centre of Rani Pokhari. The temple was reconstructed in Mughal style after the earthquake of 1934 destroyed the original Shikhar styled temple, according to historians.

Coordinator of the committee Bishnu Raj Karki who is also a former Director General of the Department of Archaeology said, “The committee will carry out research and submit plans for  reconstruction.”

Historian Kashinath Tamot, who is also one of the members of the committee, said he was trying to convince other members in the committee to reconstruct the temple in the ancient model constructed by Pratap Malla.

“Temples during Pratap Malla’s era were built in Shikhar style, which can be proved through some of the ancient paintings and scriptures of his time. Moreover, the Anantapur temple and the Pratappur temple at Swoambhyunath built during his time can also be useful to understand the technique and model of such temples. With the help of detailed study, we are confident that we can rebuild the temple in its original model,” historian Tamot said.

Similarly, heritage expert and architect professor Sudarsan Raj Joshi, who had been protesting the reconstruction of the pond using concrete, said both the pond and temple could be rebuilt in their original form. “We can confirm the size of the temple and structure largely on the basis of its foundation, which is still intact. And, the ancient inscription and epigraph can be helpful for the reconstruction process,” he added.

A joint meeting of officials from National Reconstruction Authority and Department of Archaeology chaired by Bidhya Sundar Shakya, the mayor of Kathmandu metropolis, on December 28, had formed the committee to prepare a report on the reconstruction model of Rani Pokhari. The reconstruction work of Rani Pokhari using concrete and modern materials was also halted the same day.