Restore Rani Pokhari to its original Malla-era design, demand locals

  • Locals have also suggested that the pond be renamed ‘Nyuhu Pukhu’

Kathmandu, January 17

Locals today demanded that Rani Pokhari be restored to its original Malla-era design.

At a public hearing organised by the 11-member committee entrusted with submitting a detailed plan of the pond’s reconstruction, locals also voiced their opinion against Kathmandu Metropolitan City’s proposal to build a recreational park using concrete on the pond’s premises.

Locals also claimed that the temple in the middle of the pond was originally not of Bal Gopaleshwor, but that of Jhankeshwor Devi, a tantric deity of the Newar community.

Similarly, they suggested that a trench be built on the eastern side of the pond to be filled later with sand so the pond doesn’t dry up in summer. Some of the locals demanded that the pond be named ‘Nyuhu Pukhu’, meaning new pond, as it was originally named.

Locals also took exception to the committee’s plan to introduce ticket system for people to enter the pond. The committee had proposed fixing the ticket price at Rs 35 per person.

Engineer  Ananta Ram Baidhya said the report was too immature and very limited study have been made on the original design of the temple and pond.

“Kathmandu has already seen seven major earthquakes from the time of the pond’s construction to the 2015 earthquakes. So, the design of the pond and the temple must have undergone tremendous change in the course of more than 350 years,” he added.

Baidhya said a comprehensive study was needed to be done before reaching any conclusion on the design of the pond and the temple. Other speakers said people should be allowed to enter the pond’s premise without being charged any money.

The preliminary report of the committee states that it is possible to restore the Malla-era temple, which is believed to have been built by Pratap Malla, to its original design.

The 11-member committee was formed to offer suggestions on the reconstruction model of Rani Pokhari on December 28. The committee is headed by former director of Department of Archaeology Bishnu Raj Karki.

The reconstruction of the historic monument drew controversy after KMC used concrete and modern material to reconstruct the pond. Reconstruction of the pond remains halted since December 28.