Himalayan News Service

Lalitpur, January 15:

Youths of Sonakothi, a village nine kilometre south of Lalitpur, have given a facelift to the area surrounding the famous Balkumari temple. ‘Keeping the locality clean is all about awareness and willingness’ is their motto.

Sonakothi Smarakshayan Committee, a youths’ group, has changed the look of the area by keeping it clean, removing the wildly grown weeds, planting saplings of ornamental trees and flowers around the temple and stone paving the paths. The revered Balkumari temple and its land cover over 105 ropanis of land. Earlier the area used to be covered by uncontrolled growth of wild plants and weeds. It was a safe meeting point of drug addicts. Gyan Bhakta Maharjan, a local, “This area was almost alienated and nobody used to dare to come here alone due to the fear of addicts. But the situation has changed now.”

The Balkumari guthi is responsible for the management of the temple and the land around it. The area includes the temple, a big playground and a farmland. The villagers have a share on the farmland, the produce of which is used to organise rituals and feasts at the temple in October. Suraj Maharajan who planted saplings behind the temple on his own said, “We have realised that cleanliness enhances the beauty of our village and we have begun the campaign from the temple.”