Ancient Pond Reconstruction in Kathmandu Stirs Preservation Protests
Sanjib Chaudhary, 5 Jan 18
       

Rani Pokhari pond before the 2015 earthquake. Image by Flickr user Anup Adhikari. CC BY-NC 2.0

Ponds in the Kathmandu Valley and the southern plains of Nepal have always been an integral part of culture and tradition. While some ponds have been preserved well in the valley, others have been encroached upon by modern construction or have disappeared completely due to negligence by authorities.

Rani Pokhari, ‘the Queen’s Pond,’ with historic Balgopaleswor Temple in the center, has been drained off to allow for the temple's reconstruction. Authorities decided to renovate the pond as a whole after the temple was partially damaged by the disastrous earthquake of 2015.

Now, activists and locals of Kathmandu Valley have come together to save this ancient pond in the heart of Kathmandu:


In few years’ time, we did this to Rani Pokhari. Two photos taken from the same point.


The beauty and historical significance of Rani Pokhari 

Rani Pokhari, a 17th-century heritage site, is believed to have been built by King Pratap Malla in 1670 AD to console Queen Anantapriya who was saddened by the death of her youngest son.

The Balgopaleswor Temple in the center of the pond opens up to the public once a year when people with no siblings visit the temple during Bhai Tika, the ‘festival of brothers and sisters,’ on the final day of the Tihar festival, a five-day Hindu festival of lights. The pond is also open to the public for the Hindu festival Chhath.


That Rani Pokhari. Old is Gold: Rani Pokhari before 1990's (Bikram Era) earthquake


 Known for its beauty and historical significance, the pond is surrounded by Ghantaghar (the clock tower) and Trichandra College, Nepal’s first campus in the east, and Durbar High School, Nepal’s first high school in the west. On the southern bank lies a statue of King Pratap Malla and his two sons riding an elephant. Temples dedicated to Hindu gods and goddesses stand at all four corners.

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