The long-awaited reconstruction of Rani Pokhari has finally begun.
A Brief History:
The historical monument was always a symbol of ancient Malla period. Rani Pokhari, meaning queen’s pond, originally known as Nhu Pukhu (न्हू पुखू) meaning new pond, is a historic artificial pond located in the heart of Kathmandu. The square-shaped tank dates from the 17th century and was built on the eastern side of the then city limits. It lies just outside the former city gate. The pond is one of Kathmandu’s most famous landmarks and is known for its religious and aesthetic significance. Its dimensions are 180m by 140m. It was damaged by the earthquake of 2015 AD at Nepal and since has not been reconstructed.
Regarding Reconstruction of Rani Pokhari:
After waiting almost three years and given the continuous pressure from the locals the National Reconstruction Authority has started the reconstruction work. They have deployed 40 locals from Bhaktapur under the direct surveillance of the consumers’ committee, the Department of Archaeology, historians, locals and ward chairpersons of wards 27, 28 and 1 of the Kathmandu Metropolitan City.
The reconstruction this time is said to be made keeping all the cultural elements. The pond is said to be made in its original form using the traditional materials, following the same style and forms. As to how they will fill up the pond they will be using black soil, sand and brick, and other traditional materials to harvest rainwater in a traditional manner based on experts decision. The reconstruction is said to be carried out in two phases.
Phase one focuses on the pond itself. The second phase will focus on the reconstruction work of the Balgopaleshwor temple and the bridge that leads to it. The reconstruction will also cost a lot with an estimated Rs100 million to be spent. The metropolis had already spent Rs30 million on the project before it was handed over to the Authority.
The reconstruction of Rani Pokhari, the historical monument is progressing steadily. Cultural preservation activists view that the renovation of the cultural monument should be done while preserving their historical state. Or else, the valuable engineering knowledge of our ancestors which they showered upon the heritage is lost forever. That would lower the value of the historical pond.
The first image shows the on-going reconstruction of Rani Pokhari. And the second picture is of a sketch drawn by an artist who accompanied Prince Waldemar of Prussia on his visit to Nepal in February 1845.
The temple at the center of the pond is Balgopaleshwor temple which was initially built by Pratap Malla in Sikhara Style. It got destroyed by the massive earthquake of 1934.And during it’s reconstruction in Rana-era, the temple was rebuilt with a dome roof model. The National Reconstruction Authority has now published a design to rebuild the temple in the Shikhara style. This is a major win for heritage conservation.
The continuous pressure and support of the public and activists has made the reconstruction process come into progress. Which implicit, when the people will to protect the history and property of the nation they can bring out the positive progressive result.