Ranipokhari, a man-made sanctuary situated in the heart of the Kathmandu City is now a mess to look at. The awe-inspiring view of the square-shaped pond has turned into a muddy and bushy land because of negligence from the concerned authority.
As any other infrastructure dated in history, Ranipokhari too has a special reason behind its construction. It relates to King Pratap Malla from the 17th century. When the son of the then king Pratap Malla, Chajravartindra Malla was declared as the successor of the throne as a part of his abdication in favor of his five sons each of whom would rule for one year, a grand ceremony was organized. The Crown Prince who was taking a majestic ride on a royal elephant suddenly ran wild trampling the Crown Prince to death on the second day of his resign. The whole royal family went through a moment of grief but the Queen couldn’t make out of it. In order to solace the Queen and his family, the King ordered for a pond to be dug which was then filled with the holy water from more than 50 rivers confluences in Nepal and India like Gosaikunda, Muktinath, Badrinath, Kedarnath and poured into the pond to sanctify it. After the completion of the pond, visiting the pond became a part of the daily chore for the Queen. This is how the pond got its name, Ranipokhari—Queen’s Pond.
Originally, the pond was built with Balgopaleshwor Temple (also known as Yamaleshwor or Jamaleshwor Mahadev)—a temple in the middle having a domed roof reminiscent of classical Indian Mughal architecture surmounted by a copper spire. The images of Shiva Lingam and other deities—Bhairab, Harishankar, Shakti, and Tarkeshwari at each corner were also featured. The statue of an elephant carrying three passengers thought to be three male members of the Pratap Malla’s family on its back on the southern embankment is a scene to watch.
Unfortunately, the iconic monument is no more a beauty to watch. The earthquake of April 25, 2015, made a huge damage to the temple. And even after 3 years since the quake, the Ranipokhari temple is in a state of dilapidation. As many as NRs. 25 million has already been spent in the reconstruction of the temple out of the contracted amount of NRs. 70 million. But, it is such a pity that all the money spent in the reconstruction went in vain because of the dispute that emerged among the locals, Department of Archaeology, and Kathmandu Metropolis. But now, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has decided to construct the temple along with other structures in need of renovation by removing the modern structures raised so far.