For now, Rani Pokhari reconstruction is progressing steadily, using appropriate technical knowhow and following ancient pond construction methods. But this is true only for preventing the pond water from seeping into the ground. Getting water into the pond will be another story altogether.
In addition to rainwater, the NRA is thinking of drilling a deep well and a dedicated Melamchi pipe to fill the pond. But the long-term sustainability of this method is contested by Sudarshan Raj Tiwari, a historian and member of the expert committee formed by KMC in 2018 to guide Rani Pokhari rehabilitation.
“According to Vastu principles, Pratap Malla must have dug separate wells to fill and to drain the pond in the northeast and southeast corners respectively,” says Tiwari. “This was the ancient, proven and sustainable way of keeping the water flow under human control. The present reconstruction method is not investigating this method.”
Cultural preservation activist Sudin Manandhar feels Rani Pokhari is being turned into a traditional swimming pool. “If the ancient system of natural water flow is not revived, the valuable engineering knowledge of our ancestors is lost forever. That lowers the value of the historical pond,” he says.
Read also: Save Rani Pokhari