Activism gains ground in heritage conservation, but falls short of filling the tank

After much controversy, Rani Pokhari is finally being rebuilt, using traditional methods

[M]ore than four years after the desecration of Ranipokhari by Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) in the name of ‘beautification’, the pond remains unfilled. All is not lost, however. The ongoing rebuilding process of Rani Pokhari is to some extent fulfilling. 

The 2015 earthquake damaged the Bal Gopaleswor Temple in the middle of the pond. The water body itself and the embankment walls remained intact, but the KMC misguidedly drained all the water, demolished the centuries-old brick embankment and replaced it with reinforced concrete in an effort to ‘modernise’ the pond. 

Despite public uproar over the vandalism of this holy site, Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya refused to back down from the project, vowing to build a coffee shop and recreation facilities in and around Rani Pokhari. Outraged activists finally threw the construction workers out and locked the premises in December 2017. Mayor Shakya was forced to remove the concrete he had poured.