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Monday, January 19, 2009

Rani Pokhari or The Queen Pond

Rani Pokhari, the Queen pond is yet another example of Nepali architectural wonder that stages the craftsmanship and endurance of the Nepali Newari style and essence. Like other architectural design, the Rani Pokhari is crafted in a distinct Chaitya style which spreads upon 62 ropanies in the explicit space. It is one of the most enigmatic and mystical spectacle that captivates pedestrian’s attention with its abstract abundance, synchronizing it as the magical wonderland of endless stories and myths. Located in the northern end of Tudikhel, the pond is rectangle in shape and runs its banks roughly through north south and east west. Marking the pond, a Shiva Temple (Balgopaleshwar Mahadev) resides in the center that is connected to the west bank by a straight causeway. The architectural jewel dates back to the 17th centaury Malla reign highlighting the supremacy of the Newari architectural design and craftsmanship of the time. History has it that Rani Pokhari was built by King Pratap Malla to console the bereaved Queen Anantapriya on the death of her youngest son, Prince Chakrawatendra Malla. From then it has adopted as a symbol of historical and religious value. Currently, the pond is fenced by iron bar creating an extra sense of enthusiasm. Moreover, the 336 years old pond is restricted to enter for any purpose that engages its enigma where time is endless waiting for its toll. The temple is opened just once in a year for the general public on the fifth day of Tihar festival i.e. Bhai Tika (Brother’s Day) where ladies without any brother or men without any sister pay a special worship in the temple on that particular day. Similarly it is in this place that they put on Bhai Tika to their newly made brothers or sisters. Apart from its historical background, its location and charm has been magnetizing native people as well as foreigners through its vivid and audacious ambience. Furthermore, orchestrating the Hindu belief, temples of Ganesh, Bhairab, Narayan and Saraswati are inhabited for protection in the four corners of the pond outside the periphery. Inside the abode, you can see the King and his two sons mounted on a big white elephant, portraying the status of the Kings at that time. The abode also homes number of scripted stones in its vicinity and it is believed that King Pratap Malla had setup four giant scripted stones in the four corners of the pond. Though, researchers have exacerbated places in search of the scripted stones, it is believed that the northwest stone was located about 36.6 metres away of the pond. It is embedded in a wall and half of it is buried below the ground level. The other northeast stone lies in the Bir Durbar at the corner of a small shrine and is situated about 228.6 metres northeast of the pond. On investigation of ground, a third stone was found buried in the compound of Bir Hospital in the southwest corner where as the southeast stone has not been excavated till today. Ironically, Rani Pokhari is the most beautiful and gracious pond located in the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan buzz depicting the pictorial clique as a mystery for pedestrians passing by. Still long after its establishment, it stands as a symbol of beauty personifying time in its elegance where people are seduced to its abode for a glance.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi


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