Bhaktapur workers giving Ranipokhari old touch

By Binu Shrestha

poKathmandu, Aug. 11: A person going past Ratna Park to Jamal can see a group of women busy digging a swathe of black soil, each passing it to another them in a circle and pasting the soil on the wall inside the Ranipokhari.
A few men can be seen building the surrounding wall in a traditional design. As per this design, the bricks are being laid and stuck in the support of sticky black soil.
All the workers at Ranipokhari come from Bhakatpur at 10 am and return home at 5 pm. They have been working in a group to restore the historical pond.
Daily, 30 to 40 women and 10 to 15 men have been making contribution of their labour, idea and time to rebuild the historic pond. Construction of a wall on the west section has completed and works to build a wall towards the Ratna Park is moving on swiftly.
Chandeshwori Bamanu, 35, has been contributing with her skills to building the pond even though she lost her husband three months ago.
“I came here to fulfill his dream leaving my 18-month-old daughter with her grandparents at home. My husband was a social worker and had actively worked for society and to preserve the heritage. He worked here as a treasurer of Ranipokhari Consumers Committee (RCC)” she recalled.
“The sudden death of my husband hurt me a lot buts also encouraged me to join this group,” she said.
“I have been working here for three months and it has made me proud and happy that I am contributing to rebuilding the historical pond,” she said.
Most of the workers working here had earlier worked at Bhaju Pond of Bhaktapur which is now under reconstruction. The committee has brought them to rebuild the historic pond because of their working experience. Ranipokhari is being reconstructed applying similar method like Bhaju Pond using the black soil, said Ajay Sthapit, president of the committee.
“We dug the foundation and built the wall over here. After pasting the soil here on the wall we will rebuild the 350-year-old pond,” he said.
Works in the Ranipokhari has been divided in two phases. The committee has been handling works of the wall building and ground parts of the pond and the Construction Company, CA/Tulsi Contractors, will reconstruct the Balgopaleshwar Temple, bridge and a garden surrounding the pond.
The committee has begun works in the pond from the day of Shivaratri on March 4 at a cost of Rs. 95 million. The committee has been working with a target to complete the pond before the day of Bhai Tika of the Tihar festival.
An agreement was signed in July between the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) and the joint venture of the Construction Company CA/Tulsi Contractors to reconstruct, the Balgopaleshwar Temple, bridge and a garden surrounding the Ranipokhari.
The agreed budget for the reconstruction is Rs. 140 million.
Reconstruction works of Ranipokhari will complete by the end of Baishak month, said Manohar Ghimire, information officer of NRA.
The required black soil is brought from Sankhu area. The consumer committee has been working using this soil to build the wall. The soil is also being applied in the ground section to protect water from leakage, said Lokendra Khadgi, in-charge of the committee.
“We have built two demo ponds to check the quality of black soil. It proved the black soil was of good quality and useful to control water leakage from the ground. The committee has decided to apply black soil over the ground,” he said.
The black soil holds water in its place. This is the property of the black soil, he said.
The pond has been reconstructed in traditional Malla-era style by applying with the traditional technology and construction materials. The pond was originally built by Pratap Malla in 1670 BS. 

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