President Inaugurates Reconstructed Ranipokhari, Durbar High School

Kathmandu, Oct. 22: Newly reconstructed Ranipokhari and Durbar High School, the two iconic historic monuments facing each other at the heart of the capital city, were inaugurated on Wednesday. Both the heritages were badly damaged in the 2015 earthquake. They are among the first major monuments – among 800 damaged in the quake – to be reconstructed.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari inaugurated the reconstructed structures and handed them over to the concerned authorities in separate functions held today.

On the occasion, President Bhandari prayed at the puja marking the installation of the newly reconstructed Balgopaleswar Temple in the middle of the Ranipokhari and offered sacred water to the pond.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Deputy Prime Minister Ishwar Pokhrel, Ministers and other dignitaries also offered holy water brought from various sacred rivers from different parts of the country, said the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA).

Ranipokhari has been rebuilt in its original style, look and technology, despite facing various hurdles and challenges. Addressing the function, President Bhandari expressed her satisfaction over the NRA’s integrated master plan to develop the Ranipokhari area, including Ratna Park, Khula Manch, Tundikhel, Bhrikuti Mandap and Dasharath Stadium. “This master plan, along with under-construction Dharahara area, will provide people in Kathmandu with an extensive open area,” she said.

In his welcome address, Chief Executive Officer of the NRA Sushil Gyewali updated about various aspects of the post-earthquake reconstruction, including rebuilding of private houses and heritage sites.
“We are working to complete the retrofitting of the main façade of the Singh Durbar. We plan to complete to shift the Prime Minister’s Office to this new site by mid-December.” He also said that the main structure of 22-storey Dharahara would be completed by early next year.

The reconstruction of Ranipokhari was carried out under the aegis of the local users’ committee while the construction of Balgopaleswar Temple, the bridge and the beautification works have been done through a contracting company.

Besides involving the local community and cultural experts, the traditional artisans from Bhaktapur contributed significantly in rebuilding the basement of the pond.Rs. 280 million was spent for the reconstruction of Ranipokhari and Balgopaleswar Temple.

Built in Malla era style

Originally known as Nhu Pukhu (New Pond in Newari), Ranipokhari now wears a new look with the Balgopaleswar Temple in the middle of the pond built in Malla-era style called Granthakut or Shikhar more than 350 years ago.
Although many people see the temple as completely new, this has been reconstructed in the original style built during the reign of King of Kantipur Pratap Malla in 1669. Later, Rana Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana rebuilt the temple in Gumbaz style in 1803. After the devastating earthquake in 1933, Juddha Shumsher Rana again rebuilt the temple in Gumbaz style. The earthquake had damaged the temple beyond repair. President Bhandari had laid the foundation stone for the reconstruction of Ranipokhari on January 16, 2016.

Almost two years after the foundation stone was laid, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) formed an 11-member expert group under the leadership of Bishnuraj Karki, former Director General of the Department of Archeology (DoA). This group suggested rebuilding the Balgopaleswar Temple in Malla-era style.
The group meeting chaired by the then Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation late Rabindra Adhikari decided to rebuild the temple in Shikhar or Granthakut style.
As the reconstruction got delayed due to various issues and concerns raised by the local community and culture experts, the government handed over the responsibility of rebuilding Ranipokhari to the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) on January 28, 2019. Soon after, the NRA formed a five-member users’ committee under
the leadership of Ajay Ratna Sthapit to construct the basement and the inner wall to hold water on March 2. 2019. The NRA had signed an agreement with CA/Tulsi Construction JV on July 9, 2019 to construct the Balgopaleswar temple and the bridge. The Gajur, pinnacle or spire, was installed on the temple on October 1, 2020. Country’s first school

Durbar High School, the country’s first school, has received a major facelift after the workers from Nepal and China worked hard to rebuild the school facilities under the financial assistance of the Chinese government.
The old school which was established by the Rana regime in 1854 was already in a dilapidated condition and could not withstand the quake in April 2015.

Though the Rana regime built the school to provide quality education to their children only, the Rana Prime Minister Dev Shumsher Rana opened the school for general public in 1901.
The historic school has now been rebuilt with all the necessary modern facilities and the government hopes to improve the education standard in the school.

The Chinese government has spent around Rs. 900 million to rebuild the school in which 1,000 students can be accommodated now.

– The Rising Nepal

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