Wednesday, 19 June, 2024

Bode’s Kamalpokhari restored to original state


By Indira Aryal
Bhaktapur, Sept. 21:Kamal Pokhari (Lotus Pond) in Bode of Madhyapur Thimi Municipality in Bhaktapur, which was registered in a person’s name, has been recovered and transformed into its original status again.
The pond, which is called Paleswan Pukhu locally, spreads over 15 ropanis of land and was covered with grass until last year, but now with the efforts of the municipality and the locals, it has gained its previous look: beautiful lake filled with crystal clear water.

The locals, who had never imagined that the 300-year-old historic pond, which had been registered under the name of Kanchi Podini in 1974 by the then Bode Village Panchayat-6, would be turned into a beautiful pond.
Locals said Podini was entrusted with the responsibility of taking care of Kumari Temple, which is nearby the pond. Later, she used to farm fish in the pond for her living. “We never expected she would grab the pond and would cheat all the locals,” said Krishna Bahadur Hona, a social worker and local resident of Bode-8.

There has been a legal backlash led by the locals against Kanchi Podini for selling the pond to various people in 1994 including Galbo Gurung at Rs. 1 million, although the district court of Bhaktapur ruled in favour of the locals in 2018. Again, the case transferred to Patan High Court, which is currently pending.

The municipality has now accorded the pond a special importance and has been conserving, consolidating and promoting it by operating boats to attract domestic and foreign tourists.
After the Bhaktapur District Court ruled the pond was a public property, the municipality took initiatives to conserve and protect it. The municipality is currently carrying out protection and other works with the support of the locals. The municipality has allocated Rs. 7.5 million for its conservation for the current fiscal year, said Mayor of the Municipality Madan Sundar Shrestha.

The municipality has assigned the task of purchasing two boats for Rs. 500,000 to the Pancho Ganesh Krishi Group led by 20 local youths. After Mayor Shrestha handed over the boats to the group, the boats have been brought into operation since the past week. After it became attractive, the pond has become a place for housewives and senior citizens to walk around.

After the restoration of the pond and the operation of boats, locals are very optimistic about the development of tourism in the area.
Kanchha Shrestha, 75, of Bode-8, said that he used to pick up lotus flowers from the pond when he was young, but the dire condition of the pond after 1994 always hurt him. “Now we all are happy about the restoration of the pond and this has become a place to pass our free time,” he said.

In the past, there was a tradition of picking flowers from the pond and offering them to the gods and goddesses in the Nilbarahi dance and Bisket Jatra, but for decades it had been in a state of disrepair due to lack of protection efforts.

With the recent construction of pavements and slopes around the pond, there has been a significant increase in the number of people coming for morning walks, the locals said.
According to Mayor Shrestha, the municipality has handed over the boats to the young local consumers so as to make it alive. He also expressed confidence that the number of internal and external tourists would increase with the launch of the boat ride.

Bijay Prajapati, chairman of the Kumari Temple Improvement Committee, said that they had cleaned the pond for 15 days after filling the water and that they had been given responsibility to operate the boats. Some 300 people visit the pond every day and are happy to take a boat ride at Rs. 20 per head, he informed.

“Some 20,000 fries have been released recently in the pond under the leadership of the youth group,” he informed, adding, “The two boats received from the municipality will be opened to the public shortly by making certain regulations.”