There is a Ranipokhari in Bhaktapur. Most people might have had no idea about this historic pond’s existence before the issue of its reconstruction. The mighty pond is said to be 40 years older than the Ranipokhari of Kathmandu. That’s why the Ranipokhari of Kathmandu used to be called “Nhu Pukhu “ which means the New pond. However, this Ranipohari of Bhaktapur is not as big as Kathmandu’s.
As per the historian Dr Purushottam Lochan Shrestha, the Ranipokhari of Bhaktapur was ordered to be built by King Jagat Jyoti Malla, one of the greatest kings of Bhaktapur. It is assumed that he ordered to built the pond in remembrance of his wife, Queen Rajlaxmi.
The founded inscriptions state that it was built in 1687B.S.(1630 A.D, 750N.S.) within a timeframe of 5 months only. Later, it was renovated by King Jitmitra Malla in 1735. During the renovation, several statues of gods and goddesses were believed to be installed there. However, there are no signs of those artefacts in the current Ranipokhari.
Unfolding history somehow reveals the facts that the pond was severally destroyed during the invasions of Kantipur and Lalitpur in Bhaktapur. Also, the artefacts appeared to be stolen during that time.
It is said that there used to be a snake statue in the middle of the pond. As per some folklore, there stood the head of the “BasukiNaag” in this pond. Likewise, the body and the tails in the Shiddhapokhari and Na pukhu respectively.
(These three ponds Ranipokhari, Shiddhapokhari and Na: Pukhu are considered sisters ponds.)
Besides the historical importance, it has another reason to be an important place to the Bhaktapurians. The Prajapati, Awal, Jochhen, Maharjan, Bhujitu, Rajlawat people of Bhaktapur do their digu puja at the premises of Ranipokhari. Moreover, they certainly perform the Ihi as well as the Bartabanda ceremony over there.
On the southern part of Ranipokhari, there is a “Sattal” which had great use in the past. It is said that when Bhaktapur used to welcome Harishiddhi Naach and Naradevi Naach that used to be held once in 12 years, the dancers, as well as their team, used to rest in that Sattal before entering the Bhaktapur Nagar.
Similarly, during Biska Jatra, a khadga used to come from Hanuman Dhoka Durbar which was also used to first settle down at the same sattal before entering Bhaktapur.
Ranipokhari soon would be declared open for the public. It was actually closed for the public since 2040 B.S. The land was used for army training and was under the control of the current Sainik Awasiya Vidhyalaya.
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Bhaktapur Municipality, Bhaktapur District, Nepal.