Sundhara; the golden conduit of Bhaktapur Durbar Square

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  • (That pond might be called today's Mahadev Pokhari, where every year, on the month of Poush/Magh, devotees come and take bath as well as worship at the nearby Mahadev temple.)

  • It is also called Luhiti.

Sundhara; the golden conduit of Bhaktapur Durbar Square

Must be in amazement, estimating that where the ordeal Sundhara is in Bhaktapur?

Well, Sundhara is one archaic conduit of Bhaktapur that lies within the Bhaktapur Durbar Square. It aesthetically is a very famous Hiti. Here, Hiti is a term, meaning the taps in the local language. Yes, this conduit which lies beneath the ground level is most commonly known as the Nagpokhari of the Durbar square.

PC: Sameer Shakya

The conduit and it’s surroundings are all crafted and decorated through the images of serpents. Things might be the probable reason behind calling this golden conduit as Naag Pokhari. But in the studies, this conduit along with the pond was called Sundhara, which literally means the golden conduit.

You might also find people calling it Luhiti, which also means the golden conduit exactly in Nepal Bhasa ( most commonly known as the newari language).

Sundhara, on the other hand, is a symbol of unique aesthetic grace which is as its name is golden. It has one of the most extricating carvings on the mouth of the spout. The head of a non-castrated he-goat and the figures of different animals and Gods posing in that court really make you say, awe-inspiring.

Furthermore, in front of Sundhara, there is a diminutive pond, in the middle of which an image of gold-plated Naag with a wooden pillar do stands. Perhaps, that’s why people also call this arena Naag Pokhari rather then Sundhara.

Well, around the Sundhara and the pond, you can examine the brick thoroughfare with the stonewall enclosed by the amounts of the serpent including numerous figures of Gods and Goddesses.

Thus, it is unique.

About the making of Sundhara

Bhaktapur and its monuments, never stay emptied without an ambiguous and fascinating story. So, the same goes for this Sundhara.

King Jitmitra Malla, who seems to had contributed a lot to make temples, courtyards, and the palace itself was also one of the most creative kings of Bhaktapur. It is said that one night the Goddess Taleju obliged herself before King Jitamitra Malla, in his dream while the construction of the Thanthu royal palace was on, to the east of Taleju temple.

Know more about the Malla kings of Bhaktapur.

She then instructed him to make preparation for fetching water from the Mahadev river of Nagarkot to carry out the periodic worship of Taleju in the palace.

Consequently, water was then collected from around the smaller streams originating from Mahadev mountain in big storage. It was then diverted into a pond for necessary treatment and finally brought to the golden spout inside the palace through the Royal Cannel (Raj Kulo).

(That pond might be called today’s Mahadev Pokhari, where every year, on the month of Poush/Magh, devotees come and take bath as well as worship at the nearby Mahadev temple.)

The initiated work of constructing Sundhara along with the pond was begun in 1678 (798 Nepal Sambat) and completed in 1683 (803Nepal Sambat).

There is an even more impressive story recounted about this Sundhara. As per the anecdote, on the inauguration day of this Sundhara and pond, religious worship was offered to the Taleju Goddess invoking Tantrik Shakti, and a pair of white ducks were left to flow through this spout.

Legend has it that these ducks easily passed through the mouth of Sundhara turning into a smaller size. They were seen swimming in the pond. This process of appearing and disappearing of these ducks was said to be observed till some generations of the Malla period.

More about the Sundhara

  • The earliest water source of this conduit was Mahadev Pokhari, Nagarkot which later was took over by the modern piped system.
  • However, amid the disruption of Raj Kulo, Sundhara also lost its natural source of water, and today, the modern piped system has been enlarged with the existing infrastructure of Sundhara. Though the water supply is limited and the water streams, for a few hours in the morning and evening for religious worship which also seems not regular.
  • The water Suntdhara was used for the worship of Thanthu palace. Also, the king and queen used to take bath in this conduit before leaving to have a rest near the Khopi (resting room).
  • The water of this conduit is still used to worship the Goddess Taleju. However, sometimes, the irregularity of the water flow compels to use the encaged pond water nearby for the religious worship in the Taleju temple.

Reference

Research paper on water and culture-Ganesh Khaniya

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