Ranipokhari, the Queen’s pond

Ranipokhari, meaning Queen’s pond, is the artificial square-shaped pond in the heart of Kathmandu.

History relates the pond to King Pratap Malla, the king of Kathmandu. When King Pratap Malla declared his son Chakravartindra Malla as his successor to the throne in 1709, a grand ceremony was observed to celebrate the occasion. Unfortunately, the elephant, on which the Crown Prince sat majestically, suddenly ran wild.  The would-be-king lost his life. King Pratap Malla and his wife were in a deep sorrow. The king recovered, but the queen couldn’t. Out of ideas, the king ordered for the pond to be dug to console his wife. After its completion, the queen visited the pond every evening. And so the pond became the Queen’s pond, or Ranipokhari.

The inscriptions at the pond tell us that the king, after having consulted the priests fetched water from many holy places of Nepal and India. The pond has been filled with water from various pilgrim places like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gosaikunda, Muktinath, and Kaligandaki and so on.  That is why; the Nepalese law forbids people from committing suicide in this pond even today.

The statues of King Pratap Malla and his family members south of the pond are worth a watch. And so is the Shiva temple situated amidst the temple. Unfortunately, the temple is open only once a year on the day of Bhaitika (the last day of Tihar) when all Hindu women pray for the prosperity of their brothers. Furthermore, only those people who do not have their own brothers to pray for go to the temple.

The fenced walls of Ranipokhari have been able to safeguard the pond’s history for three hundred years.  But the pond shows no signs of that. It looks as new as it can be and it is as welcoming as it can be.