June 5: The construction work of the ancient pond 'Kamalpokhari' located in Patihani has started at Bharatpur Municipality Ward No. 22. With an estimated cost of NPR 4.5 million, this pond is set to be completed next year, targeting Bharatpur Visit Year-2024.
After the completion of the pond, various structures such as a children's park, Tharu Cultural House, rest points, selfie points, and boating facilities will be constructed in the vicinity, according to Ward Chairman Bishnu Raj Mahato.
Tharu people believe that performing religious rituals in the Kamalpokhari and then releasing water into the Sundhara (a small canal) from the same pond has various traditional significances.
Therefore, the Tharu community has been conducting worship ceremonies in the pond for centuries. However, now the local government has allocated it as a commercial tourist destination. The concrete construction is underway to modernize the pond that has been adorned with lotus flowers for centuries.
According to Ward Chairman Mahato, the construction work has been carried out as per the Detailed Project Report (DPR). He mentioned, "This year, the ward has already spent 5.3 million rupees for the construction. We are constructing the structure of the pond in the shape of a lotus."
He also mentioned that two bridges will be constructed from both ends of the pond in the park under the name 'Kamalpokhari Park'. The metropolis plans to complete the construction work prior to the Bharatpur Visit 2024.
The Kamalpokhari covers an area of approximately three bighas, while the water surface of the pond is only about one bigha. The Park Construction Consumer Committee Chairman Madhav Acharya stated that the design of the pond has been sought to give it a modern touch without neglecting its original form.
Maharjan said, "We are not going to demolish the ancient structure of the pond but rather incorporate modernity according to the present time. We are also looking to connect Kamalpokhari with Umbrella Street and make it an attraction for tourists."
He further mentioned the inclusion of covered halls, Tharu museum, sports activities, and cultural events to enhance the attractiveness of Kamalpokhari. Local conservation activist Apil Ghimire emphasized to preserve the natural structure of Kamalpokhari.
Ghimire said, "We should not touch the ancient and archaeological structure, even if other structures are constructed outside the pond. We must maintain the integrity of the structure inside the pond."
Although the pond benefits the metropolis from a business perspective, concrete structures will adversely affect natural and biological diversity of the pond. Sitting at the lap of Chitwan National Park, the area is incorporated in 100 top tourist destinations in Nepal.