Traditional stonespouts
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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

ImageStonespouts are more popularly known as Hiti, a Newari term for stonespouts. It is a sunken paved area equipped with at least one decorative spout, a jaadhoon (overflow structure), an outlet and idols of different deities.  Many parts of the Kathmandu city are named after the Hitis such as Bhotahiti, Thanhiti, Maruhiti, Kohiti, Banjahiti, Lunhiti (Sundhara) and, Nugahiti (Sundhara) in Lalitpur. The spout systems were first of all created and established by the Lichhavi rulers and expanded mostly by the Malla rulers. The oldest stonespout discovered in the Valley till date was built during the Lichhavi ruler Mandev I in the Sixth Century (550 A.D.) in Hadigaon area and his daughter built the second one in Mangal Bazar, Lalitpur in 570 A.D. The traditional stonespouts also hold aesthetic, cultural and traditional importance besides being a continuous source of water to the city dwellers. Thus stonespouts are traditional water supply systems that have been in continuous use for hundreds of years.

Stonespouts are natural springs that were developed as sites for public water consumption several hundred years ago. Even though some stonespouts are in critical condition and some exist no more, there are 389 stonespouts in the five municipal areas of the Valley. Apart from 68 spouts that have gone dry and 43 are connected to the city supply line (KUKL connections) instead of its natural water flow system while 233 stone spouts still serve as independent water sources catering approximately 10% of Kathmandu’s population today. As a result of unmanaged urban growth and gross neglect of the community and concerned agencies, 45 stonespouts do not exist anymore.

Kathmandu Valley, an area of 500 square kilometers is a home to about 4 million strong population. Water is central to the well-being of the population and key to its productive capacities. But current water services are grossly inadequate and unreliable. Nearly all of the surface water sources and ground water sources have been exploited. Whenever the discussion arises about water crisis, all the time the increased population and unplanned urbanization are to be blamed. Kathmandu Valley is the best example of this where people are struggling to get adequate water to meet daily requirements and at the same time facing problem of unsafe water.  Due to the inadequate and intermittent piped water supply, many people in the Valley are returning to age-old traditional water sources such as stone spouts, and dug wells to meet daily water need. Thus, many people with a majority of urban poor and tenants in the core city areas are mainly dependent on the spouts for their water needs.

Traditional stonespouts in the Kathmandu Valley: 


Naturally working

Working with city supply line

Not working

Not exist








Madhyapur Thimi 






























(Source: Traditional Stonespouts Enumeration and Mapping, NGOFUWS, 2008)
Last Updated ( Thursday, 30 September 2010 )