“At a time when Kathmandu Valley is reeling under an acute water shortage, a historic stone water spout at Sithu Wasah Hiti, which flows 24 hours a day, stands virtually useless in Patan of Lalitpur district.
“Only certain families at Aluko, Patan have been using water from Sithu Wasah Hiti, which was built when this historic city was ruled by Licchavi kings centuries ago.
“Some locals are always to be seen jostling for just a bucket of water at nearby Wasah Hiti, just a stone´s throw away. But, hardly anyone is seen filling water at Sithu Wasah Hiti.
Why? ‘This stone spout (at Sithu Wasah Hiti) is meant for low caste people,’ says Shayam Mahargjan, a local resident. ‘Water from this spout is useless for other people. We don’t use it.’
“Only some 35 Pode families, who are still considered by others as the lowest of low castes within the Newar community, use Sithi Wash Hiti. After the Pode families fill up their vessels, Sithu Wasah Hiti stands useless all day. So, like the Pode families, even their water spout is also treated by so-called higher castes as untouchable. Aluko is at the north-eastern edge of Patan and cane be reached from Kathmandu city in 15 minutes. [...]
“‘The water is pure and drinkable but most people hesitate to use it,’ said Prayag Lal Joshi, a local and an expert on such matters. Joshi has conducted extensive research on the stone water-spouts of the capital. He said that even educated people blindly follow the taboo. [...]
“‘Neither do people of low caste go to the public water-spouts used by the so-called upper castes,’ Joshi added.”
See also on anti-caste: NEPAL VILLAGE: WATER TAPS SEGREGATED BY CASTE (July 29, 2012)