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KATHMANDU NEPAL FEB 2013 (8581665041).jpg
Dharahara tower in February 2013
Dharahara is located in Nepal
Location in Kathmandu, Nepal
General information
LocationKathmandu, Nepal
Coordinates27°42′03″N 85°18′43″E / 27.7007°N 85.3119°E / 27.7007; 85.3119Coordinates: 27°42′03″N 85°18′43″E / 27.7007°N 85.3119°E / 27.7007; 85.3119
Completed1832 (1832) or later
Destroyed• 15 January 1934 (1934-01-15) (1934 earthquake)
• 25 April 2015 (2015-04-25) (2015 earthquake; a 10-metre-tall (33 ft) stump of the base remains)
Height61.88 metres (203.0 ft)
Design and construction
ArchitectBhimsen Thapa

Dharahara (Nepali: धरहरा), also called Bhimsen Tower, was a nine-storey, 61.88-metre-tall (203.0 ft)[1] tower at the center of Sundhara in Kathmandu.[2] It was built in 1832 by Mukhtiyar (equivalent to Prime Minister) Bhimsen Thapa under the commission of Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari and was a part of the architecture of Kathmandu recognized by UNESCO.[3]

The tower had a spiral staircase containing 213 steps. The eighth floor held a circular balcony for observers that provided a panoramic view of the Kathmandu valley. It also had a 5.2-metre (17 ft) bronze mast on the roof.[2]

Most of the tower collapsed in the 25 April 2015 Nepal earthquake, but the base remains.[4][5] Sixty bodies were found in the rubble.[6] Reconstruction of the tower commenced in June 2018.


The first Dharahara before the 1934 earthquake

Dharahara in Kathmandu was the tallest building in Nepal and the second such tower built by Bhimsen Thapa.[7] The first tower was built eight years earlier in 1824 and was 11 stories high, two stories taller than the Dharahara. Dharahara is said to be built for Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari, who was the niece of Bhimsen Thapa.[8]

During the earthquake of 1834, both towers survived,[9] but the first Bhimsen's tower suffered severe damage. A century later, on 15 January 1934, another earthquake completely destroyed the first tower, and only two of the 9 stories of the second tower remained. The then Prime Minister of Nepal, Juddha Shumsher, subsequently carried out renovation work of the Dharahara tower to fully restore it.[3] After the original Bhimsen Tower was destroyed, Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari's tower became known as 'Bhimsen Stambha' or 'Bhimsen Tower'.

Dharahara was constructed for military usage as a watchtower. When incidents of national importance occurred, bugles were blown from the top floor of the tower. This was the signal for soldiers to assemble. This tradition of bugle trumpeting continued until the collapse of the tower.[2][10]

On 25 April 2015, another earthquake, with an estimated magnitude of 7.8 (Mw), hit the region, leading to the collapse of the tower.[5] The earthquake's epicenter was approximately 29 kilometres (18 mi) east-southeast of Lamjung, Nepal.[4] The structure collapsed and only its base survived.[11][12][13]

In February 2016, the government decided to rebuild the tower, and Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli and his cabinet ministers contributed one month's salary to the rebuilding. A fund called I will construct Dharahara was also established to collect money for the reconstruction. According to Sushil Gyawali, a civil engineer who heads the National Reconstruction Agency, the new tower will be earthquake-resistant.[14] The foundation stone of the new tower is to be laid down on 24 April 2016.[15]


The architecture of Dharahara was designed in both Mughal and European style. It resembled an Islamic minaret. The statue of Hindu deity Shiva was placed on the top of the tower.[8]

Tourism before collapse[edit]

The tower was a major tourist attraction and was open to the public from 2005 until its collapse in 2015. The fare for entering the site and ascending the tower was set at the following rates:[2]

  • Foreigners – US$4.00 (around NPR 400)
  • SAARC nationals – US$1.00 (around NPR 100)
  • Locals – NPR 50 (around US$0.50)
  • Locals under age 5 and over 65 – Free

The management of Dharahara when it was standing came under severe scrutiny from locals and tourists. The Heritage Department of Kathmandu Metropolitan City came under severe criticism for its lack of effort to protect the heritage site.[16]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "In pictures: Earthquake in Nepal demolishes Darahara Tower". DNA. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d "Bhimsen Tower on LonelyPlanet Guide". The Lonely Planet. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  3. ^ a b "For Sale". The Kathmandu Post. 3 May 2013. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2015 – via HighBeam.
  4. ^ a b Deepak Nagpal (25 April 2015). "LIVE: Two major quakes rattle Nepal; historic Dharahara Tower collapses, deaths reported in India". Zee News. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Historic Dharahara tower collapses in Kathmandu after earthquake". DNA India. 25 April 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  6. ^ Barry, Ellen (25 April 2015). "Earthquake Devastates Nepal, Killing More Than 1,100". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "Too tall for comfort". The Kathmandu Post. 11 January 2010. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2015 – via HighBeam.
  8. ^ a b Melissah Yang (25 April 2015). "Nepal Earthquake Destroys Dharahara Tower, A Significant Tourist Attraction In The Heart Of Kathmandu". Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  9. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_ScCEK05fQ
  10. ^ "Quake turns two historic landmarks in Kathmandu into rubble". Hindustan Times. 25 April 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  11. ^ "Nepal earthquake topples historical Dharhara tower". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Historical Bhimsen Tower (Dharhara) in Kathmandu destroyed in earthquake". World Snap. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  13. ^ Robert Midgley (25 April 2015). "19th century tower collapses from earthquake in Nepal". The Telegraph. AP. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Nepal To Rebuild Historic Dharahara Tower On Its Own". NDTV. 16 February 2016. Archived from the original on 18 February 2016.
  15. ^ Acharya, Pushpa Raj (17 February 2016). "Nepalis asked to chip in for rebuilding iconic Dharahara". The Himalayan Times. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
  16. ^ "It speaks of history, but the glory is lost". Kantipur News Daily. 17 December 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2015.

External links[edit]

Media related to Dharahara at Wikimedia Commons