Dharahara

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Dharahara
धरहरा
KATHMANDU NEPAL FEB 2013 (8581665041).jpg
Dharahara in February 2013
Dharahara is located in Kathmandu Valley
Dharahara
Location within Kathmandu valley
Alternative namesBhimsen Tower
General information
StatusUnder Reconstruction
Architectural styleMughal and neoclassical style
LocationSundhara, Kathmandu, 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; two of the original nine storeys remained)
  • 25 April 2015 (2015-04-25) (2015 earthquake; a 10-metre-tall (33 ft) stump of the base remains)
Height79 metres (259 ft)
Design and construction
ArchitectBhimsen Thapa

Dharahara (Nepali: धरहरा), also called Bhimsen Tower, is a nine-storey, 61.88-metre-tall (203.0 ft)[1] tower at the centre of Sundhara, Kathmandu, Nepal.[2] It was built in 1832 by Mukhtiyar (equivalent to Prime Minister) Bhimsen Thapa under the commission of Queen Lalit Tripurasundari 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 October 2018.

History[edit]

The original 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 eleven storeys high, two storeys taller than the Dharahara. Dharahara is said to have been built for Queen Tripurasundari, who was the niece of Bhimsen Thapa.[8]

During the earthquake of 1834, both towers survived,[9] but the first of Bhimsen's two towers suffered severe damage. A century later, on 15 January 1934, another earthquake completely destroyed the first tower, and only two of the nine storeys of the second tower remained. The then Prime Minister of Nepal, Juddha Shumsher Jang Bahadur Rana, subsequently carried out renovation work of the Dharahara tower to fully restore it.[3] After the original Bhimsen Tower was destroyed, Queen Lalit Tripurasundari's tower came to be known as Bhimsen Stambha (Nepali: भिमसेन स्तम्भ, lit.'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]

2015 earthquake and reconstruction[edit]

The remains of Dharahara after the 2015 earthquake

On 25 April 2015, another earthquake, with an estimated magnitude of 7.8 (Mw), hit Kathmandu and its surrounding 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 KP 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, chief executive of the National Reconstruction Agency, the new tower will be earthquake-resistant.[14] The foundation stone of the new tower was laid down on 27 December 2018.[15]

The reconstruction of Dharahara, which will now be a high-tech structure, started on 10 October 2018. The new Dharahara would look similar to the old one, however, it would be equipped with modern amenities. As per the reconstruction plan, the new Dharahara would be 245 ft. tall with 11-storeys, however, it would be of 21-storeys from the inside. The new structure will have a mini exhibition theatre on the 18th floor, a mint museum, a ‘Green Park’, a musical fountain, vehicle parking area, a souvenir shop and a food court, among other attractions.[16][17]

Architecture[edit]

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]

Before collapse[edit]

The tower was a major tourist attraction and was open to the public from 2005 until its collapse in 2015.

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.[18]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "In pictures: Earthquake in Nepal demolishes Darahara Tower". DNA. Retrieved 25 April 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c "Bhimsen Tower on LonelyPlanet Guide". The Lonely Planet. Retrieved 2011-12-14. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b "Historic Dharahara tower collapses in Kathmandu after earthquake". DNA India. 25 April 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Nepal earthquake topples historical Dharhara tower". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 25 April 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Historical Bhimsen Tower (Dharhara) in Kathmandu destroyed in earthquake". World Snap. Retrieved 25 April 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Robert Midgley (25 April 2015). "19th century tower collapses from earthquake in Nepal". The Telegraph. AP. Retrieved 26 April 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Nepal To Rebuild Historic Dharahara Tower On Its Own". NDTV. 16 February 2016. Archived from the original on 18 February 2016.
  15. ^ "PM Oli lays base for Dharahara amid cultural activists' protests". kathmandupost.com. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  16. ^ "This is what new Dharahara would look like". kathmandupost.com. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  17. ^ "PM Oli lays base for Dharahara amid cultural activists' protests". kathmandupost.com. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  18. ^ "It speaks of history, but the glory is lost". Kantipur News Daily. 17 December 2010. Retrieved 26 April 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)