Dharahara has finally stood up. The iconic tower was reduced to rubbles when the 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck it on April 25, 2015. Also known as the Bhimsen Tower, Dharahara symbolises history, strength and fantasy of Nepali society. In 1825 when Nepal’s first Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa, who was then known as Mukhtiyar, built it, this reflected his nationalistic legacy and majestic power. Today the reconstructed historic monument demonstrated resilience, pride and dignity of Nepalis. When it tumbled down, killing 60 people in the great earthquake, it generated the feelings of gloom. As it is rebuilt magnificently and stands taller in height now, it instils confidence in the denizens to withstand similar calamity in the future.
The original Dharahara was 225 feet tall with 11 storeys, which were reduced to two storeys during the 1934 earthquake. It suffered two quakes and one lightning but continues to catch the fancy of Nepalis. Based on modern technology, the newly rebuilt 22-storey Dharahara bears traditional shape and colour. While inaugurating it on Saturday, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said that it was now strong and safe, and quintessentially maintains Nepali look. It is a reflection of history integrated with modernity. Terming it an icon of Kathmandu and Nepal, Oli said it would never fall again. It is a matter of big satisfaction and pride for the PM himself. During his first term in office, PM Oli had launched a campaign ‘I will build my Dharahara,’ which according to him, allowed people to take ownership of the 83-metre high heritage. He had also laid the foundation stone for the new tower on December 27, 2018.
It took 31 months to reconstruct the tower with two elevators and a traditional staircase having 380 steps, according to the news report of this daily. The tower features a 25-foot-high golden pinnacle that fascinates the viewers from far-off. Made of brass, around 95- kg gold and 300-kg silver were used for coating the pinnacle. Seven craftsmen worked for three months to make it. The entire Dharahara complex will cover an area of 42 ropanis of land and contains a coin museum, an earthquake museum, a triple basement underground parking, mini-exhibition theatre, park and musical fountains. The GITC/Raman Construction JV built it at a budget of Rs. 3.48 billion. These facilities offer additional delight and information to the visitors who come to climb it.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to provide job to a person of families which lost their members when the tower collapsed. This is indeed a praiseworthy step of government to compensate those whose loved ones perished in the Dharahara collapse. The public has to wait until November this year to enter the Dharahara Complex and ascent awe-inspiring tower located at the prime area of the capital city. Dharahara is now the government’s New Year gift to the people. With the timely construction of this heritage monument, the government has proven its mettle in the reconstruction of the structures damaged by the earthquake. This needs to be replicated in other areas of socio-economic life too, as the nation is poised to realise its lofty goal of Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali.