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Dharahara: Dharahara In Kathmandu Was The Amazing Building In Nepal


Dharahara or Seto Tower is a 72-meter (236 ft)[1] tall tower in the middle of Sundhara, Kathmandu, Nepal (Nepali: ; pronounced [da] or [da]). It was initially constructed in 1832 by Mukhtiyar (equivalent to the Prime Minister) Bhimsen Thapa at the request of Queen Lalit Tripurasundari and is a piece of Kathmandu’s architecture that has been designated by UNESCO. It has experienced numerous damages and reconstructions.

The tower had a spiral staircase with 213 steps. A circular balcony for guests on the eighth floor offered a bird’s-eye view of the Kathmandu valley. On the roof was a five-and-a-half-meter (17-foot) bronze mast.

Credit: Flickr

The earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015 caused the tower’s majority of the structure to collapse, but the base is still there. 180 bodies in total were found in the tower’s rubble after the earthquake. The tower started to be rebuilt in October 2018, and on April 24, 2021—the day before the earthquake’s sixth anniversary—it was formally opened.


The second tower of its kind constructed by Bhimsen Thapa, the Dharahara in Kathmandu is the tallest structure in Nepal. At his home, Janarala Bagh, which is located south-east of Sundhara, close to Bhotebahal of Kathmandu, the first tower was constructed eight years earlier, in 1824 (1881 BS). The 1834 earthquake split it in half, and it was never rebuilt. Bhimsen Thapa, the niece of Queen Lalit TripuraSundari Devi, commissioned the construction of the second Dharahara and Sundhara (the golden water spout) just one year later, in 1835.

Two of the second tower’s nine storeys were left standing after another earthquake on January 15, 1934, which occurred a century later and completely destroyed the first tower. The Dharahara tower was subsequently renovated by Juddha Shumsher Jang Bahadur Rana, who was Nepal’s prime minister at the time, to bring it fully back to its original condition. Queen Lalit Tripurasundari’s tower became known as Bhimsen Stambha (Nepali: , lit. “Bhimsen Tower”).

The second tower was constructed to honor Bhimsen Thapa’s achievement in winning back Nepal’s territory during the conflict. Bhimsen Thapa received a lalmohar (a document bearing the royal seal) from King Rajendra Bikram Shah in 1835, recognizing his Commander-in-Chief status and the construction of Dharahara in Sundhara in his honor in 1824.

The watchtower known as Dharahara was built for military purposes. Bugles were blown from the top floor of the tower when events of national significance occurred. Soldiers were to assemble at this point. Up until the tower’s collapse, this custom of bugle trumpeting persisted. On one of the sign boards at Dharahara, it is stated that the Dharahara’s main function was to enable the state and city authorities to call for people to assemble on the Tundikhel (the military parade ground to the northeast of the tower) to hear government announcements, and that it demonstrated “the religious harmony between Hindu, Muslim, and Christian faiths.”.

The most infamous and terrifying Rana Prime Minister of Nepal, Jung Bahadur Rana, is one of the many myths that surround Kathmandu. According to legend, “The White Tiger” rode a horse and scaled the tower’s staircase to reach the balcony. What he did after that was brave to some and just plain stupid to others. The horse died in the jump, but “Jungey” made it through. He rode his horse off the balcony. He performed numerous daring acts.

The Earthquake

A 7.8 (Mw) earthquake that struck Kathmandu and the surrounding area on April 25, 2015, at 11:56 NST caused the tower to collapse. The epicenter of the earthquake was located near Lamjung, Nepal, about 29 kilometers (18 mi) to the east-southeast. Only the base of the building survived the collapse. The area was covered in smoke clouds, and shouting could be heard coming from the rubble, according to those present when the earthquake struck.

The rescue effort was started after the entrance was blocked off by the Nepalese Army. Some individuals managed to gather the fragments of Dharahara bricks, probably in an effort to remember them. Juddha Shumsher’s name was inscribed on those bricks, proving that they were used in the tower’s reconstruction. 2.8 million people were displaced, and there were over 9,000 fatalities. For many Nepalese, the picture of Dharahara, which was destroyed in the 19th-century earthquake, quickly came to symbolize both the tragedy and their country’s resolve to recover and rebuild it.

Locals who lived a long way from the disaster’s epicenter realized how bad it was when they heard that the Dharahara had collapsed: “The disaster was not small,” they realized. No matter their ethnicity, caste, or gender, the entire Nepalese population, as well as Dharahara itself, experienced a complete shock because it served as the quintessential symbol of both their capital city’s and, by extension, their country’s identity.

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The tower was to be rebuilt after the government made the decision in February 2016 to do so, and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and his cabinet members each contributed one month’s salary. Additionally, a fund called “I will build Dharahara” was started to raise money for the reconstruction. The new tower will be earthquake-resistant, according to Sushil Gyawali, chief executive of the National Reconstruction Agency. On December 27, 2018, a foundation stone was laid for the new tower.

Reconstruction and inauguration

Bhimsen Thapa, Nepal’s first prime minister, constructed the original, which was destroyed in the 1934 earthquake. It was rebuilt by Rana Prime Minister Juddha Sumsher Rana after the earthquake in April 2015 destroyed it. The National Reconstruction Authority served as the project manager for the monument’s reconstruction.

The official opening ceremony was held the night before the sixth anniversary of the April 25, 2015, Gorkha earthquake. In October 2018, the tower’s reconstruction got under way. On April 24, 2021, in Sundhara, Kathmandu, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli opened the historically significant Bhimsensthmbha (Dharahara).


Both Mughal and European architectural influences can be seen in Dharahara. It is generally accepted that the original towers were modeled after buildings in India, specifically the Qutb Minar in Delhi and the four minarets that stand at the corners of the Taj Mahal complex in Agra.

Bhimsen Thapa was a well-known admirer of the Mughal style, as evidenced by his now-demolished palace, which was primarily Mughal in design but also contained elements of Kathmandu Gothic. Vajra-Surki (brick dust), Chuna (lime), Maas (black lentil), and Chaaku (caramel) were the main materials used in the tower’s construction. These components combined are thought to be much more durable than the typical cement used today.

FAQs: Dharahara

How many Dharahara are there in Nepal?

Two Dharaharas and two earthquakes

Bhimsen Thapa built this (older) Dharahara in 1824 (1881 BS) at his residence, Janarala Bagh, situated at south-east of Sundhara, near Bhotebahal of Kathmandu.

What is the another name of Dharahara?

The later Dharahara was renovated by Juddha Shumsher and Janga Bahadur Rana. Since then the only tower built by Bhimsen Thapa remained which is known as present-day Dharahara. The tower is also known as Bhimsen Sthamba or Bhimsen Tower.

Why did the Dharahara tower collapse?

 the earthquake, the Dharahara tower col- lapsed and more than 180 people lost their lives. The main body of the tower collapsed under the attack of this earthquake,

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