Archive for May, 2015

Dear Dharahara, We will rise again!

5th May 2015

A 7.9 richter massive scale earthquake hit my country on 25th April 2015. The central part of Nepal including the capital has been devastated. This nightmare has cost us 8000+ lives and the numbers keep on increasing.It has also cost us our infrastructures, our homes and our heritage. 5 of the UNESCO world heritage sites of Kathmandu valley are ruins, leaving a vacuum in their place and in our hearts. It eats up my heart to see it empty, what had always been there, which we had always taken for granted. Our ancient Durbars that have witnessed the different eras; the various dynasties; many rulers; their conspiracies and untold stories have collapsed. Our temples that have housed our millions of deities; heard trillions of prayers; answered many’s wishes and provided solace to all have crumbled; completely devastated and in ruins. Our deities are homeless like their many believers.

And our Dharahara has collapsed too. With the first seismic waves, hitting Kathmandu valley, it crumbled into pieces and Dharahara 2collapsed to the ground, taking many lives with it. A hundred stories, turned to dust as it fell,. I have been seeing the photos of our fallen Dharahara ever since the second day of the earthquake in national dailies and social media hundreds of times, and it appalls me every time. It has become a symbol of this earthquake, even though other UNESCO listed heritage sites have also faced similar or more destruction.  It is not a World Heritage Site, neither is it so tall , nor it has a unique architecture as such. It is a white tower, 9 stored, significantly tall in yesteryears but these years it stayed cosily amidst other high-rise building and was definitely not our “Qutub-minar” like Indian Media has been asserting. Still, when it opened a few years back for public to climb, it did attract a lot of kathmandu-ties and Nepalese from outside valley. One had to climb it at least once in their lifetime, so we all thought. And so on a packed saturday, when the earthquake hit, it fell with around 400 people in and around the tower. Continue reading

Post Nepal Earthquake: A trip to Patigaun Village, Sindhupalchowk

April 30, 2015

30th April! Day 6 of the devastating earthquakes that hit Nepal! A 7.9 Richter scale nightmare hit my country on April 25th and with its wide spread effects, my country is still shaking! It has already destroyed 5 of our UNESCO World Heritage sites, caused trillions of damage to the meager infrastructure of the least developed country and claimed more than 5000 lives. This doomed number keeps rising with hundreds every hour.

Our country is mourning, traumatized and yet slowly picking up, gathering strengths. The youths are organizing, gathering themselves and their country with them, fighting their own government imposed red tapes and trying to act immediately, urgently and reach out to the needy ones. With the same pursuit, we visited Sankhu today. Sankhu, a municipality few hours drive from Kathmandu core city, a very old city in itself and center of Hindu religious tale, Swasthani, is highly damaged.   Approximately 166 of these were destroyed, 97 severely damaged, and 37 moderately damaged, according to sources. We ,a group of around 15 volunteers, reached there at around 1 PM, after a busy morning volunteering to bottle and package Piyush (chlorinated water disinfectant) but when we reached there, it was filled with Chinese aid, Mercy Malaysia volunteers and other supports. Because of its proximity with core Kathmandu city and motorable roads, there was even a traffic jam because of aid carrying vehicles. So the locals of Sankhu themselves suggested us to go ahead. As we moved further,  we crossed Jarsingpauwa (Lapsiphedi VDC) and reached Bhotechaur , of Sindhupalchowk district.

On  April 26th, that is the second day of the earthquake, the biggest aftershock of this earthquake series hit Nepal and had its epicenter in this very district. Sindhupalchowk has already lost 1587 lives and this number will also rise with each passing hour. A remote district next to Kathmandu, the district had to suffer the highest number of deaths and the second highest per capita death rate at more than five deaths per thousand residents.

The directions were confusing as we hadn’t done our research earlier. But when we reached Bhotechaur, there were Patigaun1already big trucks and vehicles carrying and distributing food and medicines to the locals there. More like looting and hoarding by the locals out of desperation. The relief materials still had no tents, only some packaged foods and medicines. Our volunteer group had no affiliation as such to any organization and we had collected a few bucks on our own and bought little relief. We were on bikes and had another volunteer’s car where we had kept few noodles and Chiura (beaten rice). Sensing that Bhotechaur has received aids and will continue to do so, because of the motorable roads, we decided to go ahead. The roads were mostly dirt roads, and we had to park car, when we couldnot take it further in the narrow trail. After around an hour from Bhotechaur, we reached Patigaun VDC of Sindhupalchowk. Not a single house was untouched by the earthquake there. Houses were toppled down, looked more like rubble. The standing ones also bore the cracks and scars of the nightmare.  Continue reading