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.

I visited it today, on the 11th day of its fall and saw it with my own eyes! Many people were there, who just gathered to see it; see our Dharahara, that has always been there; no more anymore. Some foreigners were taking selfies, and I could imagine them sharing the selfies probably as ” Nepal ke Qutub Minar ke jaga mein, jo maha-vukump mein gir gayii thi“! While, some, like me,  were merely staring at the broken leagacy. Memories came flashing by, of the day when  I had  gone on top of the tower with my brother. We had climb stairs, lots of them and it was tiring. I remember when we were climbing up the stairs, I was breathless and panting and asking myself why I agreed in the first place. But when we reached to the top, and saw the view from its balcony, all the panting and puffing were worth it. One could see the green Tundhikhel in front, while the micro buses, tempos and other vehicles went around the road like little ants. Everything looked so minuscule, so insignificant. The winds were lashing by; and their were friends, couple, senior citizens, families who had gathered there then to witness it all. It was a wonderful experience; now a distant memory.

I never knew, how dear it was to us, before it fell! Like many good things in life, all the Kathmandu denizens miss it more now that its gone. It was first built in 1824 AD by a great patriot and the them Prime Minister of Nepal Bhimsen Thapa, originally a structure of 11 stories. The tower held a lot of history. Dharahara was said to be constructed for military use 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 even in these years. It also housed many myths like its maker, PM Bhimsen Thapa, when punished for his bravery had suicided by jumping off his own tower. They were many  historical jokes about the tower too such as the first Rana Prime Minister Janga Bahadur Rana, had jumped from the tower with an umbrella and landed unscathed and proved his bravery.

Built it 1824 AD, it was damaged 10 years later in earthquake but restored then. Further, the 8.4 richter scale earthquake that hit Kathmandu in 1934, 100 years later, it gave up to the tremors and was devastated. But as Nepalis, who lost more that 8000 people it also  broke down with the entire Kathmandu valley and crumbled to ground. The then government rebuilt it into its 9-storey form after the earthquake. “Bhimsen Stambha” as called since then, rose again with the Nepalis and marked a new era of rebuilding the city and the country. It symbolized the reunited Nepal that just rose from the mega crisis with renewed vigour and strength. It has been a symbol of our strength, our unity after the crisis and the mark of our “Never-give-up” attitude.

And so we will rise again, Dear Dharahara! We will rise from the dust, from the quakes that the nature has decided to test us with; from the fate that decided to trouble us and see if we will give up. But we wont give up, dear Dharahara, cause that is just not in our nature to give up. We never give up! We fight back, always! As Nepal is regaining courage and strength; gathering up the zeal to start over again; to help the fallen families to get back to their feet; we will gather you up
too and put you back with the same reverence and dignity. You will stand again, back at your place; more stronger and more resilient than before!

Dharahara1

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  1. wowowoww great writeup creative

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