The Dharahara Tower Was An Important Site In Nepal

The 7.9-magnitude earthquake that rocked Nepal Saturday has left countless homes, buildings, and ancient temples in ruins. One particular landmark, the Dharahara Tower, was tragically destroyed by the Nepal earthquake. The tower, a popular tourist attraction in the heart of the capital city of Kathmandu, represents a significant loss for the South Asian country rich religious and cultural history.

The 100-foot, nine-story Dharahara Tower, also known as the Bhimsen Tower, was built by then-prime minister Bhimsen Thapa in 1832 for his niece, Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari. Resembling an Islamic minaret, the white tower sat atop a bronze base and included a spiral staircase that reached the top. At the time, it was used as a military watchtower, allowing soldiers to blow horns to alert army troops to assemble. In recent times, the Dharahara Tower represented a significant tourist attraction. Its eighth floor had a balcony that offered a panoramic view of the city, which had been open to visitors for the last decade. The tower was a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Following the earthquake, what once looked like a radiant lighthouse was reduced to just its base. Authorities said around 200 people were inside the Dharahara Tower when the earthquake caused it to collapse, according to Reuters. Recovery efforts are continuing as officials search for bodies still trapped under rubble. Several temples in Basantapur Durbar Square were also destroyed.

The collapse of the Dharahara Tower represents a major loss for Nepal, a country whose economy heavily relies on tourism. But there's a little beacon of hope for this historic monument. The Dharahara Tower has suffered damage from earthquakes before. It survived an earthquake in 1834. One hundred years later, a devastating 1934 earthquake left the Dharahara Tower to just two levels. Then-prime minister Juddha Shumsher led renovation work to rebuild the tower to its form that existed until Saturday.

The tower has survived multiple quakes over the centuries, and there's no reason to doubt that the landmark will be rebuilt again.