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Should Dharara be rebuilt?

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

After 25 April earthquake, Nepalis were shocked to hear that the iconic Dharara tower in Kathmandu came down killing at least 70 people. It gave the first indication of just how serious the quake was, and also took away an important landmark that many had an emotional attachment to.

Photo: Bikram Rai

Photo: Bikram Rai

Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa built two towers in the 19th century both of which went down in the 1833 quake. Only one was rebuilt, and it was destroyed again in 1934 and once more rebuilt. Now, some are saying that since it had gone down twice previously, maybe Dharara should not be rebuilt, but the ruins kept as a memorial to the 2015 earthquake.

Rohit Ranjitkar, conservation architect thinks rebuilding Dharara shouldn’t be a priority. “We can leave it as a memorial of 25 April earthquake,” he says. “It will also remind us of the risk of building high and unsafe constructions.”

Bhishan Rajbhandari, an artist who advocates for the reconstruction of all monuments of Kathmandu, doesn’t agree. He says the Moghul-style tower was part of Kathmandu’s identity. “It symbolised our acceptance of other cultures,” he said. “We must rebuild it by making sure it’s earthquake resistant.”

There are many examples from around the world of destroyed monuments being left as a reminder of the disaster that caused it. For example, the Hiroshima monument has preserved a building, and parts of the world Trade Centre building have been kept at Ground Zero in New York. The concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau is now a museum to remember the human cruelty. In Sichuan, some of the ruined buildings in Wenchuan commemorate the 2008 earthquake and the loss of life.

Stéphane Huët

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17 Responses to “Should Dharara be rebuilt?”

  1. Rattan Kumar Siddhi on Says:

    Should not be rebuilt in its present site but left as it is to commemorate the 2015 EQ.
    May be rebuilt at some suitable open space/park.

  2. Toni Marie Caravello Feimer on Says:

    Leave it as a monument to those who perished. Then rebuild close to it.

  3. Jo-ann Joseph on Says:

    Rebuild dedicated to those who lost their lives…same place. RIP

  4. Cathy Grogan on Says:

    I like the memorial aspect for those who passed and the rebuild next to what is left

  5. Peter Harbo Andersen on Says:

    Rebuild – as done before.

  6. Rajan Karmacharya on Says:

    no never…
    again foolish govt give permission and again people die

  7. Diana Fielding on Says:

    I believe they should rebuild it and dedicate it to all those who lost their lives. It was an important land mark in Kathmandu. It stood towering over every thing else, it would be a shame not to see it again.

  8. Sigmund Stengel on Says:

    I don’t see the point in rebuilding it, when so many other projects, that serve the people of Nepal, need attention and resources.

  9. Gauri Nath Rimal on Says:

    As we are already in the process of building one dharahara inside the Naranhiti Palace Tukuchakinara ,there is no need of another one.
    Many thanks to the foresight of our “leader/s” that they have chosen this site.
    Sundhara can remain as earthquake memorial at the same time.

    Thy have left our stony mountain intact for the posterity.
    Viva ‘el leaders’.

  10. Gauri Nath Rimal on Says:

    Now why not create a boulevard all around the Palace as the walls are fallen at many places We can beautify the city without causing hardship to the citizen-residents as done in the Singha Durbar periphery road expansion in the past.
    The bamboo groves can be cut down and can be used for Rahat purposes during the coming rainy days. It is a treasure.

  11. Digital Subway on Says:

    Why waste money on rebuilding a structure that collapses with every earthquake? Lets build schools & infrastructure with that money.

  12. Dhiren Thapa on Says:

    it should be built for identity but not for trade.

  13. Pramod Acharya on Says:

    it shouldn’t be built in same location. Rather we should make Sundhara as a museum.

  14. Bibek Khadka on Says:

    Lets leave it down as memorial of #April24’s tragedy. [1/2]

  15. Shree Shrestha on Says:

    Forget Dharahara. Clean the area. Build the park instead. You can name ‘Dharahara Park’.

  16. Dipesh Risal on Says:

    While Dharahara is a strong symbol of modern Kathmandu, there are many other higher priority monuments. for example Kasthamandap. Here is an eloquent argument against focusing on Dharahara:


  17. Whatever on Says:

    No extra expenditure should be incurred in constructing old garbage. When it’s gone it’s gone. If Kathmandu requires a sort of monument or whatsoever like any big city for retransmission of radio wavelengths, let this place be the first choice. On the other hand, an Intl Conference Emporium or Hall where some Intl events could be celebrated or where Intl societies could organize their annual gatherings like big cities for instance, New York, Paris, London, Shanghai or Seoul. So, no haste to decide

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