Recognized as the world heritage site by UNESCO, Dharhara or Bhimsen Stambha is part of the ancient architectures of Kathmandu. Flaunting the richness of the European deign, the 61.88m tower symbolizes the strength and power of then regime.
Originally constructed in the year 1826 by Bhimsen Thapa, recognized as the first prime minister of Nepal, was used for military purpose . This tower still gives you a 360 degree view of the Kathmandu city. Crowning on top a Shiva-Lingam resides in the 9th floor glorifying the religious and traditional believe. The 8th floor welcomes its visitor with scenic views of the valley where one could observe the modern encroachment of concrete jungle of the Kathmandu valley that amalgamating with the ancient city.
On a clear day one can see the complete Lang-Tang Mountain Range. . It is believed that the Dharahara was constructed using traditional materials like Vajra – Surki (Brick dust), Chuna (Lime), Mas (Black lentil) and Chaku (Caramel) wore used which holds its strength witness years of its survival and existence.
The original tower was destroyed to ruins during the 1934 earthquake and was rebuilt the same year with 9 stories less than the two of the original.
The Bhimsen Tower is the tallest monument in Kathmandu. Initially there were two towers lying side by side built at the same time. One of the towers was severely damaged in the 1834 earthquake and completely destroyed in the 1934 earthquake while the two storeys of the other tower remained. Prime Minister Juddha Shamsher then renovated the second tower from remaining two storeys to ninth storeys while the other tower was removed. Had one of the towers not been destroyed in the earthquake, the towers would have been known as the Twin Towers of Kathmandu, but the damage done to the tower from the earthquakes were impossible to renovate. Sadly, today the place where one of the towers stood is a parking lot.
There are many rumors about the first Rana Prime minister, Junga Bahadur Rana, jumped from the tower top to impress the then prince of Nepal Surendra Bikram Shah. They say he used two umbrellas to act as parachute for the jump, however, no actual proof exists whether he actually did it.
As you walk through the gate pass the ticket counter, you will see a small garden on your left and on your right is the towering Dharahara. Make sure you visit the famous landmark of Kathmandu and enjoy the view while capturing it in your camera. The fees for entering the tower are separate for foreign nationals, SAARC nationals, locals and locals over the age of 65 and under 5. The climb is really tiring and needs stamina so be prepared for it.
Dharahara is located at the heart of the Kathmandu city. It is a landmark of the city situated near the post office in Sundhara. One can get there by hiring a taxi or taking a public transportation. Micro buses and tempos are available within a few minutes’ walk from the Dharahara. It is also within few minutes’ walk from Kathmandu Durbar Square. Take a walk from Dharahara to Kathmandu Durbar Square to enjoy local life, sightseeing and shopping.
The tower has been open to the public since 2005, where most climb all the way up for the view and some go up for prayers. Climbing the spiral staircase is strenuous but the view from the top is well worth it.