Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Telling the epic story of will and strength, Dharahara stands tall with its legacy

Standing tall with an audacity to challenge time and history, Dharahara is an iconic land marvel of time dating back to 1832 AD. Architecturally designed in a post modern style with huge influence of the Mughal and European style, the monument holds a pristine image of craftsmanship and culture.
Constructed by the then Prime Minster Bhimsen Thapa under the supervision of Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari, the tower was specifically constructed for strategic purpose of the Army where its use and operation were exclusively limited for disseminating information and practicing different Army operations. From then it has amortized its presences in history marking the tradition bugles u trumpeting in case of emergency and on special occasions.
The existing Dharahara stands 9 stories, in 50.2 Meters height with spiral stair case running up to the top counting 113 steps from top to bottom. 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. The site itself is panoramic where on a clears day one can see the Lang Tang Mountain Range and observe the picturesque scenery to enjoy one’s appetite for natural beauty. Topping the monument, a bronze mast rules in highlighting its beauty, making it ready for a picture perfect shot. It is believed that the Dharahara was constructed using no ordinary construction material rather 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 current standing Dharahara is the replica of the original Bhimsen Stambha which was build in the name of Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari. The original Dharahara or Bhimsen Stambha was actually built in 1824 and was 11 stories high. After construction of the Bhimsen Stambha, the first Dharahara, the Queen ordered to construct another replica dedicated to her name. The two towers stood tall near a short distance glorifying the traditions and culture, but who knew what faith had stored in for them within the devastating earth quake of 1834, the name and fame of both the Dharahara changed forever. Though both the towers survived, but Bhimsen Stambha suffered severe damage and was in a deprived state due to lack of maintenance and renovation but the January 15, 1934 AD, earthquake completely destroyed the original Bhimsen Stambha bringing it down to just ruins.
Consequently, the replica had suffered less damage and only 2 stories of the 11 stories had survived. Witnessing a distorted image of the prestigious monument, the then Prime Minister Juddha Shumsher, renovated the second Dharahara to its previous form, while the original Bhimsen Stambha was obliterated, thus the queen Lalit Tripura Sundari's tower got its name, Bhimsen Stambha and is standing tall with the name and fame of Bhimsen Stambha.

Amidst a fighting spirit and witnessing chaotic changes in the country, Dharahara stands tall with an epic story to be told to its coming generation where it amortizes time in its beauty with grace and fame.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi