Historical Bhimsen Tower (Dharhara) in Kathmandu destroyed in earthquake

Kathmandu : The Dharahara, a nine-storeyed 19th-century tower, collapsed here after a huge earthquake shook Nepal and caused widespread devastation on Saturday, a media report said.

Hundreds of people are reportedly trapped in the debris, a posting on Twitter said.

The quake measured 7.5 on the Richter scale, later revised to 7.9 by USGS. Half an hour later, another earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale hit 49 km east of Lamjung.

Dharahara was a nine storey (61.88m) tall tower and originally was built in 1832 by the Prime Minister of the time, Bhimsen Thapa of Nepal.

During the earthquake of 1834, both towers survived, but Bhimsen’s tower suffered severe damage. A hundred years later, on January 15, 1934, another earthquake completely destroyed Bhimsen’s tower. Only two of the 11 stories on the second tower remained. The prime minister of the time, Juddha Shumsher, renovated Dharahara to its previous form. While the original Bhimsen Tower was obliterated, Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari’s tower got its name, ‘Bhimsen Stambha’. The site where Bhimsen’s original tower stood is now a parking lot.