KATHMANDU, APRIL 19
Reconstruction of quake-damaged Dharahara has finally been completed after years. For those wishing to savour a panoramic 360 degrees view of Kathmandu valley, it will not be a long wait now.
The 22-storey rebuilt tower will be inaugurated on April 24, on the eve of the day when the 7.6-magnititude earthquake had rattled the country in 2015.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is scheduled to inaugurate Dharahara at 11:00 am on 24 April, informed Raju Manandhar of National Reconstruction Authority.
Dharahara was first built by the first prime minister of Nepal Bhimsen Thapa in 1835 BS (1778).
Heritage expert Manandhar said that Dharahara would not be opened to the public for some time as some construction work was still pending.
He opined that it might take until November for Dharahara to open to the public.
Reconstruction work of the quake-ravaged Dharahara had hit a snag for the first three years after it was reduced to rubble. The reconstruction process gained momentum after PM Oli officially inaugurated the reconstruction of Dharahara on 27 December 2018.
The physical progress of Dharahara reconstruction reached 60 per cent. Dharahara Reconstruction Project's Manager Shyam Shrestha said that they had requested for 21 months additional time to complete the remaining construction work, but the NRA only allowed eight additional months.
"Main construction work of the project will be completed in time. But the project deadline may be extended to complete its beautification and construction of a parking lot," said manager Shrestha.
Raman Construction was awarded the contract to reconstruct Dharahara at an estimated cost of Rs 3.48 billion.
So far, 2.10 billion has been spent on the project. Two elevators will be installed in the tower and one can use traditional steps as well.
Spanning 42 ropani land, the premises of the tower will have a garden, a museum, a colourful fountain, an exhibition hall, a parking lot, shops and a stone spout.
Children and elderly people-friendly 22-storey tower is 72 metres high and its foundation is 48 feet.
Those wishing to study and meditate in the tower will have facility for this.
The 18th floor of the monument will have an observation room and the Dharahara premises will feature a museum, a water fountain, a garden, a restaurant and an advanced parking lot. The parking area will have capacity to accommodate 350 four-wheelers and 6,000 two-wheelers.
Dharahara, which originally had 18 storeys was reduced to 11 floors following the 1934 earthquake. The historic monument was built in 1832 BS at the initiative of Bhimsen Thapa.
According to Postal Services Department's Information Officer Yagya Raj Bhatta, the Goshawara Postal Office has been shifted to the premises of Babarmahal-based Department of Supplies. The Goshwara Postal Office was being operated from Sundhara for the last 50 years.
A three-storey underground parking facility will be built in the area which is presently occupied by the postal office building. The Department of Printing under the Nepal Rastra Bank has also been shifted to Babarmahal.
The Employees Provident Fund building remains as it is while preparations are on to further conserve a historic stone spout there, according to Manager Shrestha. Work is on to ensure continuous water flow from the ancient stone spout.
A version of this article appears in the print on April 20, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.