Panoramic hills enlivened by recent downpour, haze-free atmosphere, blue sky shimmering in mild sunbeam, birds stretching their wings in dustless air, dwarfed multi-storied business buildings, people striding along the pavements, age-old temples and squares waiting to be renovated, vehicles in perpetual haste and a dense concrete jungle spread all over the Kathmandu Valley. Welcome to the view from atop the historic Dharahara.

A poet would have certainly immortalised the view through his pen but not me. However, one must climb atop the Dharahara to treat the eyes a feast. The proof of the pudding indisputably lies in the eating.

A fortnight ago, I was ambling on the street with an effervescent student of mine who expressed the idea of climbing Dharahara. I paid the required entrance fee and made it inside the compound. I wished I had a pair of binoculars but the guards apprised us of the ban on cameras, eatables and bags into the premises. Entering for the first time ever, we stared Dharahara till we bowed back to catch its full length. It was majestic. Inside, a spiral staircase hugged a core pillar. And it went all the way to the top.

An asthmatic as I am, I managed to ascend it anyhow but ended up puffing and panting. It was the first time that I had climbed such a tall tower.

The view from there was an unparalleled one, an experience that was really special for me. As we peeped through the balcony we were completely overwhelmed by a kind of euphoria. There were not only breathtaking sights to delight you through the very ken Bhimsen Thapa might have first viewed, the damper, however is that one must also witness Bhanubhakta’s Alakapuri which is no more as it used to be years ago.

Kathmandu has transformed over the years. The old but beautiful sketch is now almost torn apart. You can spot chimneys of the brick kilns spewing smoke, the Bagmati a sewer, haphazard concrete houses almost engulfing temples and stupas, dried up and ignored Sundhara (the golden spout from which the place derives its name) and so on.

The historic significance of the tower aside, I felt privileged to have got an opportunity to look from the tower.