Get a Bird’s-Eye View of Kathmandu from Dharahara
Standing at a height of 61.88 meters and containing 213 steps, Dharahara is located at the center of the Sundhara historical district of Kathmandu. It was built in 1832 as ordered by Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari, to stand alongside Bimsen Tower, built in 1832 as a military lookout post by the Prime Minister of Nepal at the time, Bhimsen Thapa, who was Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari’s uncle.
At eleven floors high, Bhimsen Tower was two floors higher than Dharahara and suffered significant damage during the earthquake of 1834. A century later, in 1934, a severe earthquake resulted in Bhimsen’s tower being almost totally destroyed, with only two of the eleven floors still standing. The Prime Minister at the time, Juddha Shumsher, took the decision to completely renovate Dharahara to its original state, while the remains of the original Bhimsen Tower were removed and today the site where the tower once stood is a parking lot.
With architecture in the Mughal and European style, features of Dharahara include a statue of Lord Shiva at the top of the tower, with a golden spire crowning it and a 5.2 m bronze mast on the tower roof.
Dharahara is included in the UNESCO listed Architecture of Kathmandu and is considered a Heritage Site. For a nominal fee, visitors to Dharahara can climb the multitude of steps and enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of the Kathmandu valley from the circular balcony. This vantage point was very beneficial for the military watchman who would blow a trumpet from the top floor of the tower to alert the army to assemble. Occasions or news of national importance and festivals were announced by blowing a bugle from the top of the tower.
There are circular windows alongside the steps providing natural light and a view of the city and valley. As visitors climb the steps, red lettering on the walls from time to time inform climbers as to how many steps they have climbed. Visitors can walk completely around the tower on the balcony, which is enclosed with wire mesh for safety, and thereby enjoy a panoramic bird’s-eye view of Kathmandu city and the Kathmandu Valley.