'I saw our 'Eiffel Tower' come crashing down'

Kathmandu, April 28: Tapan Singh was standing in a queue to buy a bus ticket when all of a sudden the ground beneath his feet started shaking. He froze with shock as he saw the 183-year-old iconic Dharahara tower come crashing down, burying scores of people. There is rubble, white plaster and red bricks all around where the 50.5-metre tall tower once stood. One cannot stay there for more than a minute because of the useating stench of rotting bodies.

“I saw the Dharahara tower shaking, and then it crashed down with a deafening sound. I could not hear anything for a minute, could not do anything,” Tapan Singh told IANS. “It was our ‘Eiffel Tower’, it was the pride of Kathmandu,” he said.

The nine-storey, over 50-metre-tall tower was built in 1832 by Nepal’s first prime minister Bhimsen Thapa. It was built as a military watch tower but became one of Kathmandu’s key landmarks. Visitors could climb to the top to get a panoramic view of the capital.

According to locals, some people were on top of the tower when it collapsed. On Tuesday, hundreds of people still visited the site to look at the rubble.

An official of the Archaeological Survey of Nepal told IANS that though the tower will be reconstructed, it “cannot be restored to its origil glory”.

The owner of a nearby hotel said the tower was like an “antique piece worth a million dollars”. In Basantapur area of Kathmandu, a centuries-old palace also suffered severe damage. The palace “may need 10 years to be repaired”, the official said.  (IANS)

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