25th April, 2015 was the day when a massive earthquake of 7.8 Richter scales hit Nepal badly. Since then, Nepal has suffered huge damages and losses in almost all the sectors including a massing death toll and collapses of many buildings and monuments. Most of the people are still mourning over the heart breaking deaths of their beloved families, friends and their lovers. In spite of bearing these traumatic losses, Nepal has stood strong and learned to recover on its’ own.
Yes, it is well known that many of the tourist areas have been damaged all over Nepal. 10 districts, Langtang National Park and 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites among 8 have been affected by only 40% by this devastating earthquake. But, there is still more to visit and explore in Nepal unlike the totally damaged places highlighted by media. The roads are safe and sound, the networking towers are working well, there is no viral disease after the quake and the clinics and hospitals are still safe and sound for you to plan your next vacation here, in Nepal!
If we specify only Kathmandu to discuss the current situation of tourist areas after the quake, there is not much damages and you can still visit this town with all it’s hustle and bustle life and historical monuments with great carvings and great stories. So, there are plenty of things that you can do and visit while in Kathmandu.
Visit Bouddhanath: Once stood as the largest ancient Stupa of the world, Bouddhanath is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The home and holiest place for many Tebetan travelers, Buddhists and peace lovers Bouddhanath has a lot of pilgrimage who make Kora or ritual walk around the perimeter of the dome. After the quake, severe crack appeared on the golden spire. Hence, the whole structure above the dome had to be removed and reconstruction is still in the process of this holly place. In spite of the quite sad structure, the environment and religious beliefs are impressive with many shops for tasty lapsing.
Visit Swayambhunath: Also known as monkey temple, Swayambhunath is one of the another ancient and religious site of Nepal. It has a very unique architecture with a dome at the base and above it, is a structure painted with eyes of Buddha(wisdom and compassion) that looks more realistic. The area has many shrines with many monkeys. After the quake, much of it’s parts were damaged. The Anantapura Shikhara to the left of the steps toppled and there was considerable damage to buildings on the west side of the stupa. Still, the holy pilgrims often visit this area and the surrounding is quite interesting with a good view of Kathmandu from the top and big monuments of Lord Buddha.
Royal Palace-Narayanhiti Palace Museum: Narayanhiti museum is one of the most splendid architectural monument in all over Nepal. It is also the place where the Royal Massacre of Nepal took place. After the 2006 revolution, the King Gyanendra was made to leave the palace and Nepal was declared to be republic country. Since then, the royal palace has been turned into a museum for public. After the 2015 quake, a few negligible damages took place in this palace yet, this place is absolutely safe to visit.
Kathmandu Durbar Square: One of the most ancient and historical place in Kathmandu is Kathmandu Durbar Square built by King Prithvi Narayan Shah. This durbar square consists of Hanuman Dhoka and many other monuments. This marvellous structure with beautiful wooden and stone carvings were almost fully destroyed by the recent quake. One of the UNESCO World Heritage has suffered a lot through devastating quake including the 17th century Meju Dega temple which was completely damaged and the old royal palace museum is still under construction.
Dharahara Tower: The nine-storey tower built in 1832 by Nepal’s first formal prime minister Bhimsen Thapa which survived a similar quake in 1834 and 1934. These quakes completely devastated this tower and so, it was subsequently rebuilt. Many people used to climb this tall tower in order to get the panoramic views across the city and so they did on the day when the quake hit so hard that it completely fell down once again burring a large number of people. Hence, unfortunately it now exists no more in Nepal to be visited.
Pashupatinath Temple: It is the holiest place for Hindus in all over Kathmandu not only for Nepalese but also for Indians. This outstanding shrine from 400 AD stood against the massive earthquake and developed no cracks to be declared as an unsafe place. Unlike the other UNESCO World Heritage sites, it is absolutely fine and it’s large area is totally safe to visit.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square: enriched with stunning wooden and stone carvings and consisting of 55-window palace, world famous Golden Gate, Lion’s Gate, Vatsala Temple, Nyatapola Temple, Statue of Bhupatindra Malla and many more. Many historical and religious buildings were damaged during the 2015 quake among which lost of the roof of the main temple and devastated Vatsala Temple; famous for it’s sandstone walls and gold topped pagoda lie at the top list. Still, this palace has the same charm and beauty and is capable of attracting many tourists as well as locals here.
Patan Durbar Square: Loacted at the center of the city of Lalitpur, Patan Durbar Square is also UNESCO World Heritage site which was resided by the Malla kings. This ancient place consists of famous stone carved Krishna Mandir, Bhimsen Temple, Vishwanath Temple, Taleju Bhawani Temple and many courtyards. The 2015 quake destroyed Char Narayan(the oldest temple of the square) and Hari Shankar whereas, it weakened many temples including Bhimsen Temple and Vishwanath Temple. Despite of these damages, it is the most popular place to visit in the whole city. Changu Narayan Temple: Anothe UNESCO World Heritage site is Changu Narayan Temple situated in Bhaktapur also witnessed serious damages after the 2015 quake. The main temple is given support with the help of lumberswhereas, the Krishna Mandir located near to the main temple has tilted around 4inches and the sattal which was renovated just two years ago were destroyed. Moreover, the ‘living traditional museum’ collapsed in the quake but chhinnamasta Temple safe and sound.
Garden of Dreams: Also known as Swapna Bagaicha, Garden of dreams is totally admirable and has not suffered through any major harm from the recent earthquake. Built by Kaiser Shamser, this garden is still a most visited place by couples in the town. It’s beautiful monument along with beautiful greenery and various squirrels.