Quake turns two historic landmarks in Kathmandu into rubble
Two of the Nepalese capital's most iconic tourist attractions--one of which once served as the backdrop for a hit Bollywood movie song--were reduced to rubble when a 7.9-magnitude earthquake rocked the country on Saturday.
Reports from the quake-ravaged Kathmandu said the nine-storey Dharahara Tower and the royal Durbar Square--visited by thousands of tourists every year--were reduced to rubble by the temblor that killed more than 100 people.
The Darbar Square, located in the heart of the bustling capital, was the setting for Amitabh Bachchan wooing Zeenat Aman in the film "Mahaan", with the superstar crooning 'Pyaar me dil pe maar de goli'.
The square--once the courtyard of several royal palaces--is a generic name used to describe an open-air plaza consisting of temples, idols and fountains. A statue of Lord Hanuman stands in the square, which is a UNESCO heritage site.
Soon after news of the quake spread, Bachchan posted on Twitter: "O! God .. this is Nepal earthquake..!!! I shot a song here for 'Mahaan' with Zeenat Aman..pray all well."
The other structure that collapsed in the earthquake is the Dharahara Tower or Bhimsen Tower, a minaret built by then prime minister Bhimsen Thapa in 1825.
Kathmandu's historic Dharara Tower tower, built in the 19th century, collapses after severe earthquake. (Photos by special arrangement)
Reports said up to 50 people were feared trapped in the debris of the tower.
Ironically, the Dharahara Tower was damaged by an earthquake in 1834 and collapsed in another quake a hundred years later. It was restored in 1936.
Originally built as a military watch tower, it later became one of Kathmandu's key landmarks. The tower had a spiral staircase leading to a circular balcony on the eighth floor that provided a panoramic view of the Kathmandu Valley.