Stark Photos Show Nepal’s Heritage Sites Before and After the Quake

Historical Monuments after the earthquake at Kathmandu Durbar Square. Image by Ajaya Manandhar. Copyright Demotix (25/4/2015)

Historical Monuments after the earthquake at Kathmandu Durbar Square. Image by Ajaya Manandhar. Copyright Demotix (25/4/2015)

The earthquake that shook Nepal on April 25 has claimed more than 7,000 lives and injured twice as many people. Around 8 million people have been affected with at least 2 million displaced.

Besides the human casualties and property damage in the billions, the earthquake devastated world-renowned monuments—many of them World Heritage Sites. UNCESCO chief Irina Bokova told the Associated Press that it was “heartbreaking” to see the destruction of Nepal’s distinctive blend of Hinduism and Buddhism.

Social media users took to posting the before-and-after images of the major monuments and significant sites.

The three durbar squares in Kathmandu Valley—Kathmandu Durbar Square, Patan Durbar Square, and Bhaktapur Durbar Square—have been damaged to the extent that it would take years to restore the ancient temples.

Dharahara, also known as Bhimsen Tower, was built by Nepal’s first prime minister, Bhimsen Thapa. The tower, once a 13-story minaret, was brought down by an earthquake in 1934. Rebuilt to a nine-story tower, it collapsed in the quake last month.

Swayambhunath, known as the Monkey Temple to foreigners, also saw damage to its temples.

One of the most beautiful temples along the bank of Bagmati River, the Kalmochan temple, was reduced to a mound of earth.

Sankhu, an old settlement famous among the Swasthani Bratakatha pilgrims, also suffered huge losses.

The area around the Changu Narayan temple, a World Heritage Site just few kilometers away from the Kathmandu Valley, also suffered major damage.

Khokana, an open museum of Newar culture, saw large-scale destruction.

Bungamati, an old Newar settlement, was also hit.

Langtang village, the nearest place to be in the lap of Himalayas from the Kathmandu Valley and a favourite spot for trekkers, was completely destroyed by an avalanche that followed the quake.

Barpak, a tiny picturesque hamlet in the Gorkha district, was at the earthquake’s epicenter. The village, home to the Ghale people—famous for their valour and service to the British, Indian, and Nepali armies, was completely destroyed.

The earthquake has left an indelible scar in Nepal. Specialist equipment and people with specialist skills will be required to conserve what survived. Despite the devastation and destruction, Nepalis haven't lost their hopes to rebuild their historic monuments and sites.

Shashi Raj Pandey, for example, tweeted:


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