UNESCO World Heritage Sites Destroyed in Nepal Earthquake

The 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Nepal which has already cost more than 3200 lives (Source: www.thehindu.com), has created a wreck on Nepal’s cultural and heritage sites as well. The damage to these places is not quantifiable, as it rests on the history of Nepal. The Kathmandu Valley, considered to be the cultural hub of Nepal, has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites and its many monuments, temples and structures are major pilgrim destinations for Hindus and Buddhists.
The seven Monument zones of the Kathmandu Valley are the Durbar Squares of the three cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, two Buddhist Stupas (Swayambhunath and Bauddhanath), and two Hindu Shrines ( Pashupati and Changu Narayan). (whc.unesco.org)
It may takes years to rebuild these monuments, and they may never be restored to their former glory. With their devastation, the earthquake might as well have impinged on the soul of the city.
Kathmandu Durbar Square
The squares consists of groups of temples, palaces and other public spaces that were constructed during the 12th and 18th century. They were home to the Malla and Shah kings who ruled over the city. Major attractions here are the Taleju Temple, Jagannath Temple, Hanuman Dhoka, Kumari Bahal etc. (nepal.saarctourism.org)
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Patan Durbar Square
Located in the city of Patan (Lalitpur), at a 5 km distance from Kathmandu, the Patan Durbar square was established by Malla kings and its structures are examples of Newari architecture (red brick work and unique wood carvings). It has more than 130 courtyards and 55 temples in its vicinity. The major structures of this square are the Krishna Mandir, the Ashokan Stupas and the three main courtyards- Mul chowk, Sundari Chowk, Keshav Narayan Chowk.
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Dharahara Tower
The Dharahara Tower, also known as the Bhimsen tower, was built in 1832. It was built as a military watchtower by Bhimsen Thapa (Mukhtiyar). The tower had already sustained damage caused by two earthquakes, one in 1834 and the next in 1943.
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Kasthamandap Temple
The Kasthamandap is a three tiered wooden temple. In the beginning, it served as a community centre where major ceremonies took place. It has since been converted into a temple, housing the image of the 13th century ascetic- Gorakhnath. The temple also has four images of Lord Ganesh, and is one of the major Hindu temples in Nepal.
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Swayambhunath Stupa
The Swayambhunath Stupa is an important Buddhist pilgrimage destination. It is also known as the Monkey Temple.
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Image Sources:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/
2. https://twitter.com/kundadixit/status/591902083315412993/photo/1
3. http://www.nbcnews.com/
4. tours2nepal.com
5. https://twitter.com/kashishds/status/592056100117053440
6. http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/26/travel/nepal-earthquake-landmarks/index.html

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