UNESCO Sites in Kathmandu Valley as of October 2015
Actual state of all seven World Heritage
following the earthquakes in April 2015
25.04.2015 7.8 Epicenter in Gorkha, 60
km W of Kathmandu
26.04.2015 6.9 Epicenter near Kodari at Chinese border
12.05.2015 7.3 Epicenter again
Continued aftershocks where the tectonic plates made
the ground shake for days until Kathmandu had moved three meter to the North
and Mt. Everest a few centimeter upwards.
Last major earthquake:
Jan 1934 8.0 Epicenter 170 km SE of Kathmandu
1. Kathmandu. Durbar
Out of around 35 temples, shrines, columns and statues
on Durbar Square
nine monuments have crumbled and vanished into rubble. Among
them Maju Deval, the former
'character site' on the square, where only the nine-stage platform remains.
Also the 12th century Kasthamandap Temple
has been destroyed. To the SE of Durbar Square the 62 m Bhimsen Tower (Dharaha),
severely damaged in 1934, is now all down with 180 people being killed in its
Many structures, one third of total number, are now
supported by heavy timber supports (tekas) among them
Degutaleju Temple, Kumari Ghor, Taleju
Temple and Vishnu Temple.
Tower has lost its three top floors.
Other temples, almost half of total number, have
escaped undamaged: Jaganath
Temple, Kabindrapur Temple,
Ashok Binayak, Bhagwati Temple,
Temple and many others.
The collection at Patan Museum,
inaugurated 1992 in
the former Royal Palace
with one of the finest exhibitions of religious art in Asia,
is undamaged. Other parts of the entire palace complex have been hit and roofs
Square the Garuda Statue on column is standing.
King Yoganarendra Malla's
statue is down, and the legend has it that as long as the bird on top remains,
the king may still return to his palace. Krishna Mandir
and Krishna Temple are both intact. The upper timber
structures of Vishwaranath and Bhimsen
temples are being supported by timber. The three-tiered Hari Shankar
Temple is all down.
Taumadhi Tole: Nyatapola Temple,
the tallest in all Nepal,
had only minor damage in the 1934 earthquake (the upper storey rebuilt). Its
construction was so sturdy that no damage happened in 2015: All five stories
are standing. Bhairabnath
Temple had a third level
added after 1934 earthquake and was left largely undamaged in 2015. Til Mahadev Narayan
Temple, one of the oldest
temples in Bhaktapur on a site in use since 1080, is undamaged.
Durbar Square: Northern half of the square is the Royal Palace
with only few of its 99 courtyards surviving the 1934 earthquake. All buildings
are still standing after 2015 earthquakes, but damaged and supported. Char Dham
Temples, Pashupatinath Temple
Temple are all intact. Vatsala Durga and Fasidega stone temples are both down.
Tachupal Tole: Dattatreya Temple
Temple are both intact. Pujari Math (Hindu priests' houses) with the now closed Woodcarving Museum and the Peacock Window (finest in
the valey) have damaged
brickwork. Extensive damage on houses in the backstreets
around Tachupal Tole, being
the oldest part of Bhaktapur.
4. Bodhnath Stupa
Plinth and dome intact. Square tower with eyes (harmika)
had severe cracks following second earthquake (6.9) and had to be removed
together with the three tiered spira and top
umbrella. Now under reconstruction. Houses around the stupa were supporting each other during the earthquakes,
unlike in Swayambhunath.
Stupa is standing undamaged, with its gilded square tower
and 13-tiered top structure and umbrella. Pratapura Temple is damaged at its base but is
standing supported. Anantapura Temple
has its base standing but upper part has fallen. Hariti
is undamaged. Museum
of Buddhist Statuary is
intact but supported.
Shree Karmaraja Mahavir has been totally damaged and all three storeys
below hilltop level have with its three storeys overground
fallen down the hillside. Dongak Chöling
Gompa has been severely damaged and what remains is
only standing supported. Shantipura too is damaged
and supported. The harmonious row of buildings surrounding the stupa has been severely broken.
Pashupatinath Temple is undamaged and so are the Cremation Ghats. On top
of the hill Goranak
Temple's shrines with
their stone carvings together with lingams and maths have been damaged.
7. Changu Narayan
The exquisite main temple, destroyed and rebuild four
times, is presently supported with heavy timber on all four sides. The
brickwork at Bhairab Shrine has been damaged and the
shrine is supported by timber. Chhinnamasta Temple
is undamaged, and so is the oldest stone inscription in the valley dating from
AD 464. The monks' maths are heavily hit, and the
museum has been damaged thoroughly. A granny and two children died here during
Nationwide 8.900 people died and 22.500 were wounded
in April 2015.
More than 600.000 buildings are destroyed totally, and
285.000 are partly damaged.
Department of Archaeology estimates that on a nationl level 133 historical monuments have been totally
destroyed, 95 have partly collapsed and 513 are partly damaged.
Around Kathmandu 95 monuments are totally destroyed
and 357 are partly damaged. On Durbar
Square nine monuments collapsed and 26 were partly
It is estimated that the entire reconstruction of all
seven World Heritage Sites is likely to cost in the region of US$ 100 million
and last 5-7 years.
BUT: Not All Is Gone!
The whole Kathmandu
Valley is a living
monument with little visited treasures, like the Namo
Buddha Stupa south of Dhulikel
and nearby Panauti, aspiring to be number eight World
Heritage Site in the valley.
Namo Buddha Panauti
Photo documentation project on
More information to be found on wikipedia etc.
Tourism is said to be down to 25% of normal activity
at this time of year. Following the April earthquakes many Nepalese took up
loans for rebuilding their houses. Now they are hit again by a fuel crisis
caused by Indian blocade and unrest in the Terai due to the new constitution. Leading
to blocked highways with lines of buses and cars waiting for hours to pick up
their ration at petrolpumps, soaring taxi fares and
lack of cooking gas. Airplanes flying out of KTM may have to refuel in Lucknow
or other Indian cities.
So now is indeed the time to go, if you want to
support this living museum
and Tibetan culture.
Five times I've visited Neal since 1973.
And it is still a wonder to experience.
Skagen, November 2015