April 2015 Earthquake News Reports
When the April 2015 earthquake hit Nepal it was very heavily reported in the news media in Australia and around the world. We saw many scenes of destruction and human suffering from Kathmandu and rural Nepal. Having visited Kathmandu many times before the earthquake I was very concerned by the devastation I was seeing in every news report. So I was expecting heartbreaking scenes when I returned to Kathmandu in October 2015, about five months after the earthquake.
Nepal Rebuilding and Quick Recovery
If you have been to Nepal you will know just how industrious Nepali people are. Kathmandu is always a busy bustling city as people go about their lives. The city also always seems to be under constant construction as roads get widened and new homes and major buildings are constructed. So Nepal and its people never stand still. And this was never so evident to me as when I arrived back in Kathmandu in October. Yes, there are some vacant blocks where buildings collapsed. And yes, you can find badly cracked and damaged buildings around the city. But I really had to look hard to find them. To me, Kathmandu looks the same as it always has.
Kathmandu World Heritage Sites Still Looking Good
My visit confirmed by belief in just how industrious and resilient the Nepali people are and how well Kathmandu survived the April 2015 earthquake. I was amazed at just how good the city looked. Just as noisy and dusty as ever, but in very good condition. My fears from all the April news reports were unfounded. Kathmandu is thriving as always. I visited all the main tourist hot-spots of Kathmandu to see how they fared from the earthquake. Click here to see my October 2015 video of Kathmandu world heritage sites after the earthquake. Here is what I found:
• Bodhnath Stupa – the spire on top of the stupa was badly damaged but repairs are now well underway. All the shops and the thangka school are open. Still a must-see location.
• Swayambhunath (The Monkey Temple) – the countless stairs up the hill and the hill-top stupa and ornate architecture are just fine. The main damage was to the monastery. A visit is still very much worth all those stairs.
• Pashupatinath – largely unaffected by the earthquake. Just a couple of buildings with cracks.
• Kathmandu Durbar Square – sadly a couple of the wonderful multi-level pagoda were destroyed and the palace museum was also damaged. However many pagoda still stand proud and the square is just as busy as ever as Nepali people visit the shrines in the square.
• Bhaktapur Durbar Square – while many private homes in Bhaktapur were very badly damaged the main pagoda of the royal square still stand. Bhaktapur is still a major Word Heritage site you must visit.
• Three Golden Buddha – still sit above the Kathmandu ring road. Totally unaffected by the earthquake.
You Should Visit Nepal Now
However, I do fear too many potential travellers to Nepal still visualise Kathmandu and rural Nepal as portrayed in the April news reports. I feel it is time travellers put Nepal back on their “must-visit” lists and start booking their treks and tours for 2016 right now.
Nepal and its city and rural communities depend upon international visitors. They have worked so very hard over recent months to rebuild their homes, villages, cities and lives. Their amazing efforts should now be recognised by travellers once again streaming into Nepal. It is time to booked your flight to Kathmandu and to pull on your “I’m in Nepal now” t-shirt. Tell all your social media friends Nepal is ready.
November 10th, 2015