As the shaking got worse, he ran out along with other residents and once outside, watched as his own hotel tilted and collapse into the historic Ga Hiti stone water spout. There was a shattering roar, and a cloud of dust rose up in the air.
Six guests from Sikkim were inside having breakfast in their rooms, and did not make it out. Several women waiting to collect water at the bottom of the sunken spout also perished.
Shrestha’s concentration then shifted from the rubble of the hotel to his family in Lazimpat. Fortunately they were all right.
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“It took a little time for people to understand what was happening, everyone was in shock,” Shrestha recalls. But three years later, he has rebuilt the renamed Hotel Ama’s Home at the exact spot where his old one used to be. The community has come together to restore the Ga Hiti neighborhood, and it is difficult to imagine today that Kathmandu’s tourist centre once suffered an earthquake.
“We cannot stop earthquakes, but we can protect ourselves from them by ensuring stronger construction for the next time,” says Shrestha, who says he did not want to sell his land and move out. His patience paid off, and business is back to normal as Thamel’s tourism revived.
After the earthquake, local politician Yogesh Bhattarai coordinated with the municipality and ward office to clear up the debris from the water spout, and lending a helping hand was the Ga Hiti Youth Club.
The Club’s Zafar Hussain said since many monuments like Dharara and the Darbar Squares were destroyed there was no point waiting for help from the government, so the community got together to restore their own neighbourhood which took six months.