Nepal was struck by the worst earthquake in 80 years, leaving nearly 1,500 people dead in flattened houses and buildings including the iconic Dharhara tower and renowned Darbar Square in the heart of the capital.

The quake measuring 7.9 on Richter scale, which was followed by 16 aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or greater, striking heavy casualties in Kathmandu and injuring thousand others. Hundreds were feared missing across the country.

"Army estimates death toll as much as 1457 so far," Nepal’s Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat tweeted.

He said, "90 percent of approx 1000 homes and huts reduced to rubble in Barpak Larpak area." 

According to Nepalese Home Ministry figures, 150 people lost lives in neighbouring Bhaktapur, 250 in Sindhu, 67 in Lalitpur and 37 in Dhading district. Besides, 20 people were killed in the country’s eastern region, 33 in western region and rest in other parts of the Himalayan nation.

The earthquake around 11:56 am with epicentre at Lamjung, around 80 kilometers northwest of Kathmandu, had its impact in several cities in Bihar, West Bengal and UP and tremors were felt across vast stretches of east and northeast India.

It was also felt in Southern and Western parts of India, China, Bhutan and as far as Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Miraculously the famous 5th century Pashupatinath temple here was undamaged, while a number of old temples were razed.

Several buildings, most of them old, in the densely- populated Kathmandu Valley collapsed, killing hundreds.

Over 200 bodies have been retrieved from the debris of two-century old nine-storey landmark Dharhara tower in the centre of the capital.

Kathmandu’s Darbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was completely damaged in the quake which was the worst to hit Nepal and surrounding regions after the earthquake of 8.4 magnitude which occurred along the Nepal-Bihar border in 1934.

Video footages showed a number of buildings having caved in or developing huge cracks. Many of the city roads have suffered wide craters in the impact, affecting movement of vehicles and rescue operations.

Army, police and emergency workers were pressed into service for rescue of those trapped and rushing injured survivors to hospitals. Many of the injured could be seen suffering bleeding injuries covered in dust from the debris.

Indian Embassy spokesperson Abhay Kumar said some walls have collapsed in the impact of the earthquake and the embassy has set up two helplines +977 98511 07021, +977 98511 35141.

Fifty doctors have arrived from India to provide emergency services. India dispatched as many as four aircraft including a C-130 plane carrying three tonnes of relief supplies and a 40-member rescue team to Nepal.