Nepali Times
Tourism
Manang's memories


MICHAL THOMA


When my father, Zdenek Thoma, first came to Manang village in 1979, I was just six months old. I listened to his stories about Manang instead of fairytales and looked at the photographs he took there very often during my childhood. So when I finally came to Manang in 2008 I was somewhat familiar with the place. Carrying a thick pack of my father's photographs, I looked for the same people and the same places. It was a great experience to see how this remote mountain village had been transformed into a booming tourist hub.

With the exhibition Manang: 30 Years After, my father and I hope to express the nature of this change. In fact there are many villages in Nepal that are not much different now from what Manang was like in 1979. The story of Manang could help Nepalis decide how such remote areas should or should not be developed in the future.

Manang doesn't seem to have changed much in 30 years, but it was the tourist trade that saved the village from being abandoned by its original inhabitants for the capital. Many returned as tourist entrepreneurs, and the new buildings haven't marred Manang's beauty.

The prayer wall inside the village is built to bless all sentient beings

...though today one can often see tourists making the rounds.

This photograph, dubbed 'Little devils', became quite famous in the Czech Republic. To begin with, nobody in Manang could recognise the children in the image. Then a few days later, somebody pointed at the girl at the top of the ladder and exclaimed, "This is the didi from the Ghyalchan lodge!"

This came as a surprise to the didi herself, as she had not recognised herself. She then confirmed that it was her, with her two brothers. The identity of the boy in the mask remains a mystery.


Manang: 30 Years After, by Zdenek and Michal Thoma, will be showing during the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival at Kathmandu City Hall (Rastriya Sabha Griha), Exhibition Road. The exhibition will be open to the public following the opening ceremony on 9 December at 2pm, then every day from 11am to 6pm until 13 December.

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1. t gurung
beautiful it was........beautiful it is..............

2. Salil
Interesting pictures and the way some one was recognized after 30 years :-)

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(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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