The country of Nepal is a visual and cultural feast, and is one of the more unique nations of the world. Until recently, Nepal was the world’s last remaining Hindu monarchy, and remained quite resistant to outside influence, as the country was never colonized by invaders. Home to about thirty million people of many distinctive ethnic groups, it remains a tapestry of cultural, geographic, and religious diversity, which only adds to it’s charm. Famous for the spectacular Himalayan Mountains, the worlds highest peaks, Nepal has much to offer to people who are not climbers, and who are interested in its other cultural riches, which it has in abundance.
These images from Nepal (more to follow) were from April-May of 2014 when I was there to explore some of the cultural history and learn more about the fusion of Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, and yoga history and traditions as they are experienced in this small country. We arrived in the week after the tragedy of the avalanche in the Himalayas that killed over a dozen Sherpa guides and resulted in the closure of the mountains to alpine expeditions, as no one can ascend the mountains without their help–it is simply not possible. Since the expeditions bring people and tourists to this poor country, the ripple effects of the mountain closures were profound. From the Sherpa’s view, however, this disaster was only the last straw in a system that was quite harsh on them as a people. The work they do is hard, very dangerous, poorly paying, and there is no health care system for them if they are injured–just a personal, economic, and family tragedy for them whenever an illness or injury strikes.
The Nepalese people are a welcoming and friendly people, and are proud of their country, if not of their government and politicians–who can’t understand that! At times they may be reluctant to be photographed, but if you can leave them with a gift, they are very pleased. The best gift I found, is a picture of themselves they can enjoy, like the one here. I took this image with a small Polaroid camera that captures a digital image–which is this one–and also prints a 2×3 inch copy on the spot so I could leave this image with this mother of her and her daughter. This small gift of leaving a picture with the person you photograph makes for a VERY receptive audience for photographers. I would recommend this small camera for any travel to a poor country. The people will be glad you came.