NEW DELHI: In a photo exhibition titled ‘Historic Images of Nepal’ held recently in New Delhi, photographer Kiran Chitrakar put up 100 rare photographs of Nepal taken by himself, his father and grandfather. Some of the photographs were almost a century old.
The exhibition, which was inaugurated was Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin, also included some photos related to Nepal-Russia relations.
The images reflect the gradual transformations in Nepali politics and society at various points of time. Chitrakar had included photos of the Rana family, their meetings with British and American delegates, their hunting and traditional Newari costumes. The aerial view of Katmandu some 70 years ago shows a huge area of paddy field around Singh Durbar, and there is Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary being welcomed after their successful ascent of Mount Everest in 1953.
The images also showcase the legacy of the four generations of Chitrakars in the field of photography in Nepal. Kiran’s grandfather Dirgha Man was the official photographer of the then prime minister Chandra Samsher SJB Rana. He was also included in the official visit of Chandra Samsher to Britain in 1908.
Kiran’s father Ganeshman Chitrakar carried on the legacy and even opened a photo lab in 1960. Then he started capturing glimpses of Nepali life and some aerial views of Kathmandu.
“After I grew up, I started to protect the photographs and now I am thinking of handing it down to my son Swaraj,” said Kiran, who added that Swaraj had helped him digitalise the old photos for exhibition.
Among the many vignettes one could glimpse of Nepal, there were the Rana rulers, people’s costume of that time, the then president of India Zakir Hussain’s official visit to Nepal, the meeting between king Mahendra and Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, a photograph of Surjit Singh Majithia, the first ambassador of India to Nepal, and some rare pictures of king Birendra and his family.