Himalayas better than Swiss Alps!

Dewan Rai


Some years ago, when Fr Gregory Sharkey arrived at Lisankhu, Sindhupalchok on a charitable drive, a pair of roosters fell abruptly in front of him. Fr Sharkey was quick to capture the moment even if he was not “ready”. Everything else, in the village was in serene silence as is usual in most of the villages despite the daily hardship and toil of their inhabitants.

Woe behold the test of time! Fr Sharkey can no more go to the village, where he once laboured years for the quality living of its people, particularly Tamang women. He had taken many snapshots of villages in Sindhupalchok and Dolkha districts which, along with photographs by Alok Siddhi Tuladhar, also an amateur photographer, are up for display at an exhibition titled ‘A Peaceful Nepal’ at Godavari Alumni Association (GAA) Hall at Thamel, since April 15.

Most of Sharkey’s pictures are of toddlers and schoolchildren. Besides many other souvenirs, Sharkey wanted to preserve the innocent smiles and spirit of these toddlers in whom he still finds a serene and peaceful Nepal. Sharkey’s first visit to the land happened during his teens. “People misjudge rural Nepal. They think that the villages are squalid but I would suggest them to visit Lisankhu once so that they can know all about villages. It is like a place in Switzerland,” he asserts.

An anthropologist and researcher, Sharkey has closely studied the life of these villagers. For over two decades, he has been attached to Nepal some way or the other by being a teacher, researcher or just a mere visitor. Of Lisankhu, he says:, “They need development and growth. But they should not lose what they already have.” He has been carrying out his philanthropic campaign wherever he goes.

This exhibition also has social cause. A group of youth alumni came up with the idea of lending a helping hand to the homeless by raising funds for GAA’s joint initiative with Habitat for Humanity (HH), an international organisation that seeks to eliminate homelessness from the world by building safe, decent and affordable shelters for low-income families. HH currently works in six districts in Nepal-Chitwan, Kailali, Lalitpur, Morang, Surkhet and Kaski and has built or renovated over 700 houses for the economically challenged over the last eight years. “All the proceeds will go into the fund,” said Tuladhar. A dozen of photographs have already been booked. “Some pictures will be sold in bid order,” he informed. Tuladhar has captured shots of some of the most picturesque places on earth. His collection contains pictures from places at Manang in the west to Kathmandu valley and its outskirts in central Nepal. Be it Sharkey’s or Tuladhar’s, the photographs depict peaceful life, which has been elusive to Nepalis in recent times. The price of the pictures range from Rs 300 to Rs 550 for unframed and framed photographs, respectively.

The exhibition will continue till April 30.