Mustang’s vanishing beauty


You have to see the photographs to believe Tenzin Nima Gurung’s love for his heritage. A photo exhibition, called ‘Uncharred Beauty…’ that started on March 6 at the Art Shop captures Gurung’s determination to preserve Mustang’s culture, heritage, and people through the lens.

“It’s (Mustang) a remote, beautiful place for tourists trekking, but due to modernisation and development, the culture and heritage sites are being destroyed,” said Gurung.

Having started photography just a year ago, this is Gurung’s second photo exhibition — the first one was also of his beautiful Mustang.

He visits his family in the district at least once a year and each time he finds some parts of the culture eroding away. In one of his photographs he captures the remains of the ancient Jhong palace, part of it gone over the ages and part of it being dug by local people who seem to have less respect of its historic value. In another picture, he captures a few of the remaining, but still colourful chortens that have stood the test of time, but not of mortars.

“They are destroying the chortens with mortars to pave new roads!” said Gurung. Chartens are pillar like, located in various areas that were determined by the Buddhist monks.

All the pictures were shot with a film camera and is accomplishing his goal of preserving the stories of the historic district. Some of the subjects he captured may not be there on his next visit.

He covered 12 districts of lower Mustand and with a newly acquired digital camera he plans to cover upper Mustang on his next visit.

The exhibition will be until April 12. — HNS