By Steve Richards
Is there a lovelier place to be than Kathmandu in January? The picture of the cool drink in the plentiful sunshine with UNESCO site Patan Durbar Square’s temples in the background speaks for itself, right?
We thought we would offer something light as we begin documenting the five-year anniversary of the April 2015 Nepal Earthquake. There is unfortunately - though not unexpectedly - much on the opposite side of things to present as we shoot Piles of Bricks (Revisited). There are few tourists around right now. It’s a bit chilly with low 40’s at night and high 50’s during the day. The drink? Just an iced tea – regular iced tea – Nepali style. That our server dressed it up in such accoutrements demonstrates a bit of the spirit of the folks here five years after the mega-quakes killed thousands and destroyed untold thousands of buildings on April 25, 2015.
In our picture’s background is Patan Durbar Square, an accomplishment to be celebrated. Americans can take pride that New York City based Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust (KVPT) is responsible for much of the rebuilding of the temples and other structure here. While there is still much to be done, it is truly glorious to behold, day or night. Check out the stunning footage in our walk through Patan Durbar Square video shot last week. You might also take a moment to see how things were back in 2015 with our mini-documentary Patan/Lalitpur which includes an interview with the KVPT’s Raju Roka. Interestingly, Bhimsen Temple, the building in the picture’s background with the scaffolding, actually survived the earthquakes intact. The construction we see is a part of a restoration in which they take the temple apart and restore it piece by piece!
Overall, improvement throughout the Kathmandu Valley appears significant - though so much remains. Piles of bricks are a ubiquitous feature of the landscape with many homes largely untouched since we first documented the damage in the fall of 2015 – especially in the villages. New homes and construction zones are all over the place. Roads are brutal, by western standards anyway. It’s quite a scene really. All of which we are documenting.
Which is why we are here producing the follow-up to our original documentary on the subject: Piles of Bricks, released as a series of mini documentaries in 2016. To see them check out: https://www.theoeco.org/nepal-mini-docs.html.
So, stay tuned as we revisit and report on Harisiddhi, Lele, Gorkha, Kathmandu Durbar Square, and other locations. As always, producer/cameraman Bobbie Richards and I are accompanied and guided by Amit Nepali. We are in the debt of the Anglicans here as well as other Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists, throughout Nepal.
As always, thanks for reading and your continued support.