Nepal is definitely in the limelight today. Just this morning (Dec 2, 2016), BBC aired a trailer on an upcoming three-part series on the Living Goddesses of Kathmandu to be shown on its Our World program. It promises to be an intriguing series, particularly to foreigners, embellished as it is with eye-pleasing details displaying the vibrant culture of Nepal, a culture going back centuries.
The tradition of the Living Goddess Kumari is unique to this Himalayan nation, and one that is sure to enchant a worldwide audience. Additionally, the series will be following the Kumaris as they grow out of puberty, thereby relinquishing their divine position, and getting back to ordinary everyday lives. All in all, it should be interesting to Nepalis, too, in addition to those from other lands.
Surprisingly, this morning itself, CNN’s popular late-night show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, had Benedict Cumberbatch as its guest. This program was recorded before the release of his latest movie, Dr. Strange, some parts of which were shot in Nepal. To Jimmy’s query about Nepal, the actor replied that he found it to be a beautiful country, and revealed that his visit during the shooting was the second time he had gone to Nepal.
Talking about his first visit, he said that he and three friends had gone trekking in the Himalayas without a guide. Came a point when two of his friends had to scamper back downhill because of altitude sickness, and soon after that, it was his turn to be similarly afflicted. However, on the way back, he and his one remaining friend lost their way, and spent a day-and-a-half wandering around the mountains, cold, weary, and hungry. Fortunately, they came across a Nepali shepherd in a pasture, who fed them a meal of greens and hard boiled eggs and showed them the right way back.
Now that the film has been released, becoming a big hit as well, all those who have seen it have rave reviews about how beautifully it has portrayed Nepal, especially the world heritage site monuments, Pashupatinath Temple and Patan Durbar Square. Apparently, the shooting had been completed before the devastating earthquake in April 2016, and so the portrayal of these sites was all the more splendid.
In addition to the above, Nepal is also in the limelight today due to it being featured among the top five tourist destinations for 2017 by Lonely Planet, the definitive authority on all matters to do with tourism around the world. Here’s how they introduce Nepal as one of the top 5 destination for 2017: “Even natural disasters can’t keep Nepal down for long. The 2015 earthquakes caused devastation, but what is most striking from a traveller’s perspective is not how much was lost but how much remains. Landmark temples crumbled, but others came through with just the odd tile out of place, and whole swathes of the country escaped serious damage, including most of the popular trekking trails. Nepal has all the skills required to repair monuments and infrastructure, but what it does need is income. By visiting Nepal now and supporting local culture and people, you could help a nation rebuild and bounce back even stronger.” So nice of Lonely Planet. Nepal indeed has a lot of well-wishers globally.