On the 25 April 2015 the earth in Nepal didn’t stand still. The Gorkha Earthquake, 8.1 surface wave magnitude quake and many aftershocks, shook every single molecule of this small, landlocked country. Houses were torn down, several avalanches slide down the Himalayas, earthquake chasms scared the ground. Once again, after 81 years, Nepal was in chaos. The news spread the world’s media within seconds. Unfortunately, everyone heard about Nepal.
During my stay in Nepal I talked to many people who experienced this disastrous event. I listened to many stories, happy ones as well as those truly heartbreaking. For the whole week my host family was forced to leave their home and sleep on the nearby gravel road. They had to organize their everyday life with overwhelming fear for those who were left in Kathmandu valley, a strongly affected area. Nepalese people, tourists and NGO workers couldn’t get their head around this dreadful situation. However, like in Casablanca time goes by and two years after the Gorkha Earthquake I found myself in the middle of Nepal.
Frankly, to see the power of destruction I had to wait till the beginning of my holidays. At the end of May I took my backpack and traveled around Nepal. I visited all 3 main regions of Nepal: Terai, Pahad and Himal. The major damage was caused in Pahad, where I spend most of my free time. In Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhandapur I saw the iconic Durbar Squares and what I saw affected me immensely. Piles of bricks, wood and sand among astonishing UNESCO sides made me realize how horrific this lost was. Stupas and Pagodas that are now covered in dust lost their historical glow. But yet I see that the common strength and devotion of ordinary Nepali people brings, once destroyed, their cultural heritage back to its golden age. Thanks to an international and national effort many temples are rebuilt already. Even more are under reconstruction process. Most of them are cleaned up, waiting patiently for their turn.
I do know that it might sound to you like Nepal is still struggling to stand up still. Of course, it’s partly true but taking into account its challenging political, economical and even geographical situation it’s also fair to say that the country is on the right path. Holding its first local elections in 20 years Nepal is one more step further towards greater future.