November 2019 is the Nepali literature month at Global Literature in Libraries Initiative. Before I take you to the literary landscape of Nepal this month, an artist P. Singh will first take you to explore Nepal through his paintings of Nepal’s beautiful landscapes, rich culture, antique buildings, temples, etc. Mr. Singh has recently showcased these paintings themed “Nepal Yatra (Journey)” in an Art Exhibition held in the UK.
A Software Engineer by profession, Mr. Singh works at AIG (American Insurance Group) and paints during his leisure time. He grew up in Nepal and ever since childhood he has been mesmerized by Nepal’s beautiful landscapes and rich culture.
Man sitting on a door
Typical traditional houses with richly carved windows and doors are one of the hallmarks of the old part of Bhaktapur city. Bhaktapur city is one of the three cities in Kathmandu valley. Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal.
Elderly Tamang lady
The Tamang are the largest Tibetic ethnic group of Nepalis and Indian Gorkhas. Traditionally Buddhist by religion, they Constitute 5.6% of the Nepalese. The elderly lady in the painting is wearing a traditional Tamang outfit.
The Gumba (Monastery)
The painting shows one of the many monasteries on Langtang valley trek. The trek offers astounding views of snow-capped mountains in the Himalayan range.
An Ascetic (Sadhu)
Sadhus, ascetics from Nepal (they are also in India) or holy men refer to mystics, ascetics, yogis, and mendicant monks living on the margins of society. They cut all family ties, do not have possessions and reduce their needs to the minimum to focus on achieving a higher reality.
The painting depicts traditional Nepalese houses usually found in the old part of Kathmandu city.
Buddha, was a monk, mendicant, sage, philosopher, teacher and religious leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. He was born in a place called Lumbini in Nepal.
Fishtail mountain and Phewa lake
Pokhara is considered the tourism capital of Nepal. The painting shows Machchapuchhre mountain in the background with Phewa Tal (Lake) on the foreground (one of the many beautiful lakes).
Traditional stone tap water (Dhunge Dhara)
A Dhunge Dhara or Hiti is a traditional stone water tap found extensively in Nepal. Dhunge dharas are part of a comprehensive drinking water supply system, commissioned by various rulers of Ancient and Medieval Nepal.
Rice (paddy) planting
The “rice planting festival” of Nepal is one of the country’s most important monsoon seasons which mark the first planting of the premier staple crop. The painting depicts a typical rice planting carried out by the ladies.
A ritual bell (Ghanta)
A ritual bell (called Ghanta) is used in Hinduistic religious practices. The ringing of the bell produces what is regarded as an auspicious sound. Hindu temples generally have one metal bell hanging at the entrance and devotees ring the bell while entering the temple which is an essential part in preparation of having a darshan (the auspicious sight of a deity or a holy person).
Street in Kagbeni
Kagbeni is a village in the Upper Mustang of the Himalayas, in Nepal, located in the valley of the Kali Gandaki River. It lies on the Jomsom Trek trail, which attracts tourists to walk along the Kali Gandaki gorge considered as one of the deepest gorges on earth.
Ancient stone deity
Ancient stone deities (statues) play a significant role in Nepalese culture and also hold religious importance. The above painting is a stone structure called Uma Maheshwara (Hindu Goddess Parvati and God Shiva).
The painting shows an idol of one of the many Hindu gods, Ganesha. Ganesha’s elephant head makes him easy to identify. Ganesha is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom. As the god of beginnings, he is honoured at the start of rites and ceremonies.
Swayambhu Temple is an ancient religious shrine atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley and is probably the most sacred among Buddhist pilgrimage sites. According to Swayambhu Purana (Buddhist scripture), the entire Kathmandu valley was once filled with an enormous lake, out of which grew a lotus. The valley came to be known as Swayambhu, meaning “Self-Created.”
Ama Dablam mountain
Ama Dablam is a mountain in the Himalaya range of eastern Nepal. Ama Dablam means “Mother’s necklace”; the long ridges on each side like the arms of a mother (ama) protecting her child, and the hanging glacier thought of as the Dablam.
Typical street in the city
The painting depicts a typical street in the old section of Kathmandu city, with narrow streets surrounded by ancient houses along with temples at street corners.
The painting shows a typical Nepalese village house made of mud bricks with thatched roofs and raised eaves.
An Artisan (Karigarh)
An artisan or a Karigarh making clay pot. Nepalese skilled artisans are specialised in making the finest items (clay/metal works, sculptures, jewellery, textile handicrafts) that depict unique Nepalese art and culture.
Note: Mr. Singh’s paintings have yet to be collected in a book. Coming soon in e-book format. You can see more of his paintings on his website: www.pskart.co.uk
Presented by Dr Sangita Swechcha
Dr Sangita Swechcha is a Communications Professional, Researcher, and a Fiction writer. She has over 15 years of experience in international communications and media relations. She is a Guest Editor for Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (GLLI) and coordinating ‘Nepali Literature month’ – November 2019. She is a novelist and a writer who has written a novel ‘Pakhalieko Siundo’, a joint collection of stories ‘Asahamatika Pailaharu’ and a collection of short stories ‘Gulafsangako Prem’ in Nepali.
Forthcoming in English translations in 2020: A novel ‘Pakhalieko Siundo’ and a collection of short stories ‘Gulafsangako Prem’, titled in English as ‘The Rose: An Unusual Love Story’. Her twitter handle: SangyShrestha. She can be reached in her email: email@example.com