Photos are a great way to reminisce about the past. They are a good reminder of how much things have changed and in what aspects. They bring the old memories back and enable you to travel to the past in a blink of an eye. But, for that to happen in the future, you have to capture the moments now. And in the context of Nepal, there are only a few people who have achieved the feat as technology developed late in Nepal.
Toni Hagen is a popular figure in that aspect, but not long after him, Gérard Toffin from France also travelled to Nepal and captured some glimpses of then Nepal. Now 50 years later, Toffin with the help of another photographer based in Panauti in Kavre, Prasant Shrestha, has presented Nepal with a collection of photos of Panauti, an ancient and culturally important town in central Nepal, that gives a glimpse of what Panauti was and how it has changed. As their partnership has resulted in the revival of lost traditions in the town, both photographers hope the recently-launched photobook–Panauti: Past-Present [1976-2020]– will be an asset to Nepal and Nepali people who aspire to learn more about the historical and socio-political changes that have affected its development over the years.
While Toni Hagen travelled all over Nepal, he did not set foot in Panauti. “It was because he was following the silk trade route to Tibet and travelled via Banepa to Solukhumbhu via Melamchi. In the process, he did not reach Panauti”, sha
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