Saarc f irst ladies visit Bhaktapur

- Anup Ojha, Bhaktapur
Saarc f irst ladies visit Bhaktapur

Nov 27, 2014-

On the closing day of the 18th Saarc Summit, first ladies from the Saarc member countries along with other guests made a two-hour visit to Bhaktapur on Thursday.

The dignitaries included Maldivian first lady Fathimath Ibrahimm, Pakistani first lady Begum Sahiba and wives of foreign ministers of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Nepali Congress leader and former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Sujata Koirala led the guests to the historic city.

Young Newar girls clad in Haku Patasi welcomed the guests while local artists performed Lakhe Pykhan (a traditional dance). The guests visited Durbar Square, National Art Museum, local Pashupati Temple and Taumadi Square.

The exhibition of local products, handicrafts, Thanka painting, pashmina and wood-craft attracted the visiting dignitaries. Begum Sahiba showed her interests in local handicraft at the exhibition. The wife of Sri Lankan foreign minister bought Dhaka shawl, woollen cap and a diary made up of Nepali handmade paper.

Forty-year-old Harsha Laxmi Prajapati, a local resident, was showing her cloth weaving skills using a traditional spinning wheel at Durbar Square. “I am happy to display my skills. I had never come this way before,” said illiterate Prajapati wearing smile on her face. She said she was in the weaving profession since her childhood. She said such exhibitions might inspire the new generation to follow the age-old profession.

The guests then went to Taumadi Square walking past Batale, which houses shops selling local handicrafts, pashmina and Thankas. They observed traditional dance, including Devi Naach, Mahakali Naach, Peakhan (peacock dance), Kawan dance and Shian (lion) dance at the Dabali.

Ram Mani Bhattarai, executive officer of the Bhaktapur Municipality, gifted a traditional wooden window model as souvenir to the guests before bidding farewell.

Local residents said they were happy to welcome the guests in the world heritage sites. They said it was an opportunity to showcase local art, lifestyle and tradition. The visit of the Saarc dignitaries is expected to help promote tourism in the area, which saw 12.6 percent growth in tourist arrivals in the past fiscal year. According to local Tourist Information Centre, around 300,000 tourists visited the area in the past one year and among them, over 60,000 were from the Saarc countries.

The district is a major tourist destination in the country because of its rich culture, architecture and wood-craft.


Published: 28-11-2014 09:07

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