The 21st International Mountain Museum Day concluded on a high note today at the International Mountain Museum (IMM) in Ratopairo, Pokhara. Distinguished by the presence of Chief Guest Mr. Dhana Raj Acharya, Mayor of Pokhara Metropolitan City, and Special Guests, Dr. Dipak Kaphle, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and Mr. Chhiri Babu Maharjan, Mayor of Lalitpur Metropolitan City, the event showcased a series of significant activities.
The ceremony commenced with dignitaries paying tribute to the museum's founders, Late Dr. Harka Gurung, Late Kumar Khadga Bikram Shah, and Late Dawa Norbu Sherpa, through the laying of garlands on their memorials. Mayor Acharya and Mayor Maharjan along with Nima Nuru Sherpa, the president of NMA and Thakur Raj Pandey, Senior Vice President of NMA , jointly raised the national flag of Nepal, along with the flags of NMA, IMM, UIAA and UAAA.
A standout moment was the inauguration of the Rato Matsyendranath photo exhibition, skillfully executed by Mayor Dhan Raj Acharya and Mayor Chiri Babu Maharjan. This exhibition provided attendees with an enchanting visual journey, immersing them in the cultural richness surrounding the Rato Matsyendranath.
Dr. Dipak Kaphle, Secretary of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, added to the ceremonial ambiance by inaugurating the historical photo exhibition of the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Museum. The exhibition showcased captivating glimpses of Nepal's rich historical heritage, enhancing the cultural experience for the attendees.
Continuing the sequence of enriching events, Dr. Ganesh Gurung, advisor of the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), inaugurated a photo exhibition documenting the historic ascent of Annapurna 4 by the German Expedition team. The exhibition vividly captured the challenges and triumphs of this historical mountaineering achievement, adding another layer to the day's significance.
In his warm welcome address, Mr. Mohan Lamsal, General Secretary of NMA, expressed sincere gratitude to all participants, with a special acknowledgment of the collaborative efforts from the Hanuman Dhoka Museum and Patan Museum. This collaboration, he noted, significantly enriched the cultural narrative at IMM.
Following the welcome speech, Ms. Sarita Kadel, a dedicated Museum Guide, was presented with the prestigious Best Staff Award for year 2080/81 in recognition of her remarkable 20 years of service at IMM. To mark this accomplishment, she also received a monetary reward of Rs. 10,000.
Similarly, former advisor Mr. Hari Dhoj Tulachan and former IMM Committee members were duly recognized for their valuable contributions. The event progressed with Mr. Thakur Raj Pandey presenting a comprehensive progress report on IMM, providing insights into recent developments and ongoing projects.
A symbolic cake-cutting ceremony was held to commemorate the 21st International Mountain Museum Day, adding a sweet touch to the celebration. Ms. Manju Singh Bhandari, Executive Director of the Patan Museum, and Mr. Sandeep Khanal, Executive Director, Hanuman Dhoka durbar Museum shared their insightful remarks about Rato Matsyendranath and Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Museum, respectively.
The program continued with the showcase of a documentary on Rato Matsyendranath, followed by impactful remarks from Mr. Om Bahadur Paudel, representing the local community. He passionately encouraged everyone to protect Pokhara as a tourism site.
Similarly, Ms. Karuna Rai, office chief of Province Museum, Pokhara, highlighted insightful remarks underscoring the cultural richness represented by the 119 museums in Gandaki Province. Ms. Rai highlighted the need for increased government attention and the essential role of a trained workforce to fortify and sustain museum initiatives.
Additionally, Hom Bahadur Shahi, President of Pokhara Tourism Council, stressed the pivotal role of IMM in promoting tourism and underscored its significance as a source of income and attraction for tourists. Radhika Kumari Shahi, President of Pokhara Ward No. 17, acknowledged IMM's vital contribution to tourism while emphasizing the necessity for mutual understanding and collaboration to overcome challenges.
Basudev Adhikari, Chief District Administrator, emphasized Pokhara's significance as a destination for showcasing Nepal's adventurous and mountainous activities. He urged a serious approach for its economic benefit and expressed gratitude to IMM for promoting awareness about the Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Museum and Patan Dhoka Museum.
Secretary of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation Dr. Dipak Kaphle extended best wishes to IMM and stressed the importance of preserving mountains and promoting tourism for Nepal's GDP. He expressed interest in collaboration for IMM's betterment through government support.
Mayor Chiri Babu Maharjan, during his remarks, expressed his delight at visiting IMM for the first time and praised the impactful work done by NMA. He assured his commitment to promote and mention IMM in Lalitpur, emphasizing its incredible significance. Mayor Maharjan provided detailed insights into Rato Matsyendranath, its history, and its evolution over the years. He highlighted the unique features of the chariot, weighing 60 metric tons, with a central chamber called garbhagriha, placed above four wheels and a fifty-feet tall 'shikhara' made of wood, bamboo, trees, and shrubs.
He stated his current focus on preserving the identity and pride of Lalitpur, highlighting ongoing efforts to build artistic stands and rebuild temples affected by earthquakes. Despite facing challenges, he expressed determination to overcome obstacles through collaborative efforts. He emphasized the unique use of artistic bricks, nearly 164 kgs each, to build stands, which are not easily found everywhere. Mayor Maharjan mentioned ongoing work on the Bungmati temple.
Mayor Dhana Raj Acharya, the esteemed Chief Guest, underscored the significance of adventure in tourism during his address, emphasizing Pokhara's status as a focal point for students spanning from Mechi to Mahakali. Proudly acknowledging the representation of Nepalese mayors on the international stage, Mayor Acharya highlighted Mayor Chiri Babu Maharjan's role as an International Board Member of CityNet. He proudly shared the collective bid by Nepalese mayors to host the 2026 conference in Pokhara, expressing optimism about its high chances of success. Mayor Acharya extended gratitude to the Hanuman Dhoka Museum and Patan Museum for their invaluable support in making such endeavors possible.
The event concluded with a tokens of love presentation to distinguished guests. In the closing remarks, Nima Nuru Sherpa, president of NMA, expressed sincere appreciation to all attendees and shared a positive outlook on future collaborative endeavors aimed at enhancing mountain tourism in Nepal. He highlighted that the 21st International Mountain Museum Day not only celebrated the core of mountain culture but also provided a platform to recognize and safeguard Nepal's diverse heritage, encompassing both its natural beauty and historical richness.
Notable figures present at the event included various tourism stakeholders, local representatives, IMM committee members, and delegates of NMA such as Senior Vice President Thakur Raj Pandey, First Vice President Ang Dawa Sherpa, General Secretary Mohan Lamsal, Secretary Dhan Bahadur Gurung, Board Members Diwas Pokhrel, Lama Babu Sherpa, Nima Doma Sherpa, Vice President of NMA Bagmati Province Milan Tamang, and Chief Administrative Officer Jinesh Sindurakar.