The 8th edition of the Mountain Festival commenced today in Pokhara, with the inauguration by the Honorable Finance Minister, Mr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, at the International Mountain Museum (IMM) in Rato Pairo, Pokhara.
Scheduled to span five days, the festival will feature photography exhibitions, documentaries, mountain sports, cultural activities, and discussion sessions. The Finance Minister pledged his support to transform the NMA into a must-visit destination.
Recognizing the museum's cultural significance in preserving customary lifestyles, Minister Mahat stated, "We should develop it as a must-visit destination for all," and assured full government support.
Emphasizing the importance of infrastructure for tourism promotion, Minister Mahat stressed the need for road construction in Nepal.
The festival's first day showcased photo exhibitions of world record holder climbers, NMA's activities over the past year, the evolution of trail bridges in Nepal, and tourist destinations in Chumanuwri Rural Municipality. The HELVETAS supported the trail bridge evolution, and the Chumanuwri Rural Municipality backed the photo exhibition of its tourist spots.
Documentary screenings began with stories like "Mountain Man," recounting the tale of a Bhutanese girl and her mountaineer father, and "Lady 8000ers," narrating the journey of a French woman conquering all 14 8000-meter peaks.
Documentary screenings will continue until Tuesday, featuring stories such as "The Pasang," documenting Ms. Pasang Lhamu Sherpa's Everest climb, and "The Second Summit," portraying British climbers overcoming cancer to summit an unclaimed peak.
During the inauguration, a theatrical play titled "Silent Bird: Boon of Nature," supported by Bird Conservation Nepal, conveyed the importance of vultures for the environment.
Sports like Chhelo, ziplining, and archery, popular in mountain regions, began on Friday, alongside a day-long cultural program. The festival will continue with photo exhibitions, documentary screenings, and theatrical plays until Tuesday, including a discussion program on "Restoring Mountain Ecosystem" on Monday.
NMA President, Mr. Nima Nuru Sherpa, underscored the significance of promoting Nepal's mountains, stating, "NMA is the only organization in Nepal dedicated to producing skilled mountaineers and caring for our mountains."
Senior Vice President Mr. Thakur Raj Pandey provided insights into NMA, while General Secretary Mr. Homan Lamsal extended a warm welcome to guests.
Generously sponsored by ICIMOD and WWF Nepal, the festival also enjoys support from Go Bungee. The opening ceremony was graced by Honorable Minister for Industry, Tourism, Forestry, and Environment of Gandaki Province, Mr. Dipendra Bahadur Thapa, along with other distinguished guests.