SHIKHAR BHATTARAI Photographer
Being an avid traveller I have been on many trekking routes around Nepal. When you travel as a trekker you tend to view life through the lens of the trekking seasonâ€”everything is presented to you as one traveller among the thousands of tourists from all over the world who walk these routes each year. You tend to meet those who are in the tourism industry and miss the nuances of life in the small villages along the trekking routes. The Annapurna circuit is one of the more popular trekking routes in Nepal. Having walked this route a few times I have always wondered what life is like beyond the window of the trekking season. This project started with that curiosity.
The other side of Annapurna
The village of Marpha, the setting of my project, is one of the many villages that one comes across on the Annapurna Circuit and the work represents my attempt to understand the people, their co-existence with the landscape, and reflect on the quietude and subtlety of the rhythm of life on the other side of the mountains. While the beauty of the village, the landscape and the people is unquestionable, there is also a sense of emptiness about the place. Not only because you encounter far fewer people here than the village is capable of holding: Changes that have occurred in recent years have meant that many of the young and able-bodied have left the village to live and work in more urbanized parts of the country; but also because those who are left behind have a far away look on their faces, as if they too would like to escape the slow pace of life in the village.