The ongoing 2010 World Expo in Shanghai has attracted the whole world's attention with its creative pavilions and displays of distinctive cultures. Tanka Prasad Karki, Ambassador of Nepal to China, talked to Beijing Review reporter Yu Yan about his country's pavilion, its tourism campaign and bilateral exchanges between China and Nepal.
Beijing Review: Could you please tell us about the Nepal Pavilion at the World Expo?
Tanka Prasad Karki: The Nepalese people are proudly showcasing their traditional architecture at the Shanghai World Expo 2010. The theme of the Nepal Pavilion at the Expo is "Tales of Kathmandu City." The architecture represents the city and its unique designs of houses and temples. Temples of different religious sects exist side by side in Kathmandu, showcasing our harmonious society.
The architectural design of the Nepal Pavilion centers on a temple depicting the philosophies of Hinduism and Buddhism, and it combines traditional arts and modern structure. The entire area is themed around Swayambhunath Stupa, the oldest holy shrine in Kathmandu. The pavilion thus may well be revered as Manjupatan, the oldest settlement in Kathmandu. We have witnessed an influx of visitors during the initial days of the Expo, and believe our pavilion will continue to attract a greater number of visitors in the coming days. The "Tales of Kathmandu City" is also in harmony with the main theme of the Expo—"Better City, Better Life."
If you are visiting the Expo, I hope that you could also spare some of your time to visit the Nepal Pavilion. Our pavilion with its lofty appearance stands just beside the China Pavilion. So, it is conveniently located and easy for taking a tour. You will have a magnificent view from the closest overhead passage. It is one of the best places to take a photo of the Nepal Pavilion, with the eye-catching China Pavilion in the background.
Our stalls also sell attractive handicraft collections from Nepal, which visitors can buy as souvenirs. Stalls selling food with Nepalese flavors are also attracting numerous visitors.
I would like to tell you September 3 is Nepal Day at the Expo, and we are working on the visit of our president, the Right Honorable Ram Baran Yadav, to China for that occasion.
What's your impression of the Expo?
I joined the diplomatic envoys in Beijing in attending the grand and spectacular opening ceremony of the Expo. In my short stay in Shanghai, I also had the opportunity to visit China's and some other countries' pavilions. The Chinese exhibition hall houses a range of specialties of its diverse provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions and special administrative regions. South Asian countries' pavilions focus on the region's ancient aspects and arts as well as contemporary life. The Africa Joint Pavilion also successfully showcases their unique features, while European countries have brought out excellence in innovative technologies. I liked seeing all these pavilions, and believe every country or institution is successfully bringing out their talent and caliber.
Nepal has launched the national tourism campaign "Nepal Tourism Year 2011." What measures is Nepal taking to attract international tourists?
Nepal is an exotic destination for tourists. Its charming natural beauty lures thousands of travelers to visit every year. It is one of the wonderlands on Earth, and seeing it must not be missed in one's lifetime. Situated in South Asia with diverse climatic zones and landscapes, Nepal is not only famous for natural beauty, but also as home to an ancient civilization and exotic cultures. Nepal, where more than 60 ethnicities and people speaking more than 100 languages live in harmony, boasts a mosaic of cultural diversity.
Nepal is the first country in South Asia the Chinese Government approved as an outbound tourist destination for Chinese. Every year thousands of Chinese visit Nepal for pleasure as well as for religious purposes. We are hoping to welcome 100,000 Chinese visitors in 2011, the year we are celebrating Nepal Tourism Year.
I would certainly recommend some paradises of the "wonderland beyond fairytale." Mt. Everest, in the north, to panoramic reflection of Fishtail Mountain in Fewa Lake in Pokhara valley in the middle, breathtaking lakes in the west to rare species of flora and fauna in the south. In my view, a tour package including, but not limited to, Kathmandu, Pokhara and Lumbini, and well connected up to Lhasa, forms a perfect triangle to explore the entirety of our natural and cultural attractions.