Selected photographs

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Těchto 30 fotografií Zdeňka a Michal Thomových bylo nafoceno v letech 1979, 2008 a 2011.

01 manang

When in 1979 Zdeněk Thoma was descending from Thorung La pass to Manang, he barely had an idea what to expect. Although the place had been thoroughly explored in the Fifties not many westerners had visited it until the beginning of the Eighties.

02 manang

Today's Manang has developed into a popular tourist spot where trekkers outnumber locals during the peak season. The future of Manang seems to lie in becoming a tourist hub of the region.

03 manang

The old photographs, which Michal Thoma brought to Manang, amused its inhabitants regardless of their age. Everybody was seeking for familiar faces in the images.

03b manang

The aim was to find people in the old photographs and portray them again. It was more difficult than expected as so many people had moved to Kathmandu or elsewhere.

03c

Three self confident girls on the photograph shifted to Kathmandu with their families as well.

03d

Manangis are close-knit community though. It was not difficult to find all three ladies in Kathmandu during Tibetan new year ceremonies in the Manangi monastery.

05a

Apart from the Nyeshangbas, the native inhabitants of Manang, there are also people belonging to artisan hindu castes.

05b

The young girl grown into the adult woman, still retaining her jolly smile. There is virtually no discrimination against the artisan castes in Manang nowadays.

09 manang

The photograph dubbed “Little devils“ got quite famous in the Czech Republic. At the beginning nobody in Manang could recognize the children in the image. Just after few days somebody pointed at the girl at the top of the ladder “This is the didi from the Buddha kitchen!“

10 manang

That was a great surprise as the didi had seen the old photographs a few times before and never could recognize herself. Just after being recognized by others, she admitted that it's her with her two brothers. The identity of the boy in the mask still remains a mystery.

12 manang

During his stay Zdeněk Thoma had a rare opportunity to witness the religious Badhe festival which is held in Manang every three years. One of the key proponents of the event was the lama Künzang, holding the cymbals.

13 manang

He was still living in the nice traditional house, providing ritual services for the other inhabitants as ever before.

14 manang

The most important figure of the Badhe festival was the lama Ap Thakpa. After attaining spiritual trance he aimed his bow to cast an arrow at a very small and distant target.

15 manang

The target was held by two volunteers who didn't seem to fear being shot at all. The lama made the hit with striking firmness guaranteeing the success of the whole ritual.

16 manang

It's said that the lama was the only person holding the spiritual power to conclude the rituals successfully. After his death the festival was discontinued. Just recently the Manang Youth Society has revived the tradition again.

17 manang

The lama passed away a long time ago. Nevertheless, memories of him brought tears to the eyes of his daughter.

19 manang

Among other reasons why the festival was stopped is that it demanded a lot of active participants. In the Eighties the number of people willing to take part was gradually decreasing as the young and active individuals were running after opportunities in Kathmandu and elsewhere.

20 manang

The spectators of the festival were mostly the people from Manang and the neighbouring villages. People were coming from as far as Nar, over the five thousand metres high pass, to attend this original event.

21a

Among the crowd of festival spectators one can see a young boy in a hat. Today one of the successful Manangi businessmen, who has established a famous distillery and other industries as well.

21b

In his office in Kathmandu he recalls: That winter in 1979 my business career actually started. Just shortly after the Badhe festival, I went trading to Malaysia with my uncles for the first time.

27 manang

The plain where the Badhe festival was held in 1979...

28 manang

...was transformed into the tourist quarter of Manang. These modern multi-storey hotels belong to the most comfortable trekkers’ accommodation facilities in the whole of the Himalayas.

31 manang

Although most of the trekkers would definitely appreciate the former Manang, untouched by tourism and modernity…

32 manang

…they are happily using the today's Manang advanced lodging facilities which offer a warm welcome to them nowadays.

35 manang

Still traditional architectural style is maintained today. Same style is typical for whole region.

36 manang

Though the new architectural style is slowly taking root here as well.

40 manang

Apart from the lodges and restaurants, the tourist quarter of Manang offers the international phone connection and even the video hall screening a wide selection of the Himalayas, Tibet and mountaineering related movies virtually all day.

45 manang

Some of the prayer wheels got quite interesting repairs. Is it really bodhisattva of compassion, to whom this coffee mill sends its prayers?

46a

Zdeněk Thoma and his companion Petr Kudrnáč leaving Manang in 1979.

46b

Zdeněk Thoma with his son on the same spot 32 years later.