MANI, The Hidden Valley of Happiness at a Crossroads (documentary, 40 mins)
40 minutes long documentary is a first time portrait of architectural heritage, Buddhist sites and monuments in remote valleys of central Himalaya of Nepal, known as Tsum sbas-yul skid-mo-lung, sacred and hidden lands of happiness. The documentary follows a sudden arrvial of bulldozer (a heavy construction equipment) in the valley in September 2013 and construction of one of the eight North South Transit Route Developments (NSTRDs) aiming to connect Tibet Autonomous Region of China and India however, without any consideration of imminent threats on cultural fabric of the region.
Based on the documentary, I argue that Tsum communities hold rich oral histories to explain the local significance on spiritual underpinnings of cultural heritage and their opinions on impacts of bringing a motor road goes much deeper than whether or not the road should be built. By doing so, it proves that road in culturally sensitive region in the Himalaya in general and Tsum in particular poses back reciprocal challenges against engineering solution for transportation needs during the process of reconciliation between conservation and development.
Key words: Tsum, Nepal, architectural heritage, conservation, development, reconciliation