Nepal in Shanghai World Expo 2010
Thapa, Shyam Sunder
Finally it has come to an end. Watching how unwillingly volunteers and Shanghai citizens say goodbye to World Expo 2010 on the news, I was forced to get up from my sweet memory for a while to realize the Expo has been declared closed. Reluctant. But the memory of my one day at the Expo will last, definitely.
When I came to know this world event was just a 2-hour flight from Hong Kong, I decided I should go and check it out. When will this World Expo come so close again, right?
After landing in Hangzhou airport my trip started with beautiful places and breathtaking site seeing. Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang province in southern China. This city is also called ‘city of lake’, so you cannot miss the West Lake, which is the most prime destination for tourists. There were many other beautiful locations including Tea Gardens. I attended a stage show in the evening it was a mixture of live performance with 3D backdrops, mind blowing. From Hangzhou it takes around 3 hours to reach Shanghai by road. Hanging around in the city I found Shanghai similar to Hong Kong with taller buildings but more spacious than Hong Kong.
Early in the morning I set off to World Expo, grabbing tight every single minute of the day to try to see the most of this world event. Just as the tour guide told me, World Expo was crowded with people, people and people. Having passed the security check, I headed straight to Nepal Pavilion.
When I first heard about Shanghai World Expo, I did not expect Nepal to be represented there. Nepal is a small country without much financial resources and having a pavilion at World Expo means tons of money. You know, Saudi Arabia Pavilion alone was made up with $14 billion RMB. But when I surfed the World Expo website before my trip, Nepal was there. And it had to be the first pavilion I would visit.
It was not at all easy to make the entrance staff (a Chinese) at Nepal Pavilion understand it was the Expo’s official regulation that each pavilion would give priority entry to citizens of its country. Still that was way easier than queuing under the hot sun for 3 to 4 hours with other regular visitors. Outside Nepal Pavilion they stood one after one in packed lines, waiting to explore this country.
Standing proudly next to China Pavilion, Nepal Pavilion was made up of a series of wooden crafted houses and a large Buddhist Pagoda. The exotic style made it stand out from the group of other pavilions, attracting the curious eyes of visitors, who keep coming to join the long queue.
Strolling around the pavilion, you would see that the building was decorated with beautifully crafted wooden pillars, rooftops, doors and windows. Torans (colored paper flags) hanging high up the pavilion flying to the light wind told how proud and happy Nepal was in receiving all the visitors. A large golden Bhairava, despite its angry look, attracted every visitor to take a photo with it. And you know what, all these wonderful architectures and decorations were the dedicated work of 350 Nepalese families for 2 years.
And of course the Pagoda (Temple) of Lord Buddha was another attraction of this pavilion. There was a long queue inside the Pavilion to see the statue of Buddha. I smiled with pride coming from my heart. Nepal had not only made itself represented in this world event but it had done it so well. Other pavilions were selling their achievements in high technology and all, but none could show the character and style just like Nepal Pavilion did.
Inside the house there was an information centre distributing pamphlets introducing Nepal and our tourism. There was also a souvenir shop selling Nepalese handicrafts and everything. Every corner was crowded with people. Smell of the chicken wings tikka attracted the stomachs of all those who have queued for so long to enter to come to the pavilion restaurant. Many visitors found a peaceful respite sitting down in the pavilion with a pack of chicken wings and a glass of lassi and at the same time appreciating the craftsmanship and architecture of the pavilion. ‘Now they are getting a glimpse of the wisdom and the harmonious and natural lifestyle of the Nepalese people’, thought I.
There were some large display boards telling brief information about the country. One was about Lumbini, birth place of Buddha. Right, the birth place of Buddha was in Nepal. People should know about this.
The only thing which Nepal Pavilion could do even better was to display more information about the country – its landscape, its long history, its rich culture and all. The few pamphlets, the small souvenir shop and the few Nepalese dishes were not all that we could offer to visitors from all over the world. The second floor of the folk houses was not open to visitors. We could have used it for a short movie show, live performances and more displays. As I saw, all visitors were so interested in everything and we could have taken the opportunity to tell them more about us. But, after all, Nepal had really done its best this time and we Nepalese should really feel proud of it.
Other than Nepal Pavilion, obviously China and Hong Kong Pavilions were in my hit list. But nearby Indian Pavilion made me curious since I heard that they were wrongly claiming that the Buddha was born in India. Four-dimension display was the main focus of this pavilion. It must be a technological achievement that the same screen can be seen from four different directions.
Just like the city itself, Hong Kong Pavilion was a small scale architecture but it looked very rich and modern.
But the ultimate and breathtaking Pavilion was the only China Pavilion. This Pavilion was so huge & tall that it could be seen even from a distance. As of its size, inside we could explore the oldest history, preserved culture and technological advancement in different phases with different mediums. It was worth queuing up for more than 3 hours for this Pavilion. China Pavilion was the eye opening experience for everyone there.
I am glad that I have gone there to witness this year’s World Expo and how Nepal Pavilion looked like. Every single person in this world is labeled with the name of his country where he originates. And I am proud to be labeled with the name of my country called Nepal where Buddha was born.
Having embraced 6 months of excitement, sharing and learning, Shanghai World Expo 2010 has come to an end now. While the next World Expo will be held 5 years later in Milan, Italy, Shanghai World Expo 2010 will become history of ours and it will be engraved in the heart of every world citizen.
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