Sunday, December 6, 2009
Mustang - Journey of Transformation
Narrated by Richard Gere, Mustang – Journey of Transformation, tells the remarkable story of a culture pulled back from the brink of extinction through the restoration of its most sacred sites. The Himalayan Kingdom of Mustang lies on a windswept plateau between Nepal and Tibet in one of the most remote regions of the world. Isolated both by geography and politics, Mustang—known as the Forbidden Kingdom—has been completely off limits to westerners for fifty years. Although Mustang is culturally and ethnically Tibetan, politically it is part of Nepal. This starkly beautiful place is home to one of the last surviving repositories of Tibetan sacred art from the 15th century. To travel here is to journey into the past where one can witness the ancient ways of life. In 1991, Nepal opened Mustang’s border to the outside world. What the first visitors found was shocking—the ancient monasteries were on the verge of collapse; the Buddhist wall paintings were disintegrating; the community was deeply impoverished. The people needed health care, education and jobs. Surprisingly, the King’s first plea to outsiders offering help was to save the monasteries. Mustang – Journey of Transformation features interviews with the Dalai Lama; the King of Mustang; Luigi Fieni, the chief art restorer; and Richard Blum, founder of the American Himalayan Foundation, the NGO that worked closely with the community to restore the monasteries and bring essential social services to the people.